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The Flor-Ala

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Kennedy-Douglass Center hosts Art Adventures

Kennedy-Douglass+Center+hosts+Art+Adventures
Whitney Veazey

The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts hosted its second installation of the Art Adventures event series on Feb. 18. The event was organized and carried out by the volunteer workers of the Kennedy-Douglass Center and led by the group’s president, Betty Balch, as well as the Center’s Art Director, Jenny Dawn Stucki.

In this installation of the event, those in attendance learned about “The Art of Illusion,” beginning with a presentation by Elizabeth Renault, a KDCA volunteer. During the presentation, the audience members were shown various examples of optical illusions in the form of street art, paintings, videos and more. Renault’s presentation showcased many of the ways that artists have made many creative pieces of artwork by implementing optical illusions that take advantage of our natural psychological processes.

Renault, a UNA alumna who received her Masters Degree in Art Education, spent the majority of her career teaching art in Lauderdale County schools. She now holds art presentations for the UNA Institute for Learning in Retirement, in addition to her volunteer work for the KDCA. Her involvement with the Art Adventures program began through her relationship with both Barb Hendricks, another KDCA volunteer, and Balch.

“We really want to get people involved in art, and we really want to reach the community,” said Renault. “We are really trying to open up an interest in the arts in our area. We are volunteering our time to promote that.”

After her presentation, the audience was then given the opportunity to experience these optical illusions in person. In a workshop directed by Hendricks, attendees were given a more hands-on approach to the area of illusionary art through the works of M.C. Escher, a famous Dutch artist known for his use of optical illusion. In the workshop, Hendricks led the group through several Escher-style visual experiments involving what the KDCA described as “tantalizing tessellations.”

The event gathered over 40 attendees to take part in the presentation and workshop. The members of the KDCA Volunteers hope for that number only to continue to grow in future events.

The primary goal of the Art Adventures program is to educate artists and students on the vast world of artistic expression. The program found its beginning earlier this year on Jan. 28, when the KDCA hosted the series’s first event, focusing around Paper Art. The event highlighted the many various forms of paper sculpture and their history, as well as showcasing some of the most impactful pieces of this style of art. Similar to the recent “Art of Illusion” event, the “Paper Art” event featured a presentation from Renault, followed by a workshop led by Hendricks.

As of right now, the KDCA has two more Art Adventures events planned for this upcoming spring. On Mar. 17, the program will focus on Kinetic Art, where pieces of moving artwork will be explained and explored. 

“It is really fascinating stuff,” Renault said. “People have really gone above and beyond as we have become more technologically advanced.”

On Apr. 21, the spotlight of the program will shift to a lesser known artform, called Typewriter Art. This event will dive into the techniques and processes of typewriter artists to learn how their art is created.

Renault believes that the worlds of art and science go hand in hand, citing a long list of professionals from a variety of career fields known for their involvement in the art world. Because of the diverse appeal of the arts, she encourages all members of the Shoals area to explore the program, especially students. “These programs are interesting whether you are an artist or not,” she said. “Even just to see what is going on in the art world. I would like to encourage any college students to drop in on us too.”

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About the Contributors
Trevor Mickle, A&E Editor
Trevor is a freshman student from Jemison, Alabama, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Digital Media Production. Trevor is excited to get involved on campus help keep students informed on important topics in our community.
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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