BBAC heats up with new summer classes for adults

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 16, 2013

 Instructor Bonnie Weir, who created this piece titled “Until We Meet Again,” will be teaching a foundations water painting course this August at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.

Instructor Bonnie Weir, who created this piece titled “Until We Meet Again,” will be teaching a foundations water painting course this August at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.

Photo provided

BIRMINGHAM — Why should kids get to have all the fun during the summer?

Beginning next week, the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center is opening its doors to artists of all skill levels with special workshops and art camps meant for grown-ups only.

“It’s summer camp for adults. That’s how I’ve looked at it for years,” said Cynthia Mills, vice president of programs at the BBAC. “(The camp and workshops) all lead into something in the fall. It’s a good time to try things in the summer, so when the fall comes around, they know which classes they might like to take. And it’s just fun. People bond and make friends. It’s great.”

The highlight of the summer adult offerings might be the “3 Days, 3 Media” camp held July 23-25. Campers will create a Byzantine-weave bracelet, a colorful polymer pendant and a print-your-own postcard using watercolor and water-based inks.

“It’s only three days, but the projects they turn out are incredible. And people that come out are always really happy with it,” said Mills. “It can really enhance someone’s life in just three days. It can really open someone’s eyes as to what medium they might like.”

Also on the July agenda are short workshops like “Watermedia,” a weeklong class with visiting Chicago artist Marilyn Derwenskus, in which students will learn how to create paintings that focus on colors, design and techniques with water mediums. That class runs July 22-26.

For ceramics lovers, “Ceramics: Painting with Smoke” will be held July 22-25 so students can explore the use of smoke to give ceramic surfaces a unique feel. Both glazed and unglazed surfaces will be used with smoke firings and naked Raku applications.

Later this summer, from Aug. 26-29, beginning artists can take part in the “ARTrack- Adult Foundations Program” to learn the basics of water media painting, including watercolor, gouache and egg tempera painting.

All of the courses, Mills said, are designed for a range of skill levels, including those who have never taken an art class.

“You don’t have to have any experience for these, but they’re still completely legitimate, as far as creativity goes. It’s not like a craft class,” she said. “People really learn and pick up things. A lot of people think you have to be able to paint or draw to take an art class. There are all kinds of things you can do, and you don’t have to draw or be a great painter.”

The BBAC will still hold a variety of classes and camps for kids and full-term classes for all ages, taught by some of the region’s most esteemed art teachers.

“The instructors are extremely well-qualified that we hire to teach here. Many of our instructors teach at the colleges and universities, and they teach the same things there that they teach here. It’s just not accredited, so it doesn’t cost as much. But you’re getting the same education,” said Mills.

“With so many unique classes and workshops available, plan to be inspired at the BBAC,” said Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the BBAC, in a prepared statement. “We invite you to get creative and lose yourself in one of our favorites or newly created classes. Our ‘3 Day, 3 Media’ adult camp, which begins July 23, is the perfect way to take some time for yourself and recharge this summer.”

The BBAC is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, including details and prices for classes, camps and workshops for all ages, visit or call (248) 644-0866.

The BBAC is located at 1516 S. Cranbrook Road in Birmingham.