“They were so focused on their visions of a finished project that the room just exploded with creativity,” says Beth Dalal of one of her favorite moments teaching at ACA’s Arts Camp. Dalal, who has been teaching children’s and adults’ art classes at ACA for over a year now, firmly believes in the power of ACA’s mission – that is, “transforming lives and building community through the arts.” She continues: “Kids were everywhere working with fabric, from on top of tables to sprawled across the floor, to even in the hallway…It was awesome to see the transformations happen.”
Dalal, who admits that she had to travel a “long, twisted road” before realizing she wanted to teach art for a living (having studied subjects in college as diverse as psychology, pre-med, and museum education before landing on arts education), will bring her unconventional and uniquely creative artistic viewpoint to ACA this Fall. “I try to approach art as an exploration—something that we will learn together because I firmly believe that we are all still learning,” she says. “I also try to remember that not everyone is comfortable creating art. I draw on my own stumbling blocks in art (sixth grade, when my art just never looked how I thought it ‘should’) to help me communicate and understand where students might be getting stuck. These are not only ideas that guide my teaching, but that also guide my own artwork.”
Dalal will be offering an impressive six classes this impending semester, including children’s courses such as “The Mudroom (Homeschool Class),” “Young Artist’s Printmaking,” “Fiber, Fabric, and Yarn, Oh My!,” “Stories, Art and Me,” and “Holiday Workshop,” as well as a “Sgraffito Workshop” for adults. Each class offers new and exciting possibilities and the ability to create vibrant, dynamic artwork across a variety of mediums. In “The Mudroom,” children will create amazing clay artwork from around the world. Dalal’s “Fiber, Fabric, and Yarn,” will involve “sewing, altering fabric through dyes or bleach (safely!), and exploring ways of combining these skills in various ways.” In “Stories, Art and Me,” parents and children, ages 3 – 5, will read a book together and then make artwork based on that story. Meanwhile, “Holiday Workshop” promises to be the perfect seasonal arts class, which will allow students to make beautiful holiday ornaments to be given to family members and loved ones.
And for adults, Dalal’s “Sgraffito Workshop” will allow students to carve unique designs onto clay surfaces – a process that Dalal “fell in love with a few years ago while trying to find a way to connect [her] clay work with the doodles [she] always seemed to be drawing.”
The diversity and breadth of the material she is able to teach is just one reason Dalal values ACA as a community arts center. “Part of why I love working with ACA is that I get the chance to teach so many of my absolute favorite things,” she says. However, Dalal is quick to note that, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the members of ACA’s vibrant and creative arts community. “My favorite part of teaching at ACA is what a supportive community ACA has created,” she says. “From the staff to the students to the families, I always feel appreciated and valued as both an artist and an educator.”
And her love for the arts and those who partake in them is abundantly clear in every word. “In general, I like working with a variety of audiences…BUT, that being said, I’m a sucker for working with kids,” she notes. “The thing I love about working with kids is seeing the look on their faces when they are really focused and when something finally clicks for them…That look is completely addictive.”
Beth’s advice: “It is never too late to try something new! Stretch those brain cells by learning something and come get dirty in our art rooms!”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. If you’re interested in taking any of Dalal’s amazing art classes this semester, visit our website at http://www.acarts.org. We can’t wait to see what you create this Fall!