Artists don’t need a permanent display at the Louvre or even an art degree to experience the thrill of creating a personal masterpiece. Art is for everyone and all it takes to create your own is a little bit of time and perhaps a push in the right direction.

“Most people will tell you right off that they are not artistic – they can’t draw. Art is more than a drawing or painting,” said Ines Burnham, program director for the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education. The center is a division of the College of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“Art can be a photograph, a picture, a room design, a color combination on a sign, dancing in your living room with your kids or singing to ‘Glee’ songs,” Burnham says. “People can get involved by taking classes and workshops or by donating to help support the arts for others to enjoy.”

The definition of art is as varied as the people who try to defined it, and some type of artistic discipline is accessible to each person. There are many places in and around Edmond, Oklahoma that help people discover a love for the arts.

Paint Your Art Out in downtown Edmond, Oklahoma offers those interested in dabbling in paint a chance to ease into the art form. Studio owners Renee Deakle and Kelly Garner provide the supplies and will even get aspiring painters started by sketching the subject for them. “We find people who have always wanted to paint and give them a starting place,” Deakle says. “We’ve had people leave the studio and say, ‘I never realized I could paint’.”

Guests can even bring hors d’oeuvres or a bottle of wine and enjoy the casual environment. “Just relax and have fun with it,” Deakle says. “We don’t off er structured art sessions or classes. If you learn something, it’s totally by accident. But people do learn things.”

Art is all around the Edmond metro. The House of Clay is another local haven, offering pottery classes in
NW Oklahoma City. Th e Edmond Fine Arts Institute provides classes and a summer camp for kids through
August 13. Th e Edmond Art Association is even hosting a spring indoor art show through June, held at the Edmond Public Library.

In addition to traditional art, the Oklahoma Center for Arts Education focuses on design, dance, theatre, and music. “Th e brain is a muscle. As you expand it by viewing or participating in art, you exercise the muscle and it grows and becomes stronger,” Burnham says. “Th e more we learn, the more we become.”

They offer workshops and conferences for educators, administrators, students, and the general public including private music lessons, campus visits and more than a dozen summer camps for ages 7 to 18.

“Art is important because it allows us to think outside the box and be creative. It prepares our students to be more independent thinkers,” Burnham says. “On the other side of the coin, it teaches students to work together as a team member – as in orchestra, band, choir, dance and theatre. Th ey may have a solo part that can make or break a piece, but they also represent the group as a collective voice. Both qualities are important as these students grow and become leaders in the 21st Century.”

So, you’ve finished your first creation, or ten – what now? “There are more businesses than people realize that would be willing to hang someone’s art in their establishment,” Deakle says. She says Edmond, Oklahoma restaurants and places like pilates classrooms are often eager to showcase beginner art. Commissioned pieces are another great way for learning artists to get their work out to the public.

“Take a chance and don’t be afraid. Most people have something inside of them that is artistic, but they just don’t see it as art. Art fosters creativity in all of us,” Burnham says.

UCO regularly hosts student gallery openings and showcases. The shows are an opportunity to appreciate unique creative output from up-and-comers. For more information on participating in these Edmond, Oklahoma events, call (405) 216-2586 or e-mail ocae@uco.edu.

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