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IPFW’s Community Arts Academy offers a chance to explore your creative side

Registration begins in January

By Michael Summers


Fort Wayne Reader


Since its inception a few years ago, the Community Arts Academy at IPFW has provided area students in grades pre-Kindergarten through high school (and a few adults, too) with a fun and affordable way to explore their interest in drama, art, music, and dance, and an excellent opportunity to work with some of the area’s finest teachers in the arts.

Classes in dance, music, art, theater and dance begin in January, with registration starting January 3rd. Classes typically run for about eight weeks, and many meet on Saturdays at the IPFW campus. Instructors at the Community Arts Academy include IPFW faculty and Fort Wayne area professionals in music, dance, and the arts.

Courses for the 2005 semester include “Dramagination,” where young acting students (K – 2) learn how to develop characters and vocal techniques; Symphonic Strings; and Mixed Media, which allows students to experiment with traditional and non-traditional artistic techniques such as resin casting, found object and altered art, image transfer, etching, collage and others.

The Community Arts Academy also offers private music instruction in voice, piano, and other instruments for adults and younger students. For dancers, there’s also an Adult Beginning Jazz class for students 18 and up that offers the fundamental movements and style of jazz dance.

A handful of the classes, such as Symphonic Strings, require some previous experience, but one of the best things about the Community Arts Academy is that you don’t need to necessarily be an aspiring dancer, actor, playwright, musician, etc. to sign up — the only requirement is an interest in the field. Students intimidated by the thought that they’ll be required to master art or drama or whatever by the end of the semester, even if they’ve never so much as picked up a brush and sat down at a piano, shouldn’t worry. The main focus of the Community Arts Academy is for the students to have fun and learn the fundamentals of their particular area of study. Jane Frazier, Director of the Community Arts Academy and the Assistant to the Dean of IPFW’s School of Visual and Performing Arts, says the emphasis is on process rather than end-product. “The students might have a recital or presentation of some sort at the end of the semester, but we are more about teaching them the skills so that they can continue in whatever their field is,” she says.

Betsy Breitenbach, who teaches the program’s Introduction to Playwriting course, says she wants to work towards an end goal for each student enrolled in the class, but what that end goal — a monologue, a 10-minute piece — is going to depend on what the individual student is interested in. A former IPFW theater student whose one-act plays Atlas’s Cigar and Ambivalence snared awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival competition, Breitenbach explains that the course emphasizes a step-by-step approach to creating drama. “I don’t want any of the students to think they’re going to have to write a full-length play at the end of eight weeks,” she says. “I’m going in focusing on writing exercises, where it’s not necessarily writing an entire play, it’s showing how certain techniques can be applied to writing a scene. We might start off by figuring out how you begin writing action on the stage, and from there having slightly longer projects develop.”

Registration for the 2005 Spring Semester of the Community Arts Academy begins January 3rd. For more information, call 260 481-6059.

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