The Appalachian Arts Alliance has begun fall classes for their Hazard Arts Academy, something Director Jake East said has been a goal of theirs since the non-profit began and is something the community needs.
“The arts are powerful for the community and arts education is not just about making pretty things, it’s about embracing creativity, its about really empowering people who want to do other things,” East said.
East said arts education classes have long been a goal of the Appalachian Arts Alliance.
With the start of a new season, the Hazard Arts Academy is offering a new round of classes.
“Appalachian Arts Alliance was incorporated in 2013, so almost seven years now, with the idea of having a downtown arts center but also to supplement the schools in the area in their ability to provide arts programing and education,” East said..
He added that, each year, more arts programs are cut from the budget in schools across the state and the Appalachian Arts Alliance hopes to offer opportunities that may not be available in the school systems.
“We’re a non-profit community organization formed to provide those opportunities that are being taken out of the schools to the community,” East said. “So thats why we have arts classes, dance classes and piano classes to supplement whats goin on in the schools.
“We have two dance classes, we have piano and we have art at the beginner level and advanced level.”
Local artist Jenn Noble is leading the arts classes. The first beginner’s art course was offered Sept. 3 and focused on painting.
“We’re doing whats called a demonstrative painting,” she said. “I go through the steps and process from beginning to end and, along the way, I show them the different techniques they can use that they can take home and paint at home.”
Noble will also be leading the advanced arts classes.
“In the other class, instead of doing step by stem there will be more of a general idea and they will have more freedom,” said Noble. She added that opportunities such as this often help push artists to do more.
“I think sometimes artists need just a little push or the space to create something instead of just being at home,” she said.
The courses being offered include beginner’s ballet and contemporary dance with Stephanie McNeill, beginner’s jazz, tap, and ballet dancing with Ginger Combs, piano with Kay Crowe as well as beginner’s and advanced art with Noble.
East said that, once the Appalachian Arts Alliance is able to move into the building they are renovating in downtown Hazard, the organization will be able to expand upon these classes. He added that Appalachian Arts Alliance has a large online presence with lots of information available.
“People can always go to our website and social media for information and, if you’re interested in our classes, you just go to the what we do tab and Hazard Arts Academy,” said East.