Smithsonian Associates is the largest museum-based education program in the world, producing vibrant educational and cultural programming that offer unparalleled access to the Smithsonian’s world of knowledge. Among the more than 750 individual programs presented each year,are studio arts courses, led by professional artists in a variety of formats.
Classes and other Smithsonian programming may be temporarily on hold because of COVID-19, but we hope this selection of works from our volunteer Studio Arts Representatives will inspire you to pick up a paintbrush, a camera or a calligrapher’s pen yourself.
Feed your soul!
Since 2010, I have volunteered for many different studio art classes, all of which I have enjoyed–painting, drawing, basketry, quilting, jewelry making and others. Consequently, I have a closet full of are supplies, which are proving very useful during this time of sheltering-in-place at home.
Oil Painting (Untitled)
Encaustic Collage (Untitled)
I am a 15 year plus volunteer. I enjoy being part of the volunteers for the Associates because of the people I meet , the knowledge I gain from the programs and the opportunity to be downtown. In my free time I love to hike, read, needlepoint, knit, and chat with family and friends.
Heart Basket (untitled)
Seana Gallagher is an artist in the D.C. area still trying to win at art supplies, trying and buying in search of the tool, brush, book, or canvas that will be the key to unlock the magic. Her studio/bedroom holds the relics of ceramic tools, a pottery wheel, mosaic shards, oil, watercolor, and acrylic paints, stacks of canvas (you get the picture). As a volunteer at Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts since 2018, she views it as the perfect opportunity to keep learning and exploring new ways to be creative.
Mark Geiger has volunteered with Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts Program since 2008, and as a local resident, has been going to the Smithsonian since childhood. He also works in the safety and health area with a focus on chemical safety and safety through design. When retirement comes and constraints requiring social distancing relax, he hopes to focus on marketing cards featuring local scenes and paintings of people’s homes.
The Arts and Industries Building
The Natural History Museum
The Sackler Gallery
My passion has always been in the Arts; my earliest exposure was to music. My K-12 education in Hong Kong had almost no drawing, therefore my exposure to drawing/sketching was limited. However, I was lucky to have private lessons on Chinese traditional brush painting which assuredly planted a seed in further exploration After settling in D.C. in 1987, I found I was drawn to many Associates programs in music, studio arts, lectures on art history, architecture, art, and a myriad of subjects on food and wine around the world. An opportunity to assist in the Volunteer Coordinator’s office became available and I was proud to begin my long association with the Smithsonian Associates. From there, I launched my 33 years as a volunteer for events, concerts, and studio arts.
In 1990, I monitored my first class in studio arts – Painting 101 with Trinka. Eventually, I began experimenting with other media – faux painting, watercolor, mixed-media, printmaking, charcoal, oil pastel etc. The Associates has a robust studio arts programs which offers many media and subjects. Instructors are all first rate. They are professionals in their approach to teaching and emphasize creative expression and practical applications. You will meet many students who are eager to explore their creativity and you can join the fun while learning. It is a wonderful way to explore and expand one’s horizons.
Mike Lorei retired from U.S. Dept. of State and started volunteering as Art Rep. in 2018. He enjoys learning art and interacting and assisting with teachers and students.
I have been volunteering as a Studio Arts Representative for a year. Each unique Smithsonian Studio class, like encaustic mixed media, watercolor botanicals, calligraphy, and knitting, is led by a fabulous, knowledgeable instructor and filled with enthusiastic, talented students. I enjoy a crossover of mediums in my own art: incorporating a new idea from a Smithsonian class, starting a painting that ends up a quilt, adding “free-motion” embellishments to a painting. Through art, I endeavor to express joy in the beauty of nature, thrill in the interplay of line and color, and delight in humor and whimsy.
Vigilant Mama Barred Owl
Every Chicken’s Dreamboat
Zélia Pinheiro is from Portugal. Under the pseudonym Maria Marques, she paints, draws, and loves to visit art museums. She has enjoyed being a studio arts volunteer since 2019, as it means being a part of the Smithsonian community.
Untitled (Color Theory)
Untitled (Portrait Drawing)
I started watercolor painting about 25 years ago after I visited an aunt, who was a watercolor artist. I exclaimed how I wished I could do watercolor painting. She told me that if I wanted to, I would find a way. I was working full time then in Human Resources. However, she was right, I found a way to take a watercolor class at night and got up an hour early every morning to paint. I’m retired now, so it is a little easier. Since 2018, I’ve volunteered with Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts because I love the inspiration of the variety of teachers and methods they use. I especially like watercolor classes, but I have learned from all the volunteer experiences.
Artist Rebecca Rose is a Washington, DC based artist whose focus is on healing through artistic transformation by painting on both the human body and the traditional canvas. To Rose, body painting is about self love and self acceptance, about being comfortable in the skin you are in – it’s an echoing of the subconscious through the arts. Rose also paints on the traditional canvas, and has a fondness for painting bright, bold, dreamlike images. Rose’s paintings focus on the positive in people and in life. She started volunteering with Smithsonian Associates Studio Art Program last year.
About the painting “Give”: “In adoption, a child is not given up. A birth mother GIVES life. She GIVES a part of her heart that will never be whole. She GIVES another woman a part her heart that was always missing. An adoptive mother GIVES a life and a family to the child, She GIVES another woman a part her heart that was always missing. An adoptive mother GIVES a life and a family to the child, she GIVES unconditional love. She GIVES another part of her heart to another mother. So GIVE, and GIVE a lot. And never GIVE up”. – Tena Cooper
China Girl Magic (2019)
Taking the time to assist without gaining a profit has allowed me to gain a better understanding in serving my community—I’m a Marketing Project Specialist at Defenders of Wildlife by day, and in January I became an Art Rep volunteer at the Smithsonian Associates by night. Both jobs focus on utilizing my efforts in making a difference, no matter how small the difference may be. The rest of my time is usually focused on photography by seeking for unique places and events within the DMV and elsewhere.
I have lived in the DC metro area for over 30 years and have recently ‘reignited’ my passion for art history, architecture and studio arts. As a Certificate in World Art History student, I was impressed with how smoothly the classes were conducted, due in no small part to the excellent volunteers. Their dedication, knowledge, and warmth helped the seminars/classes execution, while broadening my horizons. This influenced me to become a volunteer this year—to join the large team of other volunteers, and help the DC arts community grow through Smithsonian Associates’ innovative and varied offerings!
Haupt Garden (Detail)
Jan Zastrow is a mixed media artist and has been a Smithsonian Associates Studio Arts Volunteer since early 2019. Her inspiration comes from nature, the cosmos, her experiences, travels and dreams. She writes, “When I’m working on a piece, I don’t know where it’s taking me until I’m finished. Then, so often, I realize it’s making connections, telling me hidden truths about the world or revealing aspects of myself.” This encaustic piece, “Shanti,” was made in Marcie Wolf-Hubbard’s “Collage, Assemblage and Mixed Media” class in winter 2019.
Posted: 21 April 2020