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MC Voices

Hello again Montgomery College community! If we weren’t hunkered down with trying to stay away from viruses, we are certainly hunkering down because of the snow. I was so hoping for 18 inches of fluffy cottony snow to make a huge and positive snowman…but it doesn’t look like that will happen today.

If you read my blogs from last year, you know I am an artist – painting and sculpture – and that I took a lot of courses at Montgomery College Silver Spring Campus to get my mojo back after not doing Art for many years (I was working and making a living!). Starting from scratch with education after a long hiatus was the right move for me. Knowing I hadn’t done any Art in decades, I started a few years ago by taking the most basic 101-level courses. Gradually, after Drawing, Figure Drawing, Painting, Sculpture and loads of other courses, I seem to be on a pretty good path right now. In the past month, I’ve completed three paintings and entered two online shows. One of the works is attached, it’s a Macaw from Costa Rica.

But here’s my dilemma: I need the in-class experience. Not for painting, I can do that on my own. But I really need the model in Figure Drawing, and I really need to use the sculpture tools in the Sculpture Studio. And I also need the interaction of the other students and feedback from the faculty. An online art class doesn’t really make sense to me. Please Montgomery College, can’t we find a way to do this safely?

I have some ideas if anyone is listening…here goes. For Figure Drawing, I think there are two really good options. The first one, which could start when the temperatures are about 50 degrees or higher is to have the classes held out of doors, even in Blair Park. Of course, the model would be clothed, but drapery can be arranged in such a way as to serve as anatomical references.   There could be a focus on portraits, or the lessons could be designed to reflect ‘model in his/her environment’ rather than the usual ‘model floating in space’ which is what most students draw in a 20-minute session. How about bringing the skeleton out?  Can’t the College purchase some plaster casts to draw from?

For sculpture, Silver Spring does have a large outdoor sculpture area  as part of the studio – I worked outside a lot when I took Sculpture class, all bundled up in long underwear, with eye masks for safety; it wasn’t very comfortable but I got to do molds, welding, carving and sculpting. I worked outside because I was working with noisy power tools, so as not to disturb the other students, but we could all work outside if we had some heaters. Everyone would wear a mask and keep their distance!

C’mon art instructors and administrators, I’m asking you to be creative! I could help you design a safe but interactive program.   Until then, you’ll find me in my studio.

Arleen Seed

Hi! My name is Arleen Cannata Seed and I’m studying Fine Arts here at Montgomery College in Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Originally from New York City, I studied Art as an undergraduate years ago, but chose to spend my career in a totally different field, working for the United Nations and traveling all over the world bringing technological solutions to global problems.

Once I retired, I had the time and mental space to practice Art again, but I knew I had forgotten the fundamentals. So, I enrolled in 100 level courses in drawing, painting, and sculpture at MC. This was just the catalyst I needed! The professors at MC, in both the Community Arts and the regular credit courses, provided a course of study and opened my eyes to the different ways in which Art is taught in the 21st Century.

This blog is about my journey, my transition from working adult to pursuing an earlier dream, and I’m hoping this story resonates with young people thinking about their career choices and older people yearning to rekindle pursuits which have always interested them.

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