Up the Icefall
by Leslie Vreeland
Dec 26, 2011 | 1378 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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WEEHAWKEN ART – A woodcut from Weehawken instructor Jennifer Ghormley. (Courtesy photo)
When Weehawken Creative Arts was founded in 2004, the organization prided itself on not owning or occupying a single building, the theory being that this would allow it to focus solely on developing its programs. Eight years on, the organization has pushed boundaries both literal and figurative; not only has it outgrown several of its spaces (last fall, it opened new facilities in Ouray and Ridgway), but it continues to stretch how it defines, and redefines, the arts. This season’s offerings could be Weehawken’s most creative yet.

“We’ve got a lot that’s new,” says programming director Stephanie Wallin. “New instructors, new courses,” and, again, new places to hold them in.

For the first time, one of those places will be the great outdoors, as Weehawken teams this January and February with San Juan Mountain Guides of Ouray to offer day-long introductory courses in backcountry ski touring on Red Mountain Pass, and half-day ice climbing classes at the Ouray Ice Park. “This is a great opportunity for locals to get a taste of these activities at a fraction of what they typically cost,” Wallin points out. Not only does a professional guide come with the course, so does the often-costly gear. “All you need is to wear winter clothes,” Wallin says. “We supply the rest.”

For those more inclined towards less-frigid aerobics, there are new programs in gymnastics and tumbling at the Hypoxia gym in Ouray; the gym provides instructors, mats, vaults, balance beams and bars. The goal is to supplement dance instruction (for which Weehawken is perhaps most well-known), with tumbling moves and floor exercises, “so kids can incorporate the tumbling component into their dancing.,” Wallin says.

There’ll also be new courses in fused-glass jewelry from familiar teachers (in this case, fused-glass artist John Clark), as well as exotica like Encaustics 101 (painting with hot wax) and Ekphrastic poetry and prose-writing (Ekphrastic writing is writing about painting, sculpture and other visual arts) from instructors new to Weehawken, such as award-winning poet Kiersten Bridger. For those who seek hands-on learning that is a little more practical, Weehawken has inaugurated a woodworking program. Skills on offer will not only include using the handsaw, drill, clamps, and file, there will also be a course on how to cut the beautiful and practical dovetail joint with just a handsaw and a chisel. And, for the first time, Weehawken will hold an introductory sculpture class. It will be taught by Michael McCullough, who is known for his monumental bronzes, including his life-sized, rotating bronze of freestyle skier Hoot Brown installed at the Telluride Ski Resort. The course will be held in a singular setting: the instructor’s sculpture studio inside the Old Firehouse in Ridgway. Also new this season: a clay and pottery studio, soon to open in downtown Ridgway on North Cora Street. “We’ll be offering several hand building and wheel throwing courses, but we also hope to open the studio during certain evenings, so you can come in with a friend and a bottle of wine and just create,” Wallin says.

Special spaces for special projects: that’s Weehawken this spring.

For more information on Weehawken classes and events, call 970/318-0150 or visit weehawkenarts.org.
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