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Area Voices: Jill Oakes & art education opportunities at Watermark Art Center

Jill Oakes

In addition to its multiple gallery spaces exhibiting artwork created in locales ranging from across town to across the globe, the Watermark Art Center is home to an educational space that hosts learning opportunties for artists of all ages on a regular basis.  Beadwork pouches, jewelry, paper marbeling, christmas ornament creating and paper sculptures are just a few classes offered during the past year. Every Second Saturday, arts opportunities for children are scheduled and each month a Family Create event is organized as well.  In addition to those opportunities, special arts education events happen regularly.   Jill Oakes is the Art Education Program Director at the Watermark Art Center.  She stopped by the KBXE studio to chat about her work, upcoming opportunities for folks who have a hankering to create something, and she shared exciting news about the education space becoming yet another gallery within the Watermark!  

February offers three unique learning and creating options for people... 

We have a Valentine's workshop for kids for our second Saturday kids art that Saturday, February 8th from 1 to 3 p.m. and they'll make a variety of things for their special someone...February 22nd, we have a Family Create class and we're making knotted fleece wreaths...and then we're also collaborating with Sanford for Heart Month. The class is called Art in Heart and we're doing mosaic hearts...that's an evening event from 5 to 8 p.m. on February 26th or 27th...there will be appetizers and health tips from Sanford Health and the participants will receive a voucher for a free heart screening. - Jill Oakes

An arts educator for decades, Jill also shared how she sees arts classes affecting students of varying ages...

I've always loved to see that sort of pure, innocent, uninhibited passion that kids have for art. I notice when they get a little bit older, it changes a little bit because they care more about if people like it or what other people think. But the young kids, they just embrace it. And it's empowering for them to create something and to to be able to express themselves in that way.  

Adults have different reasons for making art. Some are the same as and some different than kids. People just want to make something that isn't mass produced. I think people enjoy going through the process of it...even if it's not something wildly, you know, creative or a masterpiece, I think they just like the idea of that. They made it themselves.

I notice a lot of the people that come to my adult classes, they come to connect with other people, you know, make new friends and they  just like the enjoyment or satisfaction from creating something. - Jill Oakes

For a listing of upcoming classes or to connect with Jill, check out the Watermark website

Make sure to stop in and check out the "kid art" on exhibit in the education room when you visit the Watermark next time, as well! 

...we have a new gallery and it's in the education studio...we were able to raise money to have a hanging system put in. Ace Hardware, donated some awesome blue paint to brighten things up in there, and then each month we will rotate art that showcases the work of kids. So it's another way to empower our kid artists! - Jill Oakes

Katie Carter started at Northern Community Radio in 2008 as Managing Editor of the station's grant-funded, online news experiment Northern Community Internet. Since 2016, she's produced Area Voices showcasing the arts, culture, and history stories of northern Minnesota. She's our local host of NPR's All Things Considered and CBC's As It Happens every weekday from 4-7pm.