July 14, 2011

Explore classes in arts, culture at Alys Stephens Center’s ArtPlay

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Learn how to create an app, sew a quilt, “upcycle” fashion, dance flamenco and act out this fall when the Alys Stephens Center’s ArtPlay at UAB presents a new, expanded session of arts education classes.

artplay_openhouse_webClasses on offer also will include ballet fitness, Indian dance, hip hop dance, history of jazz, acting for adults, musical theater, drawing, painting and poetry, plus many more. ArtPlay offers something for everyone, from pre-kindergarten to adults. This session also will offer a “First Steps in Music” class for parents and newborns or toddlers. Scholarships and financial aid are available. Special offers also are available for UAB employees.

ArtPlay is the new arts education and outreach center from UAB’s Alys Stephens Center. Its mission is to educate, inspire and nurture creative growth and self-expression for everyone by providing innovative programming in a collaborative and holistic environment, says Kimberly Kirklin, director of education and outreach for ArtPlay. The center is housed in a beautifully restored Victorian home at 1006 19th St. South. It is a sister complex for the Alys Stephens Center, made possible through a gift from Jane Stephens Comer.

ArtPlay has an impressive roster of area teaching artists and collaborations with the UAB Department of Music, Red Mountain Theatre Company, Alabama Symphony Orchestra and others. Since opening in January, ArtPlay has added more teaching artists to its roster, as well, offering broad arts experiences from professionals and performers with a passion for their profession.

“We’ve grown our class offerings to include some really exciting new ways to inspire creativity,” Kirklin says. One new opportunity for all students is the Collaborative Arts Ensemble, a chance for students to participate in a cross-genre collaboration with other students. Each week students interested in a variety of art forms will work together to create a unique arts project. The class will culminate with a number of public and private performances presented by ArtPlay and the ASC.

The ArtPlay house, gifted by UAB and located just six blocks from the Alys Stephens Center, was built in 1896 and renovated to become a quality arts and community venue. The center is a three-story facility; the first floor is decorated to maintain its historical integrity. The second floor is a multi-use level with a dance and drama studio replete with sprung wood flooring, mirrored wall, ballet barre, a small stage, theatrical lighting and state-of-the-art sound, as well as a visual arts studio, media center with recording studio and creative writing and poetry corner. The third floor is home to ArtPlay music programs with a central rehearsal/classroom space and four studio/practice rooms. The property also boasts a multi-purpose arts-education annex and a garden area.

The new ArtPlay classes join the Alys Stephens Center’s established arts education opportunities, including Meet the Artist, which brings students to the ASC to engage in interactive performances with world-class artists; the Martin Hames Mentoring Program, which matches students to arts mentors, residencies with artists; and ArtPlay Teaching Artists On the Road, which brings artists to schools, among other programs.

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