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Tuesday, April, 23

Let’s Create! – A look at some of the best places in Denton to create visual arts.

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No matter what type of visual art you like to create or want to learn more about, there’s a place in Denton for you to do just that. Here’s a look at a few of the fantastic places in our community providing hands-on opportunities to let your creativity shine.

Wildflower Art Studio

As an art teacher, Emile Stewart started Wildflower Art Studio when she created a DIY art kit that became so successful, it became a best-selling product on Amazon and received press in publications like Glamour magazine.

“Weirdly enough, people in Denton didn’t know about us, even though people all over the world knew about us,” Stewart says. ” I thought okay, I need to build awareness because I’m investing in my community.”

For that reason, in 2020 Stewart began focusing on the Denton community by hosting workshops, retreats, classes, and other events at her brick-and-mortar location. Throughout the year, Wildflower Art Studio offers a full calendar of workshops for adults in a variety of different art forms, including gouache painting, watercolor painting, stained glass, and calligraphy.

The studio also offers full-day retreats about three times a year, which Stewarts says are very popular. “It’s a comprehensive wellness experience,” she details. “The participants come and make art … and they’ll either have yoga or some kind of creative meditation. It’s geared toward giving the participants tools to use creativity as a health tool to relax, to ease stress and anxiety.”

For younger artists, Wildflower Art Studio offers weekly art classes and art camps, including an upcoming summer art camp.

“Our mission at the studio is that creativity is vital for mental health and all of our workshops are geared along those lines,” Stewart explains. “So even with kids, it’s based on kids spending so much time in front of screens, let’s give them these tools so that they can know what to do when they’re home and they have downtime. Let’s give them drawing skills and they can make sculptures out of recycled cardboard. We just want to give everyone tools to better our mental health overall and then hopefully inspire creativity in all ages.”

For more information on workshops and classes, follow Wildflower Art Studio on Facebook and Instagram.

Greater Denton Arts Council

According to Facilities Manager Rachel Weaver, the Greater Denton Arts Council (GDAC) is a nonprofit organization that considers itself to be a catalyst for creativity, advocacy, and collaboration for the arts community in Denton.

“We operate out of the Patterson-Appleton Art Center where we host events, curate exhibitions, and shows, and offer space for artists to engage with the community,” she continues.

Almost every Thursday evening, GDAC hosts a free community arts program at the Patterson-Appleton Art Center. Past events have included a viewing of the College Dance Film Festival and a figure drawing night.

Coming up on Thursday, March 2nd, GDAC will host two community workshops — the “Movement & Form” community workshop with Amie Adelman and a fabric mosaic workshop with UNT Sustainability Design Program students.

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Also on Thursdays, GDAC offers an open studio for all artists at the Patterson-Appleton Art Center from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. “Folks can come and just use the space (and) spread out,” Weaver explains. “It’s bring your own materials and supplies, but it’s an opportunity for people to kind of spread out, maybe talk with other artists that are here. We always get some Visual Arts Society members that come on Thursdays and can offer advice or anything like that.”

For more information on workshops and classes, follow the Greater Denton Arts Council on Facebook and Instagram, or visit Art + Seek.

Denton Ceramics Collaborative

One group that hosts art workshops through the Greater Denton Art Council’s Thursday evening programming is the Denton Ceramics Collaborative.

Co-founders Melissa Getty and Erin Allice founded the group in June 2019 as a way for ceramics students to stay connected after graduation. “There’s a lot of art around town, but not a lot of places where you can go and meet up and discuss things, share knowledge, learn new skills from other people,” she explains. “And once the students have graduated, where do they go? What do they do? How do you find access to materials and kilns and that camaraderie that we all enjoy so much while we’re in school together? So we started the Denton Ceramics Collective to try to have a solution for that.”

Although the collaborative does not currently have a brick-and-mortar studio, they hold ceramics workshops at the Patterson-Appleton Art Center. Past ceramics workshops included a holiday ornament workshop and a fall plate workshop.

Additionally, the collaborative offers full-day Saturday classes throughout the year for larger projects. “You’ll come, do some sculpting, maybe handle something a little more intricate like a large coffee mug or maybe even a little decorative sculpture like a fairy house — something fun (and) whimsical,” Getty says. 

Right now Getty says they are gearing up to announce workshops for 2023 and encourages anyone interested in ceramics to sign up for a class this year. “There’s no experience required, you don’t need to bring anything but yourself,” she says. “And especially for those Thursday ones, it’s free. There’s really nothing to lose but a couple of hours of your time.”

For more information on workshops and classes, follow the Denton Ceramics Collaborative on Facebook and Instagram.

The DIME Store

If you’ve ever wanted to learn arts like basket weaving, candle making, block printing, or paper marbling, then you should definitely check out the upcoming art workshops at The DIME Store.

