The City of Savannah’s Cultural Affairs Department has long offered various continuing education classes at S.P.A.C.E. (Savannah’s Place for Art, Culture and Education) on West Henry Street. But the new slate of offerings — to be revealed in a festive open house this coming Wednesday, Jan. 7 — is likely the most ever.
“We’ve put together an exciting calendar of programs,” says Debra Zumstein, city arts programs coordinator. “Cultural activities allow our community to share experiences, develop new skills, exchange ideas and grow together through the creative process.”
In addition to new classes and new artists, drama classes will return to the schedule after a break of several years, an event highlighted at the open house by an excerpt from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), an upcoming performance by the city’s Cultural Affairs Theatre.
At the event from 5-7 p.m., “we’re hoping to catch a lot of people coming home from work,” says Visual Arts Coordinator Lisa Bradley. “We have two sets of classes we’re offering: morning sessions and evening sessions. We’re hoping people will still be motivated after they’ve had a busy day to go to a class, unwind and focus on something they really enjoy.”
In addition, there will be tours of all the facilities at S.P.A.C.E., door prizes for free classes, and “we’ll have all our teachers who can answer questions,” says Bradley.
In a nod to real-world practicality, the new performing arts curriculum was designed with the upcoming season of Cultural Arts Theatre in mind.
“For example we’ve got a costume class that will possibly be constructing costumes used in shows later in the season,” says new Performing Arts Coordinator Ellie Pyle.
“We have an audition class that hopefully will have a session where we have a different teacher come in and teach how to audition for a musical, because we’ll be doing some musicals in our upcoming season.”
Other new performing arts classes include a set design class and a choreography class.
Organizers hope for a certain organic nature to emerge as classes progress.
“Our classes are being billed as introductory, particularly this winter,” says Pyle. “If we find people of different skill levels who want to do something more advanced, in the spring we can start tailoring classes to these potential students and know we’ll have students who want to take a more advanced class.”
S.P.A.C.E. will continue its usual expansive selection of arts and crafts classes, all taught by local artists and artisans. Classes include jewelry, metalsmithing, enamel, pottery, and printmaking.
“We have professional artists teaching the classes,” says Bradley.
“The girl teaching the jewelry class has her own business, and sells metal work as well as jewelry,” she says.
“One of the printmaking instructors is an artist and a professor at SCAD, who besides teaching college students would like to get more involved in community classes as well, sharing expertise and talents with a wider span of the population.”
Bradley says while jewelry and ceramics have always been popular classes, “we’re really trying to get the printmaking side going again. We actually have two printing presses. Hopefully it will develop into papermaking classes down the road and book arts. The more interest we have in printmaking, the more we can expand that side of the visual arts.” cs
S.P.A.C.E. Open House
When: Jan. 7, 5-7 p.m.
Where: S.P.A.C.E., 9 W. Henry St. Lots of off-street parking available.
Cost: Free and open to the public
Info: 912/651-6783 or www.savannahga.gov/arts.