EKU boasts its fair share of art classes. From painting to pottery, EKU students are able to register for classes that peak their interest. Richmond’s community, however, does not have the same ability to sign up for EKU’s student art classes.
BE SMART, created by Ilona Szekely asistant professor in Art and Design, aims to bridge the distance between Richmond’s community and EKU’s art department.
“We think this is a wonderful way to reach out to the community,” Szekely said.
BE SMART art classes will be in the Cambell Building every Saturday, Szekely said. Most classes are taught by EKU professors.
“It’s important for us to utilize the skills that our professors have,” Szekely said.
Szekely also oversees a class taught by art education students.
“This allows art education students to have hours with actual students,” Szekely said.
There is at least one class each Saturday. Though some days have multiple classes for participants to choose from.
“The classes we have are more like workshops,” Szekely said.
Classes range from working with photoshop to enameling and creating jewelry.
“They’re fun introductory courses for anyone who wants to learn a new skill or talent,” said Shannon McCarthy, assistant professor in Art and Design.
McCarthy herself teaches a BE SMART class in photoshop and gif animations.
“So many people in our community are interested in making their own flyers and posters that a photoshop class fit right in,” McCarthy said.
Once BE SMART knows which workshops are popular, they can then expand on those classes and possibly do increased levels, Szekely said.
All of Richmond’s community is welcome to partake in BE SMART’s classes, Szekely said.
“We have classes specifically for highschoolers and for teachers/adults,” McCarthy said.
BE SMART is also planning on allowing EKU students to sign up for the classes.
Some students may not have the funds or hours to sign up for a class that is not required for their major. BE SMART is hoping to give students the chance for a cheaper, less intensive way to take art classes at EKU.
“It’s a great way for non art majors who are looking for some different skills,” McCarthy said.
This semester each Saturday class costs fifty dollars, Szekely said.
BE SMART is trying to lower their prices by at least half though, “to make it a little more pocket friendly,” McCarthy said.
Art schools around the world participate in the tradition of holding art classes for outside members on Saturdays.
“The tradition of Saturday art classes started at Pratt University,” Szekely said.
BE SMART is EKU’s way of following the tradition and keeping it going, Szekely said.
The tradition was originally aimed more towards elementary and middle schools but EKU has edited this to fit their demographic, Szekely said.
“We do hope to one day expand and include classes for younger students,” Szekely said.
Szekely said she’s had the idea of holding Saturday art clases for some time but the idea had to be presented to the Art and Design committee and it’s chair, Szekely said.
“The chair is a big fan of community arts so she was on board,” Szekely said.
This Fall 2017 semester is the first semester that EKU has held BE SMART.
“This semester is an experiment to get the idea out there,” McCarthy said.
Szekely believes that BE SMART has been gaining momentum throughout the semester and should be incredibly popular during the incoming Spring semester.
One change that is coming to BE SMART to bring more intrigue is clearing up who is allowed to join.
“The original brochure could make readers believe that the only adults allowed are teachers,” McCarthy said.
The newer brochure will make it clear that all adults are welcome to sign up for the art classes.
BE SMART also wants to increase the amount of Eastern students who are taking the classes, said Szekely.
“I think it would make a big splash to bring EKU students in,” McCarthy said.
Anyone who wants to sign up for a BE SMART art class can find the form on their site at art.eku.edu.