According to Workshop Coordinator Savannah Kurka, “DIME” stands for Denton Independent Maker Exchange. “Our primary mission is to promote connectivity within our community and inspire creativity as well, while also investing into our local creative economy,” she continues. “So when you come into the store, everything you see is either handmade, independently designed and so forth. And typically, whoever is behind the front desk is an artist who sells their work there as well.”

And in addition to selling artists’ work, The DIME Store offers a robust arts workshop program with classes that are a mix of highlighting local talent here in Denton and projects people say they want to learn.

Kurka says classes are generally held on weeknight evenings, with a few throughout the year held on weekends. “We try to keep them kind of relaxing so it can be a way to decompress after work,” she adds.

And the workshop fee includes all the materials participants will need, as well as instruction. “One of my goals for the workshops is to be able to leave with something tangible that you can say I’ve made this myself,” Kurka explains. “I always find that to be a really empowering feeling and so that’s our main goal — we want to have the materials there ready to go, kind of have it all inclusive of you just show up and learn, have fun, and leave with something you can be proud of.”

For more information on workshops and classes, follow The DIME Store on Facebook and Instagram. And to be placed on The DIME Store’s workshop-specific newsletter, send an email to savannah@dimehandmade.com.

The Art Room

Started in January 2019, The Art Room is a nonprofit art studio for people with mental health issues, explains founder Marlys Lamar.

“It offers a way to engage other parts of our brain that can be healing in a way,” she continues. “Our idea is that people can kind of get away from their mental health problems. We can get really focused on fixing ourselves or improving ourselves, where this is a place to just come and create. And just the process itself has a calming effect and a therapeutic effect.”

Those accepted as members of The Art Room can participate in a variety of events, including drop-in open art studios. “We have all kinds of art supplies and art equipment to do just about any kind of art,” Lamar says. “The only thing we don’t have is a kiln or a pottery wheel, but we’re hoping to get that at some point soon. The idea is just to come and create what you want.”

Attendees also have access to an art volunteer and a mental health volunteer during the open studio time. “And the idea is when you come in, the volunteers are there to help you get started,” Lamar adds. “We have a fair amount of people who really don’t have much or have experience and they find their inner artist. Many people were very much surprised at the abilities that they didn’t know they had.”

The Art Room also offers an open studio time called Studio 416 on Tuesday evenings for teens in grades nine through 12. “The kids that come really enjoy being there and bond and have a good time doing whatever art they want,” Lamar says.

And for both types of open studios, members do not pay to access the art materials and equipment. “I think what people find when they come (to The Art Room is) that it’s a safe place because we do understand the mental health side of it,” Lamar says. “People feel really safe in our space and welcomed (and) accepted. We want to have a space where you can enjoy yourself and feel safe and feel supported.”

For more information on becoming a member of The Art Room, click here for a membership form. And you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Thistle Creative Reuse

And for those looking to find out how to reuse arts and crafts supplies, Thistle Creative Reuse offers lots of ways to learn how.

Jacie Sparks, reuse and recovery specialist and community outreach coordinator for Thistle Creative Reuse, says the business’ mission is to inspire creativity through reused items. “We are a brick-and-mortar shop that sells second hand arts and crafts supplies,” she continues. “We just want to make creativity and craft supplies attainable for all people living in Denton.”

Operating like a thrift store, Thistle Creative Reuse takes in donations of used arts and crafts items from the community. Sparks says they accept a wide variety of items, including traditional supplies, glass jars, sewing notions, picture frames, and vintage materials.

The store even takes in projects that people may have decided not to finish. Called “Finish Me” projects, they include quilts, blankets, and apparel that need to be completed.

And for those looking for quick art projects they can make themselves at home, the business offers ready-to-make Thistle Kits. Past kits have included a felt Yeti kit and a felt mushroom kit.

“We gather all of the materials that they would need to make an item, put it in packaging, and then they can buy it and take it home and they have all the instructions and they have all the materials to make it at home,” Sparks explains. “If (people are) not really sure what they want to do, or they’ve never done anything like that before, it gives them all the materials and all the instructions to kind of get started.”

For the first time this spring, Thistle Creative Reuse will be hosting a Reuse Rowdy Art Camp from March 13-14 for children in second to fifth grade. Sparks says the camp will feature art projects combining a love for the environment and reusable art materials.

For example, she said one project will be watercolor painting using dried-up Crayola markers. “Once they’re dried up and you can’t really color with them anymore, there is still some ink left in there,” she details. “If you dip the marker in some water and let it sit there for a couple of days, it soaks up all the rest of the ink in there. So we’re actually going to be reusing those to make watercolors for their project.”

And Sparks says the Denton community can come out and take part in hands-on art projects during community pop-up events throughout the year. “We are planning on doing a number of community outreach events this year,” she says. “A lot happens during the month of April because it’s Earth Month, and so there’s a lot of places that we go to just do pop-up craft events or pop-up store events where we bring materials for people to buy.”

For more information on pop-up events and kids camps, follow Thistle Creative Reuse on Facebook and Instagram.

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