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ArtiCulture grand opening part of Sept. 27 "Frankly 27th" open house
Just a week after its mid-August move to Franklin Avenue, ArtiCulture’s new location is a work in progress. Entering the space is reminiscent of walking in on a theater rehearsal. The floor is black like a stage; props and art supplies are in every line of vision. In the corner, two little girls about 5 years old take a break from their art class to practice ballet twirls, while Copa, the nonprofit’s border collie mascot, plays the role of hostess.
In truth, the classroom looks just like an art class for children should: with plenty of paint splatters, safety scissors, paints, markers, crayons, supplies and just-finished artwork — even a stuffed pheasant. At the time of The Bridge’s interview with Executive Director of ArtiCulture, Elizabeth Greenbaum, the kids were embarking on a supervised expedition to a nearby park.
It might make sense that the organization gives off a playful vibe, for although ArtiCulture’s focus is on the visual arts, its mission of educating, enriching and nurturing anyone from ages 1 to 101 comes in many forms, according to Greenbaum. Now that they have a bigger space that is more accessible to patrons in the Seward neighborhood, the organization intends to expand those horizons even further.
Greenbaum noted that plans were in the works for years to move from its old Longfellow location, but it was only when Seward Redesign found what seemed to be an ideal location — the newly remodeled “Frankly 27th” building between 26th and 27th avenues on East Franklin Avenue — that ArtiCulture found its new home. “[Seward Redesign] literally came over and said, ‘we have the space for you,’” Greenbaum said. “And they were right.”
Double the size of the old location, Greenbaum has high hopes for the new site, citing a new retail store and increased studio space as just two ways ArtiCulture and the public can expect to benefit from the move.
The increased space could also improve ArtiCulture’s many outreach programs, including an African weaving program for Somali women, funded through a grant from the Seward Neighborhood Group, and an alliance with Partnership Resources Inc. which has designed an art program for developmentally disabled adults.
“We’ll be able to hold exhibits of work from these programs right here in our building,” said Greenbaum, “which will allow us to play a larger role in [the programs].”
General classes will be expanded to include a combined painting and life-drawing class for adults, complete with live models. On the agenda for fall is “ArtSlam,” a teen program combining poetry and the visual arts, as well as what is known as “Fun Art Fridays,” an after school program for kids that may serve as an alternative to daycare.
The children’s class in session during The Bridge interview was “Patterns in Nature,” in which young kids discover ways artists are inspired by nature and the outdoors. That would explain not only the trip to the park but perhaps the stuffed pheasant prop.
Indeed, while play is important to ArtiCulture’s philosophy, the organization considers its role as primarily educational, said Greenbaum. The group’s mission is to spread art as a means of enhancing skills in multiple areas of life. “In terms of a curriculum,” she said, “we provide students with a theme and the tools they need. Then, within that realm, we hope to promote an open-ended approach to creative thinking.” This method largely entails outlining the relationships between visual art, math and science, Greenbaum explained, as well as poetry and literary arts.
While the move is still fresh and there is much yet to do, Greenbaum seems more than satisfied at the moment with the new location and its benefits. For now, the organization is focused on getting settled in time for a grand opening celebration on Sept. 27 — part of a larger “Frankly 27th” open house — which will include a fundraiser and the organization’s first annual “clothesline sale,” featuring affordable works by local artists. As for the future of ArtiCulture, Greenbaum puts it best when she describes the educational philosophy of the group:
“It’s not about the final picture, but the process.”
©2008 The Bridge