Arts Council of Princeton to host open house

By Anthony Stoeckert
   Anyone interested in finding out about the Arts Council of Princeton should make plans to attend the council’s fall open house on Sept. 12 at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts.
   The event, which will take place from noon to 3 p.m., will offer visitors the opportunity to learn about the arts council’s fall classes and workshops, community programs and volunteer opportunities.
   According to Liz Murray, education director for the Arts Council of Princeton, instructors will share demonstrations that will provide an idea of what their classes are like. Not all instructors will there, that’s pretty much impossible considering the arts council has 45 instructors teaching more than 160 classes, but Ms. Murray says instructors at the open house will provide information on the types of classes people can take, and the age groups for which classes are designed.
   ”In addition to core offerings in drawing and painting, ceramics and sculpture, darkroom and digital photography, we posted opportunities in textiles — one of our featured artists… Piroska Toth, will offer a lively hands-on demo in felting — jewelry, printmaking, literary arts and more,” Ms. Murray says. “Members of the education department will also be on hand to answer questions, make recommendations, and assist with registrations.” Among the mediums instructors will demonstrate are drawing, painting, weaving, photography, dance and more.
   ”We are committed to providing an educational platform for virtually all ages, interests, abilities, and availability,” Ms. Murray says, adding that offerings include one-off classes, weekend workshops and multi-week classes that run up to 10 weeks.
   ”In addition to core offerings in drawing and painting, ceramics and sculpture, darkroom and digital photography, ACP has opportunities in textiles, jewelry, printmaking, literary arts and more,” Mr. Murray says. “We are always looking to introduce new programs, and this semester alone features almost 90 designated as “new.”
   The open house also will feature a demonstration by Faraz Khan, the current Anne Reeves artist-in-residence, as well live music, a treasure hunt and Halo Pub ice cream. Visitors are encouraged to stay for the opening reception for the arts council’s annual members exhibit at the Taplin Gallery, which will begin at 3 p.m.
   Ms. Murray says the open house not only informs people about classes they can take with the arts council, but also gives them the opportunity to learn about the facilities at the Paul Robeson Center for the Arts.
   ”Another benefit of the open house is that so many people in the area do not realize the breadth and depth of what is available here,” says Ms. Murray, adding that the ceramics studio has 10 wheels and three kilns; the digital imaging studio has eight workstations in addition to the instructors’ and that the completely outfitted dark room has five enlargers. There’s also a mirrored dance studio; a 120-seat theater with high-quality audio-visual capabilities, and more.
   ”This is a robust center dedicated to life-long learning in the arts that encourages personal development and enrichment,” Ms. Murray says.
   Other opportunities this fall that Ms. Murray pointed out are collaborative programs with such organizations as Morven Museum & Garden, Grounds For Sculpture, and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association, in which arts council instructors hold programs at those locations.
   ”These welcome members from both partnering organizations, as well as the general public,” Ms. Murray says. “These have proven to be a great way to heighten awareness of each other’s organizations and expand outreach efforts.”
   Visitors also can learn about programs for groups, such as home schooled students and Girl Scout troops.
   ”We also offer a two-day mini-camp during the NJEA break on Nov. 5-6: ‘Faces & Places’ for ages 5-11 and digital drawing for ages 11-14,” Ms. Murray says. “Addressing the needs of families in our community is of paramount importance!”
   One goal of the open house is to educate people about free events and scholarships for classes and workshops.
   Ms. Murray has memories of people she has met at open houses, who have become part of the arts council’s community. One woman last year had recently had a child, and was looking for some “me time,” according to Ms. Murray.
   ”She was attracted to several of our one-off workshops that could fit with her limited availability,” Ms. Murray says. “I have been delighted to see her return time and again for various workshops over the past 12 months.”
   Then there was a woman who had just moved to the area.
   ”She wanted to make connections with others in her new hometown through a shared interest in the arts — a fitting tribute to ACP’s mission of building community through the arts,” Ms. Murray says. “She has been a dedicated student who has enjoyed experiences here in drawing, painting, and sculpture.”
The Paul Robeson Center for the Arts is located at 102 Witherspoon St., Princeton. For more information, go to artscouncilofprinceton.org or call 609-924-8777.