Bayside Gazette 10031 Old Ocean City Blvd.
Berlin, MD 21811
Phone: 410-641-0039
Fax: 410-641-0085


Goal of mobile Fig Tree Studio programs is to make art accessible

10/31/13 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

BERLIN—Kate Russell and Erika Rittling Uebel are starting small in their goal to inspire artists to find their creative cores, as the trained artists prepare to open their own Fig Tree Studio by summer of next year. In the meantime, they have been serving as mobile art departments in the Lower Eastern Shore area.

Uebel said the studio has been operating at the Stages Early childhood Learning Center in Berlin for the past six weeks. She said they were passionate about finding ways to make art accessible. She has considered reaching out to hold classes in day care centers as an important way to help small children develop a natural feel for the art forms they might want to create, and to use their creations to help build confidence.

Uebel said when she and Russell first introduced themselves at the daycare center the children seemed a bit apprehensive. After six weeks of classes, projects and exhibits, she said now “they seemed excited to see us.” A mini-gallery has developed, displaying the artistic creations of the one- and two-year-olds for their parents to see as they come and go when picking up and dropping off at the facility, she said.

“One little girl who would not pick up a crayon,” when they first started, Uebel recounted, “is now painting up a storm.” Projects, materials and themes change on a weekly basis, allowing the children to sample a variety of art forms and styles. She said the daycare art class assignment, “has really been a great experience.”

The studio will also travel to Little Lambs Daycare in Ocean Pines and the Training Station Preschool in Ocean City, Uebel said.

After helping to build a foundation for art appreciation in toddlers in October, the studio will head to the Worcester County Arts Council, at 6 Jefferson St. off Main Street in Berlin, to conduct classes, inspired by abstract artists, for older youths in November.

From Nov. 5-6, between 4–5 p.m., Russell and Uebel will offer Jackson Pollock-style acrylic splatter painting classes for artists from 5–9 years-old. The watercolor abstract painting style of Mark Rothko will be the inspiration for classes on Nov. 12 and 13, from 4–5 p.m., for 9–14 year-old art students. Clyfford Still’s acrylic abstract painting style will serve as the basis for classes on Nov. 19 and 20, from 3:30–4:30 p.m. for art students, age 14–17 years old. The costs for the classes are $20 and supplies are included.

Russell, said part of the public outreach the studio is also involved in was helping the Town of Berlin recruit high school artists for the Berlin Parks commission’s mural project in Stephen Decatur Park. She said they were trying to spread the word to encourage artistic teens to participate in what she called a rare opportunity.

To register for a class hosted by the Worcester County Arts Council, visit the website or call 410-641-0809.

Additional information on Fig Tree Studio is available on Facebook or by calling 443-801-7453.

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