Create a new future with JCC’s art program
JCC’s art program is broadening its palette.
Artists create in order to express their ideas, thoughts and feelings, using a variety of methods and media. Student artists who come to JCC may build their foundational art skills and expand their portfolio with a mix of studio classes, including drawing, painting, two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design, printmaking, ceramics and photography. Curriculum encourages individual creativity and expression while emphasizing the development of basic studio skills.
“I got a lot out of my classes at JCC,” said Audrey Spring, a JCC graduate now continuing her studies at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. Spring is studying graphic design and minoring in illustration. While at JCC, she took several of the basic art classes, drawing, two-dimensional design, painting, two art history courses, and earned her Associate in Arts degree. “After high school, there were a lot of things that I needed to learn. JCC was a great transition from high school to Kendall. And a lot of those classes transferred here.”
JCC graduate Heather Van Epps-Watson took several art classes; photography and graphic design, and did an independent study in ceramics. She graduated with an associate degree in graphic design and certificates in photography and studio art, and has started her own photography business, Captured Moments Photography. In the future, she plans to enroll at Adrian College to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Art degree. “At JCC we were given tools to enhance and build on our own styles. It was the beginning of finding myself as an artist,” Van Epps-Watson said. “Granted this is an ongoing and unending process of personal and artistic growth, but JCC really jump started the most important and lasting part.”
Starting this year, art students will have even more choices. JCC is expanding its art history offerings with a new Art History: Non-Western Art course that is designed to complement JCC’s previous Art History course. Created by two of JCC’s adjunct art faculty, the new course will include both a face-to-face and an online class covering history from the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa and the Americas.
“JCC has had a Non-Western Music class that has been really popular, and we felt we needed a component for art for non-Western cultures,” said Professor Tom McMillen-Oakley. “There is a lot happening. We wanted to give respect and time that people need to understand what other cultures are doing.”
In recent years, JCC has added classes in printmaking and ceramics. Printmaking explores a variety of media and technologies to create designs, including wood block, screen printing, linoleum cut, monotypes and more. Students have the opportunity to draw and create their own images and artwork for printing, and a press made in Michigan is used. Screen printing and T-shirt making is a growing cottage industry today, and this class can help interested students learn more.
JCC also offers painting and ceramics classes. Painting classes offer students the opportunity to learn priniciples of design and color while utilizing a variety of water media, including watercolor, acrylics and tempera. JCC has a great assortment of faculty, including Joe VanKerkhove, an artist from Ohio who is coming to JCC to teach and brings experience with printmaking and painting.
Ceramics classes give students the opportunity to work with both hand-building techniques and a pottery wheel, with consideration of finishing and firing techniques. Classes have a good following, and many students take the class over to practice their art and find their voice, McMillen-Oakley said. He is also inviting current artists to come and give demonstrations for students, helping today’s students to see working artists today and that it is possible to have a career in art.
JCC is also offering a digital photography course online, for someone who may want to try digital photography and would like the professional experience, but does not have time to come to JCC for a class. JCC is working with Connie McComb-Brown, a professional photographer and owner of Precious Portraits by Connie in Adrian, in developing the digital photography course. Students will post proofs in an online gallery where others can critique and offer hints. JCC offers a digital photography certificate program.
Students may combine their courses into a studio art certificate that students may use either on its own or as a building block toward an associate degree. With JCC’s studio art certificate, student may get a start in the field and complete the equivalent of one year of full-time study, 30 credits, and earn a credential that they may take to an employer or use toward further study. Coursework includes general studies courses in writing, communication fundamentals and math, as well as a number of art courses. It also helps to equip them for application to fine arts degree programs at four-year universities.
Independent study is also an option in art. “We hope that people will talk to us about what their needs are. If someone has special things they would like to accomplish, we can work to accommodate them,” McMillen-Oakley said.
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