Showing posts with label Capitol Arts Network. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Capitol Arts Network. Show all posts

25 February 2014

The Academy Program: What if You Never Had to Take an Art Class Again?

The Academy Program (at Glen Kessler Studio) begins in April 2014, in Rockville, Maryland and is currently enrolling students. It offers a structured, comprehensive curriculum to fine artists who are looking to advance their skill from the fundamentals to mastery level over three years, with weekly meetings. The program aims to provide a guided and unified studio art experience, foundation in art history and theory, as well as professional experience for artists, who might otherwise be trying to attain these goals by taking classes at different institutions without an organized curriculum at hand.

"By its conclusion students will have a profound mastery of painting techniques, a knowledge of anatomy, perspective, art history and art theory, and have developed a thesis body of work that can catapult them to a professional career in the arts," says program founder Glen Kessler, a classically trained professional artist with teaching experience and an understanding of contemporary methods.

Classes will be held in Kessler's studio at Capitol Arts Network (12276 Wilkins Ave, Rockville, MD 20852), a nonprofit arts center offering artist residencies and art classes. 

1. How many students and instructors can participate?

Each section has between 4-6 students.  It's important that that number stay low, so each student can receive nearly individual attention throughout the course.

I will hire as many instructors as we need to satisfy demand for classes. The first round of instructors I am in the process of hiring are some of the finest painters and teachers in this area. Each possesses the unique combination of master-level technical skill and an appreciation of how to use that skill in the service of contemporarily relevant artwork.

In addition to myself, classically trained at the New York Academy of Art but passionately interested in modern art (see my work at, I can tell you about one other instructor who has been hired to start later this year, Marjorie Forgues. Marjorie has studied and worked alongside some of the greatest technical artists of our era: Robert Liberace, Nelson Shanks, Ray Kaskey. I am very pleased to have her on board (see her work at
2. Is it a fine arts program? Is there a specific style, in which the students will be taught?

It is primarily an oil painting program, and realism is our focus, at least at the beginning. The course builds from the basics of rendering, through historical painting methods, to anatomy and perspective, literal and metaphorical storytelling, and finally, to a thesis body of work. 

We cover art history and art theory as well, so that students will have a firm understanding of where they come from, and where they are now in the grand history of art-making.

In the end, students are free to paint however and whatever they like, but with the great resources of knowledge and confidence that this course endows them.

3. How does it compare with an accredited program?

This program does not purport to offer a degree or any sort of certification. It is about the accumulation of knowledge. The Academy Program is a natural evolution of my observations about teaching adults in this area.

This idea arose from the observation that most of the open-enrollment painting students I have seen cobble together lessons in a random, piecemeal fashion over years (and years) of study with a number of instructors, in a number of different classes, and with varying levels of satisfaction. Progress can be slow, since most simply repeat the same success and failures over and over again.

Wouldn't it be nice to have someone arrange all the necessary information into a single curriculum with no holes and no overlapping? Everything building from square one up to master level? 

Comprehensive and efficient. That's The Academy Program.

4. What is the scope of the connection with Capitol Arts Network?

The course will take place in a large studio I have rented at the Capitol Arts Network (CAN) building at 12276 Wilkins Avenue, in the Twinbrook area, in Rockville, MD. It is not a CAN-run event, but rather a product of the Glen Kessler Studio, whose operations run out of CAN. Enrollment is through Glen Kessler Studio, at and

5. According to you, what is the most important skill an artist needs to learn?

There is no single most important skill an artist must know. Artists must possess a mastery of craftsmanship (in whatever mode they work), deep concepts of relevance to the world, and a personal connection to their work and process, or else it will be unsustainable over a lifetime. 

In addition, artists must appreciate that they are not just the manufacturing arm of their operation, but also the CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO, PR department, and sales force of their own personal company. An inability to learn how to handle the business side of being an artist can be just as challenging to an artist's success as having poor craft or weak concepts. 

In The Academy Program, students will be challenged to master ALL aspects of what it is to be an artist. We will visit galleries, they will be encouraged to apply for shows, learn how to develop a professional portfolio, and even how to organize the information they know into a teaching curriculum of their own. These are all things I have had to pick up in dribs and drabs over 20+ years as an artist. I aim to help my Academy students possess them in just three.

6. How is the curriculum organized? Is the history and theory component tied into the studio component? (Will the instructors in these fields be studio artists or primarily historians? Will they be lecturing or somehow incorporating an idea into a studio lesson? Is there homework? How many hours can students expect to devote to the program on a weekly basis, both in and out of class? Will they be exposed only to a western art tradition or also other traditions?)

The art history and theory elements are indeed woven into the the studio practice. The instructors are studio artists, although they understand art history well and will present it in usable terms for the students: from a perspective of how artistic movements are created and the elements that define those movements arise. This is not about memorizing dates or what museum holds what painting. Some art historical periods will be examined more closely through working in that period's method (Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classicism). 

