Teaching as an art form

Published 12:30 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Summer is often synonymous with classes ending, school being out, and students thinking about anything but learning.  Yet, summer is one of the busiest times of the year both for as parents enroll students in art camps. The summer provides vacation time for adults to attend workshops, retreats, or festivals that immerse them in their interests.  While all the summer programming is occurring, behind the scenes the planning for fall classes, after-school programs, or weekend experiences offered by 4-H, First Regional Library, YAC, and local artists has already begun.

Lafayette County hosts teachers of all types, skills, and interests.  Professional school teachers who offer instruction on the side.  Professional musicians who pass on their skills offering instruction at Oxford House of Music or Roxford University. Retirees who wish to pass on talents and skills they have acquired.  The range of opportunities to learn a new skill, enhance a talent, or share knowledge is almost limitless.  Tapping into the resources in the community has been behind the Arts Council’s effort to provide spaces for programs.  The Lafayette County Arena, Powerhouse, and Old Armory Pavilion host yoga, painting, cooking, and gardening classes for all ages.  The ability to offer the place and outreach to find those who share similar interests has been part of YAC’s community development.

Camps and educational programs offer lifelong skills.  The goal of art camps is not just to teach children the basics of art.  The goal is to provide the tools that allow us as individuals to explore and appreciate how our expressions of self can connect us to the wider community.  As adults exploring the history and tradition behind foods allows us to understand the world around us and apply that knowledge in creating our cooking to tell our story.  Learning how to weave a pine needle basket based on indigenous people’s traditions offers both a skill and an understanding of people and places.  A storytelling class offer skills to connect with other members of the community.  

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The classes and programs offered by organizations within the community are often suggested by community members. Currently, the Arts Council is taking ideas for classes.  Classes can be as simple as people seeking to gather around a topic such as Oxford Comma which offers monthly sharing sessions for those interested in writing.  Classes can be sharing a learned skill.  Former librarian Nancy Opalko learned how to weave Kudzu Baskets from artists Mark Barnes. She has offered to pass on this skill.  Joseph Stinchcomb and Taariq David are hosting cocktail classes teaching the history behind spirits and how to craft a perfect cocktail.  Stacy Sanford, Debbie Myer, Constance Pierce, and Andi Bedsworth teach classes on sewing, crafting, painting, and watercolors. If you have a passion, skill, or idea that you would like to share with the community the Arts Council is looking to provide you the space to share.   To learn how you can suggest, propose or offer a class contact the Arts Council at 662-236-6429 or oxfordarts.com


Wayne Andrews is chairman of YAC.