Monday, October 19, 2015

smARTStudio in Akron

Profile with Jennifer Davis from smARTStudio in Akron
by Joanna Wilson 

I first met Jennifer Davis when she was hosting a workshop in conjunction with a Crafty Mart show a while back.  Eventually I signed up for one of her painting classes--I was a part of the Jeff Goldblum portrait painting group. 

I had never painted on canvas before, felt a little out of my element, and was a bit anxious. However, Jennifer walked me and the other participants through the experience and now I proudly hang the painting on my bedroom wall! Jennifer impressed me with her skill and ability to work with people.  And, I've already signed up for another painting class. I've reserved my spot at Hot Black Coffee: The Twin Peaks portrait painting pARTy which is Oct. 27th. 

Jennifer Davis is the owner/Visual Arts Educator at smARTStudio in Akron's Highland Square neighborhood. The studio's mission is to provide enriching and creative art experiences to artists of all ages in our community. She graciously answered a few of my questions for this profile. 

Hi Jennifer! Please describe your physical studio space for us.
smARTStudio is located in a converted space inside our carriage house. The studio is a wonderfully welcoming place to facilitate visual arts learning with small groups and private lessons. 

You used to be an art teacher--how did you come to open smARTStudio?
I'm still an art teacher, only in a different capacity!
I was employed in a public school district and left the position after five years. The underwhelming support for the arts was a huge disappointment and providing students with an enriching art experience became difficult and near impossible. Opening smARTStudio has always been a goal of mine, and is a perfect fit for my philosophy of art education. I see myself as a facilitator of visual arts learning and a guide. Art making should incorporate discovery, play, and a focus on the process-not necessarily on the product.

What inspires you?
I never stop learning! Inspiration is everywhere is you are willing to be inspired. I gather and collect ideas from museum visits, hiking in the parks, books, film, family, friends, and students!

Tell me a little about the workshops you have going on right now? 
smARTStudio has ongoing, curriculum based studio instruction for homeschool classes and after school lessons. 
I also provide art enrichment workshops in the community, which include "Hot Black Coffee: Twin Peaks Portrait Painting pARTy" at Musica on October 27. I will host a "Watercolor Cityscapes Class" November 7 at Summit Artspace in conjunction with Full Circle Exhibit. Two "Have a Murray Xmas (Bill Murray) Portrait Painting pARTies" will be offered by smARTStudio during the 7th Annual Crafty Mart at Summit Artspace and the Akron Art Museum. 

Keep an eye out for upcoming creative classes with smARTStudio at the Canton Museum of Art, Summit Artspace, and the Akron Art Museum.

But you offer open studio time too, right? Studio time for artists who don't need instruction--tell me about that.
The studio is also available for Open Studio times, a great option for artists who don't need instruction- they just need the space to focus on their craft. I have artists that prefer to use the space for a variety of reasons and I can offer flexible times at a reasonable rate. The studio also houses a kiln that artists can bring their clay work to be fired for a firing fee.

Thank you Jennifer. You're a wonderful asset to the arts & culture community in Akron :)

"Diane, mark my calendar for Oct. 27th."

There are a limited number of spaces still available for the smARTStudio workshops--including the Twin Peaks portrait pARTy.  I want to paint the Log Lady, or maybe agent Dale Cooper.  I don't know yet--I'm too excited to make up my mind.



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