You explore, you create, you experiment, practice, look at the work of others, read, talk to other artists, and practice some more. One important element of becoming a professional is learning from the best. Many people take classes from random “experts” as they come through town or appear at special events like quilt shows, and that is all good and well. But what is really needed is an opportunity to study under someone who has proven talent in their field. There is nothing like studying under a mentor who is not afraid to speak his or her mind, will guide you through your best and worst work, share their experiences and help connect you to the right people who can help you grow.
If you want to grow as an artist, there are special places you can go to learn from the best. School-age students can learn in Northern Michigan (U.S.A.) at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Interlochen has a summer arts camp as well as an academy for high school students. I can speak for the summer camp – My summers in 1972 and 73 were phenomenal experiences that will never be forgotten. I remember famous musicians coming to perform and staying for days to work one-on-one with students. Imagine sitting in your practice room slaving over a piano concerto only to have Van Cliburn walk in and sit on your bench! Or Yo Yo Ma walking in with his cello! Interlochen Academy produces some of the most talented people in every aspect of the arts. Have you heard of these people? The singer Jewel is one of many. See a list of famous alumni here.
New York City offers a vast array of talented instructors. If you are a singer, check out Leslie Giammanco (also an Interlochen Alumni). Leslie is at the top in vocal music, having performed on Broadway and all around the country. Whether you are high school age or a seasoned adult, Ms. Giammanco is one of the best. Check her out!
Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine is a fabulous arts school in a gorgeous setting. Designed for the adult student, Haystack provides instruction in a wide variety of media and an opportunity to get away to a beautiful studio setting where you can immerse yourself in your art. Leave the world behind for a few weeks and just dive in!
If you have never taken an in-depth workshop with a fabulous instructor, think ahead to your future. Make plans for the upcoming year to improve yourself and your skills There is a great list of art workshop links here.
It is not too early to start planning for 2010.
Make that be the year you expand your artistic ability! Plan ahead!