Back to art school: take a class

Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall teaches photography at the Charleston Center for Photography.

What do a fish and rice paper have to do with art?

Fish painting, of course, or Japanese gyotaku. You paint the fish and use the delicate rice paper to make an impression.

The images are as varied as the catch and the colors. It’s a form of painting long practiced in Japan where the sea is an integral part of the cultural life.

And the hook? It’s part of the fall art classes that start at Redux Contemporary Art Center, just one of a variety of classes for kids and adults.

Going back to school doesn’t just have to be for kids, although the fish painting class is aimed at young ones. It’s also a good time for some Me time, whether you are a mom or dad with a quiet house.

Art classes

Redux has classes conducted by working artists, so you never know what’s available. I’ve taken a silver jewelry class there, and the facility is as inspiring as the art you will make.

You get a chance to poke your head into the small studios of artists who rent there for inspiration. They are the true working artists. If this interests you, go to

This year, there are more community art classes than ever, with the addition of a number of classes at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

The studio classes there include an Art of Healing Workshop where participants learn to make their own mandela, a form of meditative art written in sand.

And there are the usual painting and drawing classes, for both the beginner and the advanced artist, taught by knowledgeable working artists.

I’m always amazed at the many forms of art out there, and a first-time class is always a little intimidating but so worth the mental exploration, even if all you do is doodle at home.

Lese Corrigan has taught a generation of artists their first drawing or painting class and you go home understanding that each of us has an artist inside.

For information on classes, go to


If you are more of a writerly type, there is the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop, a literary arts organization serving both new and established writers.

The group has a chapter in Mount Pleasant that meets at the new mecca of aspiring artists everywhere: Starbucks.

Members invite writers of all types, from novelists to poets and everything in between to join.

You do have to join the organization to show up at a meeting, but that’s easy. They also have member’s website listing on their site, so you can read about successful authors in South Carolina.

Go to for more information.

If you want to find other writer communities, you can always ask at bookshops.

They usually have a group that meets and can give you a contact.


If you are looking to expand your photography skills — think entering the P&C’s weekly photo contest — you can take classes at the Charleston Center for Photography.

Its classes start after Labor Day and include everything digital, but also do some old school black-and-white film photography. Using that film is now a skill that’s being lost, as is the processing of the film and making of prints.

The way to pass some fascinating time to watch images appear in a darkroom, bathed in orange light and the great aroma of dektol.

For more information, go to

Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557.

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