The Art Inventory

Classes Bring Fremonsters To ‘The Artist’s Way’

by Kirby Lindsay, posted 9 May 2012


'The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron - the book is the basis for classes being taught at Present Sense this spring

Starting Friday, May 11th and Monday, May 14th, a series of classes are being offered at the Present Sense studio on The Artist’s Way,’ a book by Julia Cameron.  The Seattle Artist’s Way Center offers these classes for anyone who wants to explore the creativity within, including you.  “Julia is trying to get people in touch with what inspires them,” explained Kate Gavigan, one of the instructors.

The 12-week course follows the 12 chapters of the internationally bestselling book by Cameron; a book most adults already have on their shelves and always mean to look at ‘someday…’  Maybe someday starts now.

Find The Artist Within

“Whether they take it with us,” Gavigan said of delving into ‘The Artist’s Way,’ “or on their own, there is something powerful about it.”  The book encourages an examination of those things we let get in the way of our innate creativity.  “It’s about identity,” explained Cyndi Brown, co-instructor for the Friday classes, “taking a look at who they are, and who they want to be.”

Instructors Cyndi Brown and Kate Gavigan comparing notes on 'The Artist's Way' for their upcoming classes Photo by K. Lindsay, May '12

“It breaks down those rules of what is creative, and what is not,” Brown observed.  Ask a group of 1st graders who is an artist and, most likely, every one of them will raise their hand.  Yet, most adults swear ‘I’m not an artist.’  That belief “is the biggest hindrance,” to creativity, noted Gavigan, an instructor in ‘The Artist’s Way’ since 2008.  “Creativity is approaching things with imagination, and new ways of thinking,” she said, and methods for being creative in daily thought and action can be developed and practiced in the weekly classes.

“I think so broadly about art,” Gavigan admitted, “it’s not just for writers, painters and actors.”  Being creative can be as much about, “allowing yourself to fail.”  By attempting, and potentially failing, we learn more about ourselves, our passions and our talents.  “The end isn’t necessarily this perfect product,” Brown explained, but rather “it’s in the process.”  Being creative isn’t about making a beautiful piece of art; it is about creating.

Go Beyond The Book

The classes follow ‘The Artist’s Way,’ but Gavigan and Brown also lead participants through exercises and activities that help apply the book’s lessons, to draw out their creativity.  The activities, which Gavigan said she often selects based on the students who attend, also bring a printed book into physical practice, practical application and group discussion.  The classes follow the book, but also the dynamics and immediacy of creativity in action.  “We’re doing something different every time,” Brown clarified.

Present Sense studio, at 42nd & Woodland Avenue North, will be used for the upcoming classes on 'The Artist's Way' Photo by K. Lindsay, May '12

Students also have homework, although working with adults who have lives outside class, neither Brown nor Gavigan expect perfect execution.  “To the degree you can do it,” Gavigan observed of the exercises, “you will see things changing.  People will have an experience whether they do them, or not.”  Also, since life does happen during a 12-week course, the instructors can provide detailed notes if a student absolutely cannot attend a class.

“As people start to listen to themselves,” Gavigan observed, “they see synchronicity happening.  Doors often start opening.”  Both Brown and Gavigan admit that the class won’t always take students where they thought they wanted to go, but they have had a profound impact on the lives of those who attended – both professionally and/or personally.  “I think anyone that will do it, it will change their life – in a small way or a big way,” Brown said, particularly “if they are stuck.”

The 12-week series costs $375, and registration will stay open right up to the first class.  The classes will be taught at the new Present Sense studio (at 4131 Woodland Park Ave N) this spring, and the Seattle Artist’s Way Center will most likely offer another series this fall.

For those who have always wanted to delve into ‘The Artist’s Way,’ but never find the time on their own – or for those simply looking for a way to revisit the artist inside (and there is one!) – consider signing up.  “Everybody’s kid comes out,” Brown observed about the classes, and no time is better for letting your inner kid out to play!

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©2012 Kirby Lindsay.  This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws.  Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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