Brookdale students spent time with two accomplished professional artists this month during a series of workshops and guest lectures offered as part of the 2016 Visiting Artist Series.
The initiative – sponsored by the Monmouth County Arts Council, the Brookdale Innovation Grant (BIG) program, and the Brookdale Art Department – featured free workshops and discussions led by jewelry and metal artist Frederick Marshall and ceramic sculptor Mil Wexler Kobrinski.
Programming kicked off on Nov. 3 with a visit by Marshall, who hosted a lunchtime gallery discussion open to students, employees and local residents of all ages and experience levels. Following the talk Marshall led an intimate “Cuttlebone Casting” workshop with Brookdale jewelry students, who were able to learn from the artist’s years of experience and pick up some new tips and tricks for use in their own work.
“This is our fourth year hosting the Visiting Artist Program, and it has been a tremendous hit with students and community members alike,” said Brookdale art professor and CVA Gallery coordinator Marie Maber. “For the students especially, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Being able to share a studio or a workbench with a full-time professional artist, it just takes their art classes to an entirely new level.”
The program continued on Nov. 17 when Marshall joined Kobrinski at a joint welcoming reception in the CVA Gallery for the 2016 Visiting Artists Showcase, a mixed media exhibition showcasing dozens of works from both artists. Kobrinski hosted her own gallery talk following the reception, then returned to campus the following afternoon to host a 3D sculpture workshop with Brookdale ceramics students.
From design to construction to finished product, Kobrinski walked the students through her personal approach to ceramics creation.
She also took time out to provide some more general tips to the budding artists, encouraging them to continue their education and develop a plan for the years and decades ahead.
“It’s very important that they learn all the aspects of what they are going to do, not only creating the art but the business end as well,” said Kobrinski, following the workshop. “They need to be able to present their work, sell their work, and have a plan for when they may not be selling their work, but want to stay in the field. I think it’s always good to further their education and to be prepared for the future.
“When I was an art student, I always liked to watch every artist that I would meet as they went through their own process of creation,” Kobrinski added, explaining why she chose to participate in the workshop. “Everybody does something in a different way, and you can always learn little tidbits from each demonstration. The little steps in between are really fun to watch. Engaging in that way just improves your own style, it improves your own processes as an artist.”
For those students who missed out on the workshops, there were still opportunities to get involved in the Visiting Artist Series. Brookdale art appreciation students, for example, were tasked with writing essays breaking down the themes, intentions, and artistic processes behind a piece of art featured in Marshall and Kobrinski’s exhibition.
According to Brookdale student Alexis Benadum, the 2016 Visiting Artist Series was a rare opportunity to grow and develop outside of a classroom.
“It was amazing,” said Benadum, referring to Kobrinski’s ceramics workshop. “In class we learned a lot of technical things, and she showed us some more abstract things, some unique approaches I hadn’t seen before. I really appreciated seeing a different take on something so traditional. I was like, ‘Whoa, she’s not scoring and slipping. How is she doing this? How is she creating this beautiful sculpture?’… I really enjoy ceramics, so this was a great program for me. I’m definitely taking a lot away from it.”
To learn more about Brookdale’s available arts classes and studio art degree program programs, click here.
Check out more photos from the 2016 Visiting Artist Series here.