Culturfx offers first art classes

DOWAGIAC — Friday afternoon, the basement of Culturfx Art Gallery was overflowing with bananas. Some were strange colors like orange or green, while others had designs such as stars or dots covering their exterior.

While the scene may sound like some produce mishap, there were no actual fruits in sight. Each banana was an image painted on a small canvas as part of a new set of classes being offered by the art gallery.

Culturfx Art Gallery, 102 Commercial St., recently hosted its first ever art classes, which catered to children ranging in age from 2 to 17. Calling them “creativity classes,” owners of the gallery said they hope the first classes will spur interest in the community so that they can continue to offer more courses for the youth of Dowagiac.

“We are going to be doing different art activities, so it won’t just be limited to painting,” said Kandy Grady, instructor of the classes. “The activities will be for children and adults, so if an adult wants to come in and sit in on a class with their kids, they will have fun also.”

The first classes offered Friday were organized by different age groups and challenged young participants to paint a picture of a banana in a new and creative way. To demonstrate the idea for the classes, Grady painted a purple banana to help the students get their creative juices flowing.

“This class is called ‘Let’s Go Bananas,’” Grady said. “They have to use their imagination to imagine what a banana would look like if it weren’t yellow. They get to design their own banana. They can make it plaid, polka dot, whatever they can think of. If they want to make their banana look like a sports car, that is fine with me.”

The goal of the classes will be to get young students to tap into their creative side and think outside of the box, Grady said.

“We get so bombarded with so many images, that sometimes we forget to use our own imaginations,” she said. “Dowagiac has always been full of creative people, and I think having an additional outlet to express and encourage that is a good thing.”

Grady said she would like to expand to offer more classes and is currently planning to provide at least a few lessons a month. Ideally, she said she would like to offer classes once a week.

“I want to turn this into a long-term program so that kids can look forward to coming,” she said. “I like to teach the children. I like to teach adults, too, but children’s imaginations keep my imagination going.”

The classes, which will typically be one-hour long, cost $15 per child and $10 for each child in a party after the first. The cost of the classes covers the cost of materials provided to students, Grady said.

The next set of classes will be offered Jan. 4 at the gallery. Follow Culturfx’s Facebook page for more details and to be informed of when courses will be provided.

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