Winter Blues Got You Down?

January 27, 2019

By Cheryl A. Cuddahy

There’s a place, close by, where one can easily forget the sometimes dreary days of winter and begin to get excited about the coming spring.

Fitchburg Art Museum is one of the most treasured cultural institutions in Central New England. It serves the cities of Fitchburg and Leominster and surrounding communities in North Central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

“And it’s a perfect place to beat the winter blahs,” says Laura Howick, director of education at the museum, located at 185 Elm St.

The museum is happy to announce it will be offering a variety of creative classes for both youth and adults, from making clay animals to acrylic painting, to patterns in nature, yoga and much more.

“One of the benefits for children taking art classes at the museum is they also get to experience some of the art we have on display,” Laura says. “Often the instructors will take the students to see art that relates to their workshop, and even just walking to the studio classroom requires walking through some galleries.

“Adults will enjoy our large, studio classroom with north light, which is perfect for painting,” she adds.

Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 30, children ages 9-12 can learn the basics for cartooning in “Drawing Figures and Faces,” a six-week class held Wednesdays, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The fee is $70 for museum members, $90 for non-members.

During February School Vacation Week, children ages 5-12 can choose between morning and afternoon two-hour workshops Tuesday, Feb. 19, and Wednesday, Feb. 20.

On Tuesday, children ages 5-8 can enroll in “Clay Animals” in the morning and/or “Paint and Collage a Coral Reef” in the afternoon, while children ages 9-12 can take “Tangle Art” in the morning and/or “Acrylic Painting on Canvas” in the afternoon.

On Wednesday, children ages 5-8 can take “Patterns in Nature” in the morning and/or “Paint-a-Palooza” in the afternoon, while children ages 9-12 can take “Optical Illusions” in the morning and/or “Paint and Collage a Coral Reef” in the afternoon.

The fee for each workshop is $18 for museum members, $22 for non-members.

“Watercolor Painting for Adults” (and teens ages 15 and over) begins this afternoon, Sunday, Jan. 27. Artist and instructor Carolyn Todd will improve skills and boost confidence in beginners and those with some experience. The class meets for six Sundays (except Feb. 17), from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. The fee is $160 for museum members, $180 for non-members. Students must provide their own materials, but a list of supplies recommended by the instructor will be available.

“Yoga Class for Adults” begins Tuesday, Jan. 29. Classes are held from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Sign up for this seven-week yoga session is $63 for museum members, $77 for non-members. Drop-ins are $14 per class.

“People often tell us that just being in the museum, surrounded by different kinds of art, inspires creative thinking,” Laura says. “Many people love to visit with friends because they enjoy discussing the art together. The museum is large enough to provide a variety of types of art, so there’s something for everyone, but small enough to see it in one visit. We also have several galleries with hands-on activities for children and young-at-heart adults.”

Pre-registration is required for all classes except yoga drop-ins. To register, go to www.familyid.com/ fitchburgartmuseum or call the museum at 978-345-4207. A limited number of scholarships are available for youth and adults.

The museum will also host two new exhibits to brighten up your winter blues.

“Broad Strokes: American Painting of the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries from the FAM Collection” will be on display from Feb. 9 through Sept. 1, with an opening reception celebrated Saturday, Feb. 9, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Also opening Saturday, Feb. 9, is the exhibit “Fire and Light: Otto Piene in Groton, 1983-2014,” presenting the work of internationally renowned German artist Otto Piene (1928-2014), focusing on artworks created since the 1980s, when he moved to Groton. An opening reception will be held Saturday, Feb. 9, from 3 to 5 p.m., and the exhibit will run through June 2.

A groovy event called “A Night at the Museum: The Age of Aquarius” will be held Saturday, March 9, from 6 to 9 p.m., and will feature cool hors d’oeurves, far-out cocktails and mod music.

“Our theme this year is inspired by the spring exhibition ‘Fire and Light: Otto Piene in Groton, 1983-2014’ as well as the 50th anniversaries of the Apollo 11 moon landing and Woodstock,” says Rebecca Wright, director of development. “Fab attire is definitely encouraged.”

“A Night at the Museum” provides support for FAM’s education initiatives, exhibitions and special programs. All tickets are $50 and sponsorship opportunities are available.

For information on museum events, email events@fitchburgartmuseum.org or call the museum at 978-345-4207.

“Eleanor Norcross, our founder, who was an artist and a Fitchburg native, passionately believed that Fitchburg’s children should have the opportunity to see art from other cultures,” Laura says. “In the same spirit, the museum’s staff wants everyone to feel welcome in the museum.”

For more information, call 978-345-4207, ext. 305.

Got a column subject or item for Community Conversations? Email ccuddahy @sentinelandenterprise. Read her blog at blogs.sentinel andenterprise.com/ communityconversations.

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