Program explores each person's creativity
By Bethany Hofstetter
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
While art usually is created in solitude, one group of artists is gaining inspiration from each other.
Once per week, artists from the North Hills area meet at the Shaler North Hills Library for Art and Inspiration with William Rock, a weekly forum for artists, poets, writers and musicians to discuss their creativity and explore technique.
“Everyone is creative and creativity is everywhere,” said Marie Jackson, adult services librarian who helped to start the class series. “I'm not an artist, but I'm seeing I am a creative person just by being in the class.
“Everyone seems to be growing in this class, including myself and ideas keep flowing.”
The class is part of the library's People's University, a series of classes for adults that developed out of the popular art programming at the library. Library staff decided to open its doors for local artists to come and talk about their work at a program every Thursday at 7 p.m.
Today, Art and Inspiration has grown to support close to 15 artists at the program each week.
Rock moderates the Art and Inspiration classes and leads discussions, short lessons or meditations.
Rock is a Pittsburgh artist who has had work displayed at the Carnegie Museum of Art and also has a collaborative piece with the Chinese poet Huang Xiang that continues to be on exhibit worldwide.
“Art and Inspiration is a continuation of forum or dialogue for creative people or artists, but really anyone can come,” Rock said. “Artists, poets, writers in the community are rediscovering their creativity.
“They're coming out and talking about what they do and it gives them a forum to show their work, to develop their own work and learn how to reach out to the community with your creativity.”
It was through the Art and Inspiration classes that Dee Lesczynski, 79, of Shaler Township, realized that she was an artist.
“I didn't think of myself as an artist, I just enjoyed making things,” Lesczynski said.
“(Rock) was the first person who said I had art in me.
“No one had ever said ‘Dee, you're an artist.'”
Lesczynski has created countless works from candy wrapper purses to shopping bag purses, fabric dolls and costumes, and most recently, paper bead jewelry.
She comes to the library each week to be with other creative people and show off her latest work for critique.
“I go home and I feel energized,” she said.
Other artists have expanded their talents into the community through the support of the class. One artist holds classes for residents at a personal care home. Another artist teaches local community classes. Yet another organized an art show at Christ Episcopal Church.
For Joyce Wilde, 52, of Shaler, the class is helping her as she works on two book projects.
“I need some bit of inspiration I don't get otherwise,” Wilde said. “I need creativity to balance my life, and (the class) gave me confidence.”
While the class invites artists at any age, any skill level and who use any medium to participate, Mary Limbacher, 51, of Cranberry, said it is the creative process that brings them together.
A former neighbor introduced Limbacher to the group and each week she travels with Cree Mullin, a 23-year-old artist with autism, to participate in the group.
“I look at everybody at their stages of life and being creative and trying new things,” Limbacher said. “Really, I feel what it does is open up this whole new way of creating.
“I have such a lift when I leave here, I feel like I can conquer any fear.”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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