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Thursday June 1st

Learn how to paint a self-portrait at the Morrison Art Studio

On Feb. 20, the Morrison Art Studio is hosting a master class on how to paint a self portrait. Photo courtesy of Crystal Wu.
Buy Photos On Feb. 20, the Morrison Art Studio is hosting a master class on how to paint a self portrait. Photo courtesy of Crystal Wu.

Learning a new skill can be intimidating, but Arts Everywhere hopes to create a comfortable atmosphere for students to explore their creative side.

Morrison Art Studio is hosting its first master class on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. The event is put on through Arts Everywhere, an initiative working to embed the arts into daily campus life.

The class is focusing on painting and drawing anatomy, specifically self portraits, and is open for anyone to attend, no matter their experience level. 

The master class was planned based on feedback that the art studio received, requesting more instructional programs for the community. 

Meghan McGuire, a student coordinator at the Morrison Art Studio, said the event is aimed at helping people find their own passion for art.

“A lot of people often feel intimidated because they claim they're not artistic and that art is just not their thing,” McGuire said. “We wanted to teach individuals that art doesn't have to be something that you're good at or not good at, but it's a skill that you can build on.” 

Crystal Wu, marketing and development communications manager at Morrison Art Studio, said that the event is about more than just developing skills, but doing so in a diverse environment alongside people who are also learning something new.

“Part of Arts Everywhere is to help make the arts more accessible to everyone on campus, not just for the studio art majors or people majoring in the arts, but for anyone who might have a little interest in the arts,” Wu said.

When seeking out artists to teach these instructional courses, student coordinator Madison Logan noticed some portraits left to dry at the studio. She said she was particularly drawn to these pieces, so when she finally encountered the artist working on one, she jumped at the opportunity to ask her if she would be willing to teach a course.

This artist, first-year Gabrielle Walton, had never formally taught an art course before, but is used to people asking her for guidance in their artistic endeavors. Walton worked at a YMCA counselor program and babysat throughout high school, and it was through these activities that she was most frequently requested impromptu art lessons.

Her philosophy is that while she’s always glad to give instruction, she doesn’t want her students to imitate her necessarily — she wants them to add their own unique touch to what they’re trying to create. 

“I think the technical aspects are important, but in terms of your own creativity, something I always emphasize with the kids I work with, or even with my friends that I work with is, ‘Okay, what do you want me to show you? I'm not gonna tell you how to be me,’” Walton said. 

For Walton, opportunities like this master class are perfect for people on a college campus, especially one she sees as placing a heavy focus on academic performance and competitive grades. 

“(UNC is) often about an outside gaze, and wanting to be accepted, whether it's self acceptance or acceptance from others,” Walton said. “And (at the studio), I think somebody can just create that acceptance regardless of other people, and I want to be able to help people be able to do that. I want people to feel like they don't always have to live up to somebody else's expectations.”

It’s opportunities like a free master class on campus that Walton finds to be some of the best ways to create this self-acceptance. For her, it's a way to share her own perspectives outside of a controlled academic environment, while simultaneously exploring her own interest in art. 

“I think painting allows you to explore yourself and how you perceive the world,” Walton said. “How you perceive yourself and your feelings in a way that's completely subjective, which I feel like isn't allowed in a lot of other disciplines. It's just completely up to you.”


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