Greenpoint’s Eckford Street Studio began offering art classes for adults earlier this year, and just months after their launch, the classes have been a roaring success with some teachers clamoring for more equipment to accommodate the interest of attendees.
The art class space was founded in the summer of 2013 by Kristin Melkin who worked as an arts and museum educator before opening her own space.
Melkin has lived and worked as an artist in the neighborhood since 1998. Once she had kids she decided she wanted bring more arts programming to the neighborhood.
“We all do things a little bit different in the neighborhood,” said Melkin, commenting on the arts programs. “We do just art and nothing else. We focus on the visual arts and we take big picture approach with teaching our students about the artistic process and how to think like an artist.”
The Studio opened in May 2013 with a focus on arts classes for kids aged six months to four years, and for 4-10 year olds, which included an afterschool arts program and a summer arts program among several other offerings.
Local parents were extremely supportive.
“Kristin is amazing,” said Sruthi Pinnamaneni, a Greenpoint parent who enrolled her at the time 2.5 year-old son in the Artslab program at Eckford Street Studios, when the space first opened. “She uses the most creative, soulful ways to draw the kids into whatever material or art style she’s introducing to them on that day. Whether its colored ice cubes to get them excited about watercolors or a book about shadows to get them in the mood for spay painting shapes, she always has something clever up her sleeve. Even for the parents in the room, her methods and explanations are entertaining. I think I got out of it at least as much as my son did.”
But a lot of parents wanted more – not just to sit-in on their children’s classes, but to take part in classes created just for them.
So Melkin went ahead and started a BYOB Model Drawing class. It was an instant success, and the summer has now seen an addition of several new classes such as an Acrylic Painting class, a Street Drawing class, a class focused on wet and dry watercolor methods, and one on book binding, the last class for which is taking place this Saturday, after which its teacher, Christine Garvey, will leave the country on a Fulbright Scholarship.
“As a Teaching-artist I aim to bring the type of questioning I do in my own work into my work as a teacher,” said Garvey. “When I create coursework, I frame art-making as a type of questioning – a way to explore our relationship to our surroundings. Teaching at this level is great, because every student brings their own curiosities and experiences to the conversation. The classroom becomes a place of exchange – one I benefit from as much as, I hope, they do.”
Book-Binding Workshop, September 12, 2-5 p.m., 70 Eckford Street, for a full list of classes available at the Eckford Street Studios visit http://www.eckfordstreetstudio.com/.