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Brush Up Your Creativity

My admiration for sculptor Richard Rosen and the artists who share studio space with him in North Naples just keeps growing. Instrumental in forming the North Naples Arts Alliance (made up of numerous artist studios and galleries in the Pine Ridge/Shirley Street industrial area), Rosen first helped to coordinate “Underground Art Wednesday,” a monthly opportunity for the public to mingle with artists, see their studios and view changing exhibitions in an informal social setting.

Those evenings continue and are deservedly popular. But in the fall of 2009, Rosen and fellow artists Annabelle Johnson and Patty Kane decided to take the concept a step further and involve the public in the creation of art.

On Monday evenings, Kane hosts “An Evening of Creativity” at Rosen Gallery & Studios, during which she introduces aspiring painters and the plain curious to the art of watercolor. Less formal than a class, these sessions are aimed at people who can’t or don’t want to commit to a whole series of classes and who have never painted or haven’t held a paintbrush in years.

“These evenings bring out the creativity in anybody,” Kane promised me. “And everyone goes home with something really cool!”

Kane also directs “A Saturday Morning for Me” every week, where participants focus on “sort of a self-portrait of what makes you, you,” she says.

Rosen and Johnson also devote the first Thursday evening of the month to “A Taste of Raku,” designed for neophytes. Participants select a ready-made, bisque-fired pot or vessel and are guided through the process of glazing. While the glazes dry, they enjoy a casual buffet meal, and near the end of the evening, the pieces are removed from the kiln and plunged into a reduction pit. After cooling, each participant receives his or her finished piece to take home.

The efforts of Rosen, Johnson and Kane bring a whole new level of interactivity to the creation of art. Personally, I can’t wait to get started!

Patty Kane’s “An Evening of Creativity” is from 6-9 p.m. Mondays. Her “A Saturday Morning for Me” is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Richard Rosen and Annabelle Johnson host “A Taste of Raku” from 6-9 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. All sessions take place at Rosen Gallery & Studios in North Naples, and reservations are required. Kane reservations: (321)277-9880 or patty@artbypattykane.com. Raku reservations: (239) 821-1061 or rictra@earthlink.com.

• Naples National Art Festival, hosted by the Naples Art Association/The von Liebig Art Center. Feb. 20–21, 2010, Cambier Park. (239) 262-6517, www.naplesart.org.

• Bonita Springs National Art Festivals, hosted by the Art League of Bonita Springs. Jan. 16–17 and March 13–14, 2010, The Promenade at Bonita Bay. (239) 495-8989, www.artcenterbonita.org.

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