Matt was recently interviewed for an article that was to appear in The News-Herald. It turns out that the article became a front page story in Saturday's paper. The article deals with adults and art and different groups in the area that offer different types of art classes. The City of Euclid has had some unfortunate occurances that have been reported in the news lately. We are extremely happy to have been included, along with Shore Cultural Centre (which is in Euclid) to be portrayed as a positive aspect in the community. I would like to give kudos to Tracey Read and Betsy Scott for bringing a bright, positive aspect to a community that in these times, needs it.
I have copied the article and attached a link to the original for anyone that would care to look at the pictures and video.
By Tracey Read and Betsy Scott
News-Herald Staff Writers
For years, John Peters of Mentor taught watercolor painting.
A recent illness robbed him of his desire to paint for a time, however.
In order to get enthused again, he signed up for a mixed media class with a former instructor, Dorothy "Dottie" Geisert, at Wildwood Cultural Center in Mentor.
"There's a lot of personal satisfaction when you have a good painting," he said.
From local community arts centers to the county metroparks, such opportunities abound for adults in this area, offering myriad avenues for creative expression as well as ways to soothe the soul, or even make some extra money.
Matt Orgovan, a 34-year-old Mentor resident, has noticed a trend in the arts as a career or hobby becoming more popular — especially among those ages 25 to 45.
Orgovan opened up CreativExpressions76 studio at Shore Cultural Centre in Euclid after losing his health benefits when his marketing director job at a Catholic high school was cut to part time.
He sells canvas art, hand-painted refrigerator magnets and keepsake boxes with a pop culture, rock 'n' roll influence.
His fiancee, Joanna, offers soap-making classes at the studio and makes her own mineral makeup and beauty/hygiene products.
"There seems to be a lot more art galleries popping up and stores that carry local products," Orgovan said.
"I think the economy has something to do with it. People are looking for other ways to support themselves."
Orgovan now has benefits with his new job at a publishing company, but is sticking with the studio as well.
"I have a journalism degree, but I've always been interested in painting and found I really loved it as a hobby," he said. "Three years later, I'm selling paintings at art shows."
Wildwood Cultural Center hosts varied arts shows from painted porcelain to basketry, along with its arts classes, including voice lessons and digital photography.
"We've been here for 30 years and we've got a very active Community Arts Commission, and we're always coming up with new cultural arts programs to offer both adults and youth," said Len Zito, the center's cultural affairs director. "I think Lake County is the hub for cultural arts and Mentor has quite a few activities we offer year-round."
In Chardon, efforts have been under way to create a community arts center offering dance, drama, film and more. The Geauga Lyric Theater Guild is working to raise funds to renovate a building on Water Street across from the theater for the center.
"Although we may not be on the original pace, things seem to be moving in the right direction," Guild President Greg Pribulsky said.
The Guild has a long history of offering ways for adults to participate in community theater, on stage and behind the scenes.
Recently, a stage management class was held for adults, and nontheater classes have expanded with the addition of a colored-pencil drawing class and digital photography.
A registered art therapist recently proposed a class called "vision collage," which would allow adults to express a goal through visual arts.
"With the fast-pace, high-stress lives in which we find ourselves today, involvement in the arts can provide a valuable break," Pribulsky said. "A class in the arts is a wonderful place to leave your worries at the door and immerse yourself in a creative process."
Area park district officials recognize that using art can help visitors make a special connection with the natural world — an important component of Geauga Park District's mission, Naturalist Services Director Diane Valen said.
She runs the Shutterbugs Camera Club, which began in 2006 as an offshoot of a hands-on public program offered to those interested in photography opportunities in the district. Monthly meetings involve about 45 photographers gathering for instructional sessions and friendly critiques.
"Geauga Park District is a strong promoter of both the visual and performing arts," Valen said.
Some examples include a recent community art exhibition featuring several hundred pieces created from recycled materials, hosting bimonthly gallery shows, offering a wide range of art workshops throughout the year — from making cards to ceramic tiles to jewelry — and monthly Tune Traders jam sessions that bring together musicians with varied skill and experience levels.
"Our arts programs highlight the natural world as a subject, source of inspiration and setting while encouraging a greater sensitivity, understanding, appreciation and caring for the world around us," Valen said.
Jeannie Fleming-Gifford, director of education at The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby, said visual arts classes continue to be popular despite the economy, especially in the winter and early spring.
To better accommodate busy adults with ever-increasing responsibilities, the association tries to make it as easy as possible for everyone to enjoy the arts — whether it be portrait painting or calligraphy.
"As possible, Fine Arts aligns adult programming with children's art programming, allowing adults and their children to participate in the arts at the same time," Fleming-Gifford said.
Maureen Jeffery, 33, of Mentor, has been taking ceramics for two years at Fine Arts.
"It's a lot of fun; the teacher's great," she said. "I always wanted to learn how to throw on the wheel. The process is very relaxing. I like to have that kind of creative outlet, even though I'm not very good at it."