Polk Museum of Art Receives Bank of America Grant for New Teen Scholarships

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is pleased to announce that it has received a $2,500 Bank of America grant to help fund a scholarship program geared toward teens.

The Building Vibrant Communities Through Teen Art Class Scholarships program will enable eight Polk County students ages 14-18 from low- to moderate-income level families the opportunity to each take a six-week, tuition-free art class of their choice at the museum and obtain required art supplies at no charge.

“We are honored to receive this critical, groundbreaking grant award,” said Education Manager Ellen Chastain. “The Polk Museum has a long, successful history of raising funds and awarding Art Camp Scholarships to disadvantaged youth ages 7-13, but this is the first time the department has the means to support the older students who are passionate about pursuing higher education art programs to prepare them for art-related careers like graphic design, photography and printmaking.” 

The scholarships will help the museum bridge an economic gap by providing cultural services to under-served high school students who cannot afford to participate in the fee-based programs and purchase their own art supplies, said Executive Director Claire Orologas. 

“We are grateful for Bank of America’s support to enhance the vitality and livability of our entire Polk County community, especially for teens who face financial barriers,” Orologas said.   

PMA offers a series of six-week, small-group Adult and Teen Art Classes in the fall, spring and summer each year. Classes are taught by certified art teachers or art professionals for three hours per session on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Students are instructed in a variety of mediums such as drawing, painting and sculpture, and learn invaluable problem-solving and critical thinking skills that are transferable to any subject. Fall classes begin Oct. 8 and end Nov.13. 

To learn more about the fall schedule and how to apply for a financial-need and merit-based Teen Art Class Scholarship, visit https://polkmuseumofart.org/adultclasses; or contact Ellen Chastain at 863-688-7743 ext. 227 or echastain@polkmuseumofart.org

Accomplished Concrete Sculptor Offers 3-Day Workshop

As a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University, Elder Jones lived in a cabin in the woods without electricity, running water or a phone.

When noted Tennessee sculptor Jack Hastings – who lived nearby and worked out of his Sewanee Deepwoods art studio – needed help working on a big commission for the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Jones jumped at the opportunity, which offered the promise of company and $4 an hour.

Jones would mix cement in the mornings and Hastings would begin carving after it set. When Hastings had some concrete left over, he would ask Jones if he wanted to make something. Hastings offered no instruction; just the tools.

“Jack never taught me anything,” Jones said. “I saw his tools and his work, and he just turned me loose.”

Jones “piddled” with this newfound hobby for a while, but got serious about wet-carved concrete sculpting after a stint in California, where a woman took an interest in his work and pushed him to make more. His work began to take off and some of it wound up in a Berkley art gallery.

The Chattanooga native eventually returned to his home state and joined the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. He had a great studio space, sold his work, and got the occasional commission, he said, adding that creating art was “much better than hanging wallpaper.”

In the years since, his work has been featured on HGTV’s “Our Place,” in Southern Living Magazine, and in the San Francisco Examiner, as well as in two books by Sherri Warner Hunter.

Sharing the Knowledge

Jones began offering workshops to teach others the art of wet-carved concrete sculpting. They have great appeal for him.

“It’s just fun,” Jones said. “After an hour or so, you look around and see everyone carving away and no one is saying anything.”

Then out of the blue someone invariably breaks the ice by announcing, “This is so much fun.”

“It’s very engrossing,” Jones said. “You get to watch yourself make something.”

Jones is “totally amazed all the time” by the sculptures and planters students make in his classes. Every student is different. Some want guidance. Some never ask Jones anything and suddenly he looks over and wonders to himself whether he’s teaching them anything or he should be learning something from them.

Dr. Seuss versus The Soup Nazi

Here’s what you can expect from Jones when you take his upcoming wet-carved concrete sculpting class at the Polk Museum of Art: A delicate blend of gentle instruction and stern pushing to get it done.

It begins with a lot of “Cat in the Hat,” where Jones gently encourages everyone, he said. But as the concrete begins to harden, Jones admits that he channels his inner Soup Nazi and pushes students “to get done because if you miss a spot, it’s permanent.”

Join us March 23-25

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is excited to offer a three-day Wet-Carved Concrete Sculpture Workshop with Jones March 23-25, and we hope you’ll join us for this hands-on experience.

The deadline to register is March 4 and can be completed here. Call for more information: (863) 688-5423.

Registration Opens for Spring Art Classes

The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College has a gift that will fit in any stocking or gift bag this holiday season, and it’s guaranteed to be the right size and color.

Registration for the museum’s six-week art classes for teens and adults has opened, and gift certificates are available. The registration deadline is Jan. 28. Registrations submitted after the deadline will include a $35 late fee. Click here for more information or to register.

All classes are held at the Polk Museum of Art, 800 E. Palmetto St. in Lakeland.

Spring session classes: 

Art Appreciation: Survey of American Art

Feb. 5 – March 12, 6-8 p.m.

Cost: free for members; $60 nonmembers

Discover the major personalities, works and styles that have come to define American painting, sculpture and architecture.

Beginning Photography

Feb. 6 – March 13, 6-9 p.m.

Cost: $145 members; $185 nonmembers

Learn the technical skills to use your digital camera, and learn to take better photos with your mobile phone. This class will teach you how to photograph landscapes, portraiture, sports, night photography and other subjects and techniques.

Creative Concepts in Photography

Feb. 5 – March 12, 6-9 p.m.

Cost: $145 members; $185 nonmembers

Take your photography to the next level by learning lighting techniques and advanced compositional tools. Learn how to get great shots of outdoor scenes, wildlife, events and more.

Alternative Watercolor Methods

Feb. 5 – March 12, 6-9 p.m.

Cost: $145 members; $185 nonmembers

Learn the basics of watercolor, as well as salt and water techniques, wax resist and wet into wet watercolor.

Figurative Sculpture

Feb. 5 – March 12, 6-9 p.m.

Cost: $210 members; $250 nonmembers

Learn to build and sculpt figurative pieces through basic carving, modeling and sculpture techniques with clay, paper clay and foam.

Realistic Portraits

Feb. 5 – March 12, 6-9 p.m

Cost: $145 members; $185 nonmembers

Learn how color, lighting and a variety of rendering techniques combine to create the stirring illusion of 3-D space. Experiment with the use of colored pencils and the layering of alcohol-based art markers.

Oil Painting and Mixed Media

Feb. 6 – March 13, 6-9 p.m.

Cost: $145 members; $185 nonmembers

Explore the use of oil color and mixed media. Learn to create texture with applications such as gesso and plaster, transparencies with liquin impasto glazes, techniques of mixing “fat and lean” combinations with linseed oil and blending effects with the oil paint medium.

Printmaking Fundamentals and Application

Feb. 6 – March 13, 6-9 p.m.

Cost: $145 members; $185 nonmembers

Learn the basics of print tool techniques, two-layered linoleum block cuts, monotyping and collographs.