We are always learning
“The arts” and “community” always seem to go together, and that’s a philosophy the staff at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis strives to follow. “We try to figure out ways to embrace the community and get them in here,” says Benton Jones, the museum’s education and outreach coordinator. The museum, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary in 2016, offers an array of programming throughout the year including children’s art classes, art history lectures, and printmaking and painting courses.
The museum has also developed outreach and in-house programs that cater to local seniors and individuals with special needs. “There’s a whole spectrum of needs out there,” says Jones, “and our goal is to fill that role in the community.”
Despite the plethora of classes available and the diversity of offerings, individuals still have to take that leap of faith by signing up for a course and actually showing up. Sometimes, feelings of anxiety or ineptitude may keep someone from participating. But according to Wake, that’s exactly where art can help. “Be fearless,” she advises. “Art is the one area of life where you can actually take a huge risk. You should approach art as if there’s no right or wrong answer. Be fearless.”
As the director of education at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth, where enrichment classes are offered for all ages, Amy Neill says it has been her honor to watch newcomers arrive at a course with a curiosity and then grow, over time, artistically.
“I have seen over and over the bond of students in class together and the lifelong friendships that have been made,” Neill says. “The art almost becomes secondary, though it’s the foundation of what brings us all here. It is the people and the positive energy that bring them back over and over again.”
In the event someone may be on the fence about signing up for a class because they may not think they’re “good enough,” Neill says to remember one simple truth: “We are all beginners at some point. Tapping into your creative self is a never-ending process; we are all always learning.”
The end result may just be a newfound passion or the discovery of an unknown talent. Yet, Neill says the most essential element of the experience isn’t either of those things. “Our number one initiative for anyone coming to our building is to have fun,” Neill says emphatically. “It’s a chance to make new friends—and share in a great experience.”
To learn more about the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, visit artsfoundation.org. To view a schedule of programs and classes, visit the Cultural Center of Cape Cod online at cultural-center.org. and the Cape Cod Museum of Art at ccmoa.org.
Nancy White is a freelance writer from Hull.
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