Weekday, daytime classes may even get the privilege of painting inside the National Gallery of Art, copying a master work directly from the original (I was a copyist for years and consider this one of the best ways to truly understand an artist's methods and life). 

In addition to the 3-4 hours in class each week, students are expected to work an additional 6-10 hours per week practicing and embellishing the week's lesson (more time is not a bad thing either). 

16 June 2013

Anne Cherubim: CAN Resident Artist

"Excitable Cells," (left) and Cherubim's CAN studio space, featuring her work (right)

As the Capitol Arts Network (CAN) gears up for its "Abstraction at its Best" show, opening Aug. 2 and running through Aug. 26 at its new Rockville, MD location, abstract resident artist Anne Cherubim discusses the organization and her recent work, the "Ethereal Series." 

1. What is CAN?

Without speaking for CAN directly, my take is that it is an arts-based nonprofit, offering artists studio space to work, teach classes, come together, inspire - a space for networking opportunities and gallery shows, and of course, a space to include and inspire community. There are 31 resident artists (myself included), working in a variety of media, as well as teaching classes and workshops. Some of the artistic media we work in include painting, sculpture, woodworking, and glass, among many others.

2. How did you become involved with this network of artists?

It’s a bit hazy to me now, but there was a Montgomery County artists survey, which I remember filling out. It basically addressed artists’ needs and surveyed what criteria local artists were looking for in a working space. As you know, we do not have an organized space like this locally, where artists can work, offer classes, attend arts business lectures/seminars and network.

Essentially, CAN and the Washington School of Photography (WSP) came together to fill a void we had here in Montgomery County. This type of dynamic space is what was missing in the area.

As a working artist, who happens to be a mom of young children, I have sometimes passed up great work opportunities because of the issues of transport and rent, while I’ve been trying to stay closer to home. Another issue has been ridiculously high rent, when everyone knows the average artist cannot afford to pay exorbitant studio rent on top of home mortgage/rent. CAN came closest to having reasonable rental fees.

When CAN and WSP came together, I submitted an application and was juried in as a CAN resident artist.

3. What do you hope to accomplish during your residency? Are there any requirements that you must meet as part of your commitment?

My aim is to work large-scale, which is something I was not able to do in my workspace at home, but also I just want to be able to work in a dedicated space, not having to worry about setting up, searching for or putting away art supplies, which takes up time, leaving much less time to put toward the actually work of painting.

My aim is to finish up the last few paintings of the "Ethereal Series" and then embark on the next few series I have in mind. While I’ve had time/space constraints until now, my imagination had no such constraints. I aim to catch up to the next few series I have started painting in my head.
Again, without speaking for CAN directly, my take is that there are no constraining requirements imposed on us at CAN, and we have flexibility in our hours, with 24-hour access to our studios. Having said that, I think we all recognize that some semblance of regular hours is beneficial for people coming to find us or visit our studios to see new work.

I cannot think of any working requirements other than common sense stuff any organization would have in place. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it?

4. How long is the residency? Do you have your own or a shared studio space? When can people visit you at work?

The initial residency is for one year, with the option to renew at the end of the year. It is my own space, not shared. While it is a tiny space for the time being, hopefully I can move to a larger space if all goes well.
People can visit me between the hours of 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (while the kids are in school), and I am hoping to add weekend hours as well. CAN is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturdays for events and gallery shows.

5. What does your recent work look like. Pick one piece and discuss it in detail (concept and process).

My recent work is essentially the tail-end of the "Ethereal Series."

These paintings are an extension of the series that came before: "Luminosity," a study of light, particularly at night, and the ways in which it changes the appearance of things.

That work inevitably evolved into what is now a more abstracted study of light. Like most of my paintings, these pieces are built up in layers, much in the way that memory is layered with perception, emotion, time, experience.

While "Luminosity" consisted of contemporary landscapes based in realism, mostly without a vanishing point, the "Ethereal" paintings are largely rooted in a sense of place and emotion. While painted onto a 2-dimensional plane, the layers lend a feeling of depth beyond the surface. Like most of my work, these paintings continue over the edges of the canvas, free from the confines of a frame. 

My paintings can be seen as calm and quiet, allowing the viewers’ eyes to rest and be drawn in, while at the same time, energy emanates from the smallest to the largest of them. They are still and moving, all at once — a contradiction.

The image included here is of the painting, "Excitable Cells" (20x20 inches, acrylic on canvas).

I had been thinking a lot about memory and layers, the ways in which one memory leads to another, like little sparks. These memories are just beneath the surface, waiting to be remembered.

I also used metallic paint in this piece, so the image changes depending on how the light hits it, revealing more dimension to the painting, which shifts as you move around the room.

I generally just start a painting with an image of color or a color combination in mind, and I was drawn to this combination of purple and gold. The more the painting took shape, the more I started to see in it what reminded me of images of synapses and dendrites from biology class. It seemed so fitting in dealing with memory and layers.