Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Vita Art Center
My name is Vanessa Wallace and I’m a Junior General Fine Arts Major. Over the summer of 2012, I was one of two interns for the Vita Art Center. Vita Art Center is only a section of the Bellarts Factory, which is an artist collective of studios in which many host art classes, while simultaneously using the space as a personal studio. The Vita Art Center is one of the larger spaces in the building. It doubles as a gallery and an art center for classes taught to kids as young as six all the way to classes for adults. I was purposed the internship by the manager of Vita Art Center, Mary Perez. She described the internship as a teaching position for the summer in which I would be responsible for orchestrating a summer art class for three months. I would need to plan and create my own lesson plans for a group of kids from the ages of six to eleven. I would also be teaching five days a week for three months. After Mary purposed this offer I accepted it. I have a long history with Mary so there was no need to submit a resume or cover letter. She is very aware of my achievements and experiences.
The Vita Art Center began as an idea that Mary Perez had. She recognized that in our community there are very few resources for artistically minded people and so she began this business. It started as an independent art center but as it grew it move into a larger space at the bell arts factory. The Bellarts Factory acts as the epicenter of the art world in Ventura, California. The people that work there orchestrate Artwalk every year and many other large events. The building also has studio spaces for many of the larger established artists in the area. I mention all of this because the Vita Art Center and the Bellarts Factory are closely intertwined. The Vita Art Center is one of the spaces in the building. It works as a gallery and a place of study for young and old artists.
My direct supervisor was Mary Perez. She has many roles in the building. She is the manager of Vita Art Center and she manages everything from what artists she chooses to hire, to finances, supplies, and events held in the gallery. She is also the curator of the gallery and event planner for art events in the city. Not to mention she also teaches art classes at the center.
My responsibilities were basically to host a class with the help of another intern. It was our responsibility to plan the entire lesson plans every week and to make sure we had the supplies needed to execute our projects. I decided on the time line of the class. Most of our projects incorporated natural materials or recycled materials. For example we would make nature buddies out of shells, sea glass, bark, sticks, and other natural materials. Or we would make water bottle rocket ships. We made sand hands and nature mobiles. We also did summer camp classics like tie-dying and god’s eyes.
I think I am most proud of how successful the class was. We had a lot of repeat students because they enjoyed the class so much they continued to ask their parents if they could come back the next week. It was because of this I was able to really get to know many of my students. We also had many kids who never thought of themselves as artists but after the class they said they hope to go to the same school as me.
The greatest thing I learned is how to improvise and roll with the way things go. Everyday was different because you could never anticipate how the different group’s dynamic would work or how they would react to the project of the day. How they felt really dictated what we did. If they didn’t want to do one project I would have to come of with a plan B, C, or even D.