It isn’t often that Canvas Program Developer MK MacNaughton finds time to indulge her creative appetites. Though surrounded by artistic opportunity at the downtown art gallery and studio where she works, MacNaughton is generally kept busy on the dispensing end of things.
“I’ve been kind of an art waitress, and haven’t created much myself,” MacNaughton said.
But during a recent visit to Penland School of Craft in North Carolina, she managed to feed her own creative muse as well as arrange for a future feast back home. After completing an intensive drawing course led by New York City artist Paul Shore, MacNaughton found herself wishing she could bottle up the energizing experience and bring it back to her community. So she approached the instructor with a request.
“At the end of it I said, ‘I wish I could have you over for dinner,’ and he said, ‘I’ll come,’” MacNaughton recalled.
Shore will be in town starting next week to lead “Drawn to Alaska,” a series of classes at the Canvas that MacNaughton hopes to turn into a recurring artist-in-residency project. For this first foray, in the absence of funding, she pieced together a plan on the fly, paying for his ticket with Alaska Airlines miles and asking a local family to host him for his two-week stay.
“I’m determined in years to come to find some funding to help pay for travel costs,” she said, adding that she envisions the program to be a collaborative effort with other arts groups in town, such as the local museums.
Shore will lead two weeks of intensive drawing classes at the Canvas beginning Monday. He will also be working with REACH clients during day-habilitation classes at the downtown facility.
Shore’s most recent work explores themes of male and female identity, focusing in particular on the physical forms of the funnel and the braid. Through these forms, the artist examines concepts of flow and transition, expressing these ideas through both 2D and 3D pieces. Works range from sketches to wax sculptures to larger pieces that incorporate furniture, such as old chairs he’s salvaged from roadsides.
Though the courses Shore will be leading are primarily drawing classes, MacNaughton said his instruction will also serve as a more general stimulus for engaging in the creative process; her positive experience at Penland was largely about challenging herself and broadening her mindset.
“It wasn’t a technique-based experience that I had last summer as much as an opportunity to sit down and push myself in new directions,” she said. “He will offer techniques, but most what these workshops are about is an opportunity to get started and consider a new path.”
Classes are “Portrait Drawing,” “Magnificent Obsessions,” and Collaborative Drawing.” All are open to artists of all levels, and the portrait class, offered in two, two-session blocks, can be taken twice, as the activities will differ from week to week.
At the end of his stay, on July 23, Shore will give a slide-show and lecture about his work. Pie in the Sky will be open beginning at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 6:30 p.m., ending early enough to allow attendees to attend the Peart Django concert at 7:30 that night. MacNaughton said she expects the slide show to be mature in theme (PG-rated).
For more information, visit www.canvasarts.org.
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