Local art class offers students advanced, academic-styled coursework

CASSOPOLIS — For more than a year, the Cass Area Artists have sponsored a class, which is hosted at the Cass District Library in Cassopolis from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Monday.

This class looks to educate students in advanced art theories and techniques and, according to instructor Sharron Ott, the class is more academic-centric than it is a class where students learn how to do crafts.

This past month’s class has featured structures in nature, which include an introductory lecture, as well as drawing and painting with acrylics in each class. During the class Ott has also been teaching one and two point perspective. Students have chosen their own reference to include landscapes and have progressively added people, animals and plants within their compositions.

“This class gets into the beginnings of technical drafting and understanding how exactly things get smaller as they move away from us and then how to draw that,” Ott said.

Each theme is taught for six weeks before Ott begins to teach an new one.

“We only break for holidays,” Ott said. “It’s just an ongoing class where student come whenever they want. There’s no registration, and it’s $12 per class.”

Students as young as 12 years old participate in the class and utilize math and science to help them observe the world around them. Ott said that she typically has seven student per class, but even given the rigorous course material, she said she can handle up to 14.

The students also show their projects at the library, typically about every 12 weeks, which gives students time to gather a collection of pieces to show off. This allows the students to gain some of the experience necessary to have an exhibit.

“Many of my students have gone on to become professional artists, and many begin to exhibit and sell their work professionally,” she said. “Some of the younger people go onto art school college.”

Ott has more than 13 years experience teaching art.

“I moved to Michigan three years ago and was looking to start up my classes,” she said. “I’ve written all male curriculum and I’m putting together a textbook, and I like to use my curriculum. So I found this great opportunity at the Cassopolis Library. The class is sponsored by the Cass Area Artists.”

Prior to living in Cassopolis, Ott got her start just outside of Chicago.

“I taught at what is called the Oak Park Art League, which originally originated in Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal home and then it moved into a historic building in Oak Park,” she said. “It’s the longest running not-for-profit in the state of Illinois. It’s a really cool place.”

Community members that have questions or that are interested in joining the class can call Ott at (708) 738-0558.

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