Art for Arts’ Sake in Milford

Art for Arts’ Sake in Milford

Feel creative but think you have no talent? Think again. There is no reason not to explore your creative side—just have fun! There are so many ways to dabble in the arts right here in Milford. You can learn from experienced artists, find your inner Picasso, and you never know, maybe create your own masterpiece.

The Milford arts scene is truly dynamic. Galleries abound and opportunities to enjoy viewing art are plentiful. This climate has fostered a slew of classes in many mediums you can delve into. No experience is necessary to immerse yourself in creativity, just a bit of zeal.

Play with Clay   

Ivan Tirado is a renowned sculptor with works in museums and private collections around the world. His sculpting class at Café Atlantique is fun for all abilities…or no abilities. If you enjoyed forming clay in art class in school, give it a go.

“I’ve been teaching sculpting for a while now. I began teaching children with disabilities several years ago and moved into teaching private lessons, then group lessons and sculpting parties,” says Tirado. “In the classes some people have some experience. Generally they don’t. Most people are just trying out something new just for fun.”

According to Tirado, “The clay helps [students] to understand the consistency of other modeling material; it is self hardening clay so people can take it home and not worry about firing it. People take the finish work home, wait until dry (3-5 days in most cases), and then they can apply a glaze and display it.”

“The best part of the class is the sense of accomplishment people get when they see the finished piece,” says Tirado. “It is also great for them to take a few hours and disconnect from everything else and relax. It is a great experience for me to teach these classes. It helps me grow as an artist, teacher, and researcher. I enjoy observing people at work and seeing them happy with the product.”

Classes are held at Café Atlantique, so the atmosphere is very social. Generally the classes have between 5 to 15 people.

Care to Dance?

You may never have danced in your life but the convivial atmosphere at a local Nia class will inspire you to whirl, move with the music, and soothe your soul. Instructor Nancy Hammett has been conducting Nia classes in Milford for years now and has quite a following.

Never heard of Nia? “It’s been around for about 30 years,” Hammett explains. “It’s a discipline that consists of nine different components. There are three dance elements: Modern, Jazz, and Duncan; three martial arts: Ikedo, Tae Kwondo, and Tai Chi; and three health components: Yoga, Alexander Tek, and Feldenkrais. Moves are designed to work in sequences, much the like martial arts. There are belt levels; it is one year of training per belt.”

The unique series of movements to music helps students with strength, flexibility, and agility. “What people like is the fact that it is low or no impact. It is a balance of form and freedom,” Hammet says. “People can express themselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It helps you find balance.”

According to Hammett, there are “60 routines with 52 different moves. The variety changes focus on different parts of the body. The Kata, or series of movements, focuses on the fascia—the membrane that covers the muscles—which is responsible for muscle memory,” she says.

For many students, Nia is habit forming. “If we have a class cancelled, students are keen to make it up,” says Hammett. “Nia gives them a release, a workout, and deep relaxation they truly enjoy.”

Strike a Pose

Barbara Borck-Hart teaches an oil painting class at the Milford Arts Center that consists of first time painters and trained artists. All students find photos that inspire them and keep copies near their easel, referring to them for color and scale.

Borck-Hart moves from painter to painter, examining, and discussing their work. Her students are enthusiastic and their paintings are as varied as their experience. Myrna Sokol, a long time painter, was excited to find the class being offered. “Barbara teaches us to paint with energy. It motivates us to challenge ourselves with more difficult work.”

Working on only the second oil painting she’s ever done, Tracy Purvis cites her enjoyment of the creative process. “I’m inspired by darker works, Andrew Wyeth in particular. It’s helpful to have Barbara give direction to achieve the final result.” Fellow student Rachel Magun studied painting in college and has been around the art scene for years. “I’m inspired by Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso,” she says. She particularly is drawn to “Layering the paint to create an impression.”

Never having painted before, Barb Pico has thrown herself into the experience. “I’ve always wanted to try it,” she says. Her subject for her first painting was familiar, her cat Lucy. Her teacher was inspiring: “It was a fun painting for her, and it looked great.”

During warmer weather the class takes their easels outside the doors of the MAC or down to Milford Landing. The difference in natural light and shadows is something the whole class looks forward to. Once their paintings are complete, they are exhibited at the MAC.

Remember, enjoying the arts isn’t just for the classically trained. Art, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. So enjoy the fun and create your masterpiece.


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