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October 10, 2012

Fall into the BBAC for new classes

By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM — Fall is upon us, and that means there’s a new schedule of classes available at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center for artists of all skill levels.

BBAC President and CEO Annie VanGelderen said the center has been holding classes for at least 55 years. Each term, she said, the curriculum changes, offering artists a chance to expand their skill sets with each season.

“Programming always changes with each semester. We feel strongly that the fundamental basics — the painting, the drawing, the core curriculum — always stays. But we offer so many other workshops to expand your horizons,” said VanGelderen.

This October and November, the center will be offering a variety of new classes, including a ceramics course geared at making musical instruments in clay, a mosaic orb workshop, jewelry and metal classes, photography clinics, painting classes, teen classes, adult and child Create Together classes, and even a class aimed at showing artists how to showcase their work to sell in a contemporary art economy.

VanGelderen said some of the classes span a full term for more serious students, while others last as little as four sessions for newer students who want to test the artistic waters.

“The jewelry classes are extremely popular here, and our Wire Techniques and Chainmaille class is only four sessions. By taking just a little workshop that’s just four sessions it’s very affordable and it helps you to decide if you want to take a full term.”

For beginning students, for instance, VanGelderen recommends the abstract expressionism painting course, which is open to all skill levels.

“It’s good for beginners because paint is the subject. Some people might say, ‘I don’t know how to draw a tree or a perfect landscape’ — the paint itself is your subject matter.”

Bloomfield Hills resident Elaine Borruso is a longtime student at the center who’s currently studying acrylic painting. She said it’s the comfortable environment and the top-notch instruction that keeps her coming back to work on her artistic talent.

“The classes are wonderful. They’re taught by the best teachers around — teachers who teach at the universities,” said Borruso. “This is where I can come to get guidance and be with people who enjoy doing what I do. It’s a very comfortable place to be. But the most important thing for me is the quality of the instruction, and that’s always been true here.”

VanGelderen agreed, saying that many of the BBAC students come because of the center’s stellar reputation.

“We’re half the cost of what you would pay for at a university, yet most of the instructors teach at that level and it’s the same curriculum.”

For a detailed schedule of classes and pricing, which ranges from $40 to $250 for a full term, visit www.BBArtCenter.org or call (248) 644-0866.

The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center is located at 1516 S. Cranbrook Road in Birmingham.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Tiffany Esshaki at tesshaki@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1095.