This past Monday, Ciel Gallery and member artist Randy Leibowitz Dean hosted an art party and sing-along for UMAR arts centers students, their families and friends, and UMAR arts centers' staff. Ciel’s Scoop reporter was on location to bring you the juicy details.
It was a lively event, with high-fives, hugs and enthusiastic singing voices along with heart-felt art in a variety of mediums. Individual artists were on-hand to describe their work and to cheer when pieces were sold. “I am SOLD OUT!” said one exuberant artist. “I’d better make more art!” “Two sold, only one left,” said another, smiling broadly. “You’d better get this one while you can!” A photo album depicting the artistic journey of this group of artists was on hand for them to share, each photo reminding them of their art journey through the UMAR Arts Centers.
UMAR, “Empowering Adults with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities” was founded in 1983. Promoting inclusion, independence and growth through a variety of opportunities, the UMAR Arts Centers organizes partnerships with community artists to provide instruction to adults with disabilities. Randy Leibowitz Dean is one of UMAR’s partner artists, a beloved and gentle-spirited teacher with whom the artists at this week’s event were clearly connected. Dean teaches UMAR participants drawing, painting and related art techniques and processes during two weekly sessions at Ciel Gallery.
Dean was joined by Erin Fox, guitarist and vocalist, along with singers from the UMAR arts center. The music was delightful, and a few participants broke out into spontaneous dancing!
This week’s event was particularly significant for UMAR given last week’s winter storm, which forced postponement of the center’s largest fundraiser. County budget cuts recently reduced center funding in half, making the fundraiser critical to keeping the center open.
Has the UMAR mission touched you or someone you know? Make a donation! Visit www.umarinfo.com.
To view the work of Randy Leibowitz Dean, stop by Ciel Gallery, visit Randy’s member page at www.cielcharlotte.com
Trinity Episcopal School 5-8th graders recently spent a day at Ciel Gallery exploring art as part of “WOW Week” (WithOutWalls). I spent some time with Ciel partner and artist Jonathan Grauel to get the scoop.
“WithOutWalls offers educators and students a chance to explore passions that don’t always fit within the traditional walls of a classroom,” said Grauel. As a former educator, Grauel understands first-hand the difficulty getting art into the curriculum. “We were able to give them in-depth information about three distinct art mediums - mosaic, mixed media and digital painting.” Digital artist Grauel partnered with mosaic artist Pam Goode and mixed media artist Caroline C. Brown to give the students gallery tours and then mini-sessions in each topic.
“It was a condensed version of what I do in the classroom with students,” Grauel explained. As an artist who is interested in arts education, Grauel volunteers in local schools, bringing digital painting to the classroom. “I was impressed by the questions these kids had. They asked about software programs and whether to use a stylus or fingers for the best effect. I always use a finger for my stylus. I’m less likely to lose it, but no guarantees…” Grauel delved into the use of shapes as symbols in life and as inspiration for art. Together, they worked on collaborative digital pieces, which Grauel will complete and post for them to view.
At the end of our interview, Grauel received word that one of the Trinity students returned to the gallery the following Monday with his parents in tow. The boy’s earnest interest in sharing his experience with his parents convinced partner Laura Hitchcock to open the gallery just for them. Grauel was visibly moved. “This is what it’s all about,” he said.
Click Here to find out more about Jonathan Grauel’s work. To sign-up for a workshop click Here or stop by Ciel Gallery Tuesday through Saturday between 11 and 6. (Unless you are a middle schooler with your parents, then the doors might open during off hours)
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