Kentuck offers new perspective on communityBy Becky Robinson | 07/16/2013 11:00pm
For incoming freshmen, sometimes it can take a while to find a place in the college scene. Instead of waiting for social opportunities to come your way, students can be proactive and join the Kentuck Art Center for many opportunities to get in touch with the local art scene.
Emily Leigh, the interim director for Kentuck Art Center, said volunteering is a great way for new students to make friends and connections.
“I think a really good thing is to volunteer for the [Kentuck] Festival,” Leigh said. “It’s the third weekend in October, and it’s two full days, but we’re preparing for it year-round. If you want to volunteer through a group, through the University or individually, you get a free ticket, and it’s a great way to meet other volunteers and also the artists.”
Kentuck also uses student volunteers for Art Night, which is held the first Thursday of every month.
“[Freshmen] can realize that there’s something beyond the University, which, for most freshmen, tends to be their whole world for a while,” Leigh said.
The University uses the Kentuck facility for some of its classes, including Marysia Galbraith’s New College pottery class.
Galbraith, an associate professor, said she started working with Kentuck Art Center when she needed additional space to work.
“When New College moved to Lloyd Hall, I needed to also move the pottery lab for my class, NEW 473: Globalization and Folk Craft Production, but there was no space available on campus,” Galbraith said. “Kentuck agreed to let me move into a space that was being turned into the Kentuck Clay Coop.”
By being able to use the space, Galbraith said she hoped it instilled a sense of creativity in her students.
“I don’t expect students to be artists but to have fun learning to express themselves through clay,” she said. “Students also gain a healthy respect for folk potters who must have full command of their materials to make extraordinary work that is both beautiful and functional.”
In addition to giving Galbraith more room, the change gave UA students an opportunity to work with the professional Kentuck artists, who have their own studios on site, and the people who came to Art Nights.
The Clay Coop is not just available for students, though. Leigh said UA students often sign up to continue taking art classes, especially if that isn’t their major. The space is also open to hobby potters 19 and older.
Leigh suggested new students venture to Northport, Ala., where the Kentuck Art Center is located.
“Northport is a place where sometimes people can go to school for four years at UA and not really venture out off campus much, but if you can get familiar with Northport, it’s very small and easy to get around,” she said.
Leigh said freshmen should also take time to explore downtown Northport, Ala., for more opportunities.
“I hope that they’ll be proactive looking around the community,” Leigh said. “It’s very walkable downtown, if they’ll just walk around and look at what’s there within the three-block area. I think you’ll be much happier if you have that aspect, not just the University.”