An art center this fall helped students get acquainted with pottery, "Star Wars" and more.
Water Street Studios has 175 students enrolled in 54 art classes. The classes are available in a variety of media and offered to both children and adults.
Kari Kraus, the center's director of education, said offering classes shows that creating art is possible, especially for children.
"We don't want anyone to walk in the studio and feel it's above them," she said. "We offer opportunities for them to learn the work themselves, to experiment and to explore their creative side."
Lucy Tomlin said she enjoys sending her child Eli into the studio. He and another student, Jamie, are enrolled in the "Science of Clay" class.
Jamie has taken some of the "Star Wars"-themed classes offered for younger children as well. His mother Mary Malach said he enrolls in one class every semester, and takes one in the summer. Both boys say they like taking the classes because they are fun.
Gary Strandlund, 52, of Batavia, was engaged by the artworks the studio displayed in an air fair. He is already signed up for his third class.
"I was impressed by the range of activities there (at Water Street)," he said. "It's the first time I've tried doing anything like this since eighth grade."
Strandlund finds the class approach appealing, in that it forces students to paint regardless of their experience or ability.
He said his instructor Deborah Glascott uses a problem-solving approach, and helps students work on issues encountered with their own paintings.
"She will say, 'Why don't you try this?' and if you really do what she says, it works every time," he said.
Strandlund's current work is a still life he calls "Andy Warhol Goes Shopping" which includes a brown shopping bag, a Brillo box and a Coke bottle.
"Regardless of how good I get at it, I'm learning the process to get certain kinds of effects," he said.
Strandlund has impressed at least one critic, his 14-year old daughter, who told him she didn't think he could do anything like that.
She made him promise to give her his first painting.
The winter session runs from January through April and a class catalog will be available in November. An encaustics workshop, an old medium that uses acrylic paint with a translucent, wax-based pigment, will be added to the schedule.
There are many free events for families including "Second Saturdays" from 6 to 10 p.m. featuring several Water Street resident artists providing demonstrations and "Awesome Art Afternoons" on Sundays from 1 to 3 p.m. for younger artists who can draw, paste or paint with art supplies provided at no charge.
For more information, go to waterstreetstudios.com or phone 630-761-9977.