homepage logo

BIG ARTS offers wide range of workshops, classes this fall

By Staff | Sep 3, 2010

BIG ARTS instructor Jennifer Valiquette works with 10-year-old Caroline Tesoro at the piano. Valiquette will be giving private piano, saxophone and flute lessons throughout the BIG ARTS season. Other classes and workshops will include both youth and adult dance, pottery, fused glass, painting, writing, collage, basket and jewelry making, discussion groups and much more.

Whether you’ve always dreamed of becoming a master watercolorist or you simply want to learn a few basic brushstrokes, BIG ARTS has something for all your various aspirations and interests.

The BIG ARTS 2010-11 workshop seasons officially begins on Tuesday, Sept. 7, with “Pottery on the Wheel” with instructor Kelly Williamson.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a mere novice in the world of working with clay, Pottery on the Wheel will give students of all experience levels a new understanding of the medium as they participate in an in-depth, hands-on experience, learning techniques in throwing, trimming, altering forms and working off the hump.

“The first day of class I show everybody around the studio and explain all the equipment and do demonstrations on the wheel to get them started,” Williamson said. “Then the students get on the wheel and practice the basics of centering and pulling the clay. We’ll also do some hand building and I’ll teach different techniques and the basics of pottery.”

Demonstrations will include forming cups, bowls, vases, tea pots, covered jars and more.

Students watch as instructor Kelly Williamson demonstrates pottery on the wheel. From left to right are Pam Rutherford, Haley Keller (seated), Casey Wexler and Lynn Voslo.

If you’re not artistically-inclined, Williamson says not to worry — her class is for everyone.

“I encourage my students not to get frustrated because learning how to use the wheel takes time and practice. It’s a really relaxed environment. All the people that sign up are nice and we have a lot of fun sharing ideas and learning from each other, throwing pots and getting dirty!” Williamson said.

Pottery on the Wheel will take place every Tuesday, Sept. 7 through Oct. 5, 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the BIG ARTS Center. The cost is $73 for members, $92 for non-members.

In addition to Pottery on the Wheel, Youth Dance with Kathleen More will begin Tuesday, Sept. 14 and Clay Expressions with Gail Jones begins Sept. 27.

As children explore the world of dance throughout the 14-week Youth Dance session, they will gain knowledge in basic movement, technique and terminology, in addition to the added benefits of acquiring more poise, grace and discipline — all while having fun! Youth Dance will take place every Tuesday, Sept. 14 through Dec. 14.

Instructor Kathleen More leads her BIG ARTS ballet class for kindergarteners and first and second graders. More will be teaching three dance classes for three age groups in September and also in January.

• Preschool Basic Ballet & Tap (ages three and four), 3:30 to 4:15 p.m., cost is $156.

• Beginning Ballet & Jazzy Hip Hop (kindergarten through second grade), 2:40 to 3:25 p.m., cost is $156.

• Hip Hop & Ballet (grades third through fifth), 4:20 to 5:15 p.m., cost is $170.

During Clay Expressions, Jones will introduce students to all the basic concepts of working with clay, including hand building, wheel throwing and using high temperature stoneware glazes. All experience levels are welcome.

Clay Expressions will take place every Monday, Sept. 27 through Nov. 1, 1 to 4 p.m. at the BIG ARTS Center. The cost is $106 for members, $132 for non-members.

“Tidal Pool,” a crystalline glazed porcelain vase created by Clay Expressions workshop instructor Gail Jones.

Sign-ups for autumn voice and musical instrument lessons for both adults and children are also starting now.

Jennifer Valiquette, who has been playing music since she was a very young girl, has been giving private lessons for almost 15 years.

“It’s very rewarding to watch the students progress and a couple of my students have made first chair in their school band,” Valiquette said. “They get really excited about it and I really enjoy watching them get excited about music. It’s hard because a lot of schools are cutting funding for music and that’s why private lessons are really great. Even though the schools are cutting funding for it, there are still opportunities for students to get music training. If it weren’t for private lessons, I know I wouldn’t be as good at the saxophone as I am now.”

Valiquette will hold piano, saxophone and flute lessons throughout the course of the BIG ARTS workshop season. Lessons cost $20 and are based upon availability.

Beginning in October, Steven Cramer, who leads the BIG ARTS Community Chorus, will also teach piano and give voice lessons throughout the season for adult students.

To sign up for instrument and voice lessons with Valiquette and Cramer, call BIG ARTS, 395-0900.

Class descriptions and a full workshop schedule are available www.BIGARTS.org or by contacting the main BIG ARTS office at 395-0900.

For further information about workshops, classes and events at BIG ARTS, to sign up for workshops, or to become a member, stop by BIG ARTS, 900 Dunlop Road on Sanibel, e-mail info@BIGARTS.org, or log on to www.BIGARTS.org.


• Pottery on the Wheel with Kelly Williamson

• Youth Dance with Kathleen More

• Clay Expressions with Gail Jones


• Glass Fusing with Petra Kaiser

• Life Drawing with Carol Rosenberg

• Voice Lessons with Steve Cramer

• Paint with Friends with Jane Hudson

• Adventures in Watercolors & Mixed Media with Carolyn Councell

• BIG ARTS Community Chorus with Steve Cramer


• How to Write Your Memoirs with Norma Hagen

• Pottery on the Wheel with Kelly Williamson

• Life Drawing with Carol Rosenberg

• Clay Expressions with Gail Jones

• Spanish I, II and III with Barbara Peterson

• Adult Tap with Bobby Logue

• Adult Jazz & Hip Hop with Bobby Logue

• Pilates Mat Class with Marsha Wagner

• Clay, Sculpting, Ceramics & Pottery on the Wheel with Marjorie Bronsted

• Glass Fusing with Petra Kaiser

• Great Books Discussion with Visnja Gembicki and Maddy Mayor

• Great Books Discussion with Richard Paulson

• Women Discussing with Shareen Groce and Renee Sugar

• Layering of Transparent Watercolor with Patricia Kane

• Intermediate Tap with Bobby Logue

• Outdoor Drawing with Julie Olander

• Nantucket Baskets with Brandy Llewellyn

• Adobe Photoshop Elements for Beginners with Denny Souers

• Hand Papermaking with Island Flowers with Lynn Russell


• Life Drawing with Carol Rosenberg

• Papier-mache Sculpture with Jerry Churchill

• Pilates Mat Class with Marsha Wagner

• Great Books Discussion with Albert Hann

BIG ARTS in 2011

Beginning in January, BIG ARTS will offer a brand new addition to their already extensive list of programs, workshops and events. The Winter Academy workshops will feature professors lecturing on topics about art history, economics, music and art appreciation, religion, and international law. The first Winter Academy session will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 5 and Friday, Jan. 7 with Professor Larry Davidson lecturing about “Macroeconomic Basics.”

Workshops and classes in 2011 will include jewelry and metalsmithing, Nantucket baskets, glass fusing, painting, Spanish classes, folk art doll crafting, pastels, life drawing, papermaking, photography, “iPhone Boot Camp,” Pilates, adult and youth dance, pottery and much more.

Go to www.BIGARTS.org to see all the educational and artistic workshop and class opportunities available next year at BIG ARTS.