Visual Arts Center to offer free classes

Dale Lavine
Contributing Writer

The Visual Arts Center has acted as a staple in the Richmond art scene, but now Short Courses, introduction and beginner art classes, are being offered for free to VCU students through the center.

The Visual Arts Center was founded by Elisabeth Scott Bocock in 1963 as a place for artists to teach local children how to create. Since then, the Visual Arts Center has continued to raise community morale and wellness through offering affordable classes and programs to children and adults alike.

Visual Arts Center employee Julia Janeczek said, “It used to be called ‘The Hand Workshop,’ (and) it used to be a dairy. … People are always welcome to come in and walk around and peek in any of the studios.”    

VCU and the Visual Arts Center will offer two more classes this semester, including an introduction to drawing class on Feb. 19 and a beginner clay class on March 26.  The classes are sponsored through VCU’s University Student Commons and Activities and the Division of Student Affairs.

On Tuesday, the Visual Arts Center offered a free class to VCU students with Shrinky Dinks, the popular ’80s toy. A Shrinky Dink kit included flexible sheets of plastic. These sheets of plastic can be cut, colored and baked in an oven, to shrink the sheets down to smaller sizes without altering color and basic shape.

For children, Shrinky Dinks were used to create things like ornaments and figures to play with. As adults, some people have started to use Shrinky Dinks for jewelry.

On Tuesday, attendees to the workshop were given a quick but thorough rundown as to what Shrinky Dinks were, how they worked and then given Shrinky Dink paper, pens and scissors.

Those in attendance were quick to trace intricate designs from books, looking to create pieces for necklaces or charm bracelets, either for themselves or for others. After the designs were drawn and colored, they were then popped into a small toaster oven for about 30 seconds where they shrank to less that half of their original size.

I didn’t realize ‘Shrinky Dinks’ actually meant they were going to shrink, I thought it was just a name,” said Robert Jones, a freshman music major.

Even though few people attended the Shrinky Dink workshop, the Visual Arts Center will continue to offer the next two classes over the semester, both of which are free to any student with a valid VCU ID.


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