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All about art

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By Kirsten Laskey

It seems when it comes to art, there is always something to learn and the Art Center at Fuller Lodge employees provide a wealth of knowledge through their classes.

Executive director John Werenko said the center provides classes year round, in the fall, spring and summer.

The fall and spring classes are mainly geared toward adults, however, there are classes offered Wednesday for students who are dismissed early from school.

The classes offered include Paul Birchak’s pastel classes, which are offered Saturday evenings as well as Linda LaVie’s oil painting class, which is also held Saturdays.

Fran Stovall offers a stained glass class and Kathleen Veenstra offers a class in ceramics.

Werenko teaches a class in art appreciation, studying different periods of art such as Renaissance and Impressionism.

The spring classes begin Feb. 2 and run through March 28.

For young artists in first through sixth grade, the Art Center offers a very popular art camp, which begins in mid-June and runs through the end of July.

Werenko said about 350-400 students enroll in the camp.

High school juniors and seniors as well as college students can find internship opportunities during the summer. Werenko said they can work for the instructors and get paid for their services.

The classes are open to anyone, additionally, anyone can teach a class. Werenko said if the person interested in holding a class is able to enroll five people, then the Art Center will provide the space.

Another program the Art Center provides is Access Art for the Developmentally Disabled. The New Mexico Arts Commission funds the program and Deborah Brink and Geraldine Fiskus host it. About 40 people are hand-selected to participate, Werenko said. They meet from 10 a.m.-noon every Thursday from September through May.

He added that the program has been offered at the Art Center for four years. The Art Center provides more than just space for the program, it also matches the New Mexico Arts Commission funds with other money from entities such as United Way of Northern New Mexico and Los Alamos National Bank.

The reason the Art Center provides these classes for the community is partly due to its responsibility to the county.

Werenko said as a result of being supported by the county, the center is required to provide education programs for the community.

“We are obligated to provide these services to the community,” he said.

Besides meeting its obligations, the benefits of taking a class are numerous.

Werenko said, “I think one of things that is really nice about our outreach enrichment is it’s stress-free.”

Participants do not have to worry about grades or test scores, they can simply have a good time, he explained.

Plus, “what we offer in respects is not offered anywhere else,” Werenko said.

Several of the teachers only offer their classes at the Art Center, so if people want to learn from a particular instructor such as Linda LaVie, they have to go to the center.

Plus, the enrollment costs are low, Werenko said.  “In general, our classes are pretty reasonably priced.”

The Art Center’s classes are just one example of the wide variety of activities offered in Los Alamos.

“I’ve always been impressed with how much a small community like Los Alamos offers (its citizens),” Werenko said. “It’s a lot of cultural things to have in a small community.”

“Having these opportunities,” he added, “I think means a lot to the community.”

Why have all these cultural opportunities? It’s a quality of life, Werenko said.

If you are interested in taking a class, go to the center’s website, www.artfulnm.org and look at the class offerings.

You can register by calling the center at 662-9331 or by going to the center, which is open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.