A collaboration between the Gunnison Arts Center and The Vita Institute for the Arts

The Vita Institute for the Arts is an artist-run non-profit arts education organization dedicated to meeting the needs of current practitioners in the arts, as well as those who desire to recommit to their creative practices. Vita Institute offers professional development programs and workshops taught by working artists with years of successful teaching experience.

Click HERE for more information on the Vita Insitute for the Arts. 

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Visual Arts Education

Introduction to the Basics of Color Concepts

Tuesdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. January 19 – March 2.

Color is one of the fundamental elements of creative investigations and as such it is important to not only be exposed to color theory, but to understand how to apply that theory. This workshop investigates the Itten theory of color, hue, value, intensity, simultaneity, proportional application, and how to apply those theoretical principles to studio work.  This workshop is designed for anyone who would like to more fully develop their use of color as an artist and understand how to apply fundamental color concepts and techniques in developing expressive and dynamic compositions. This online workshop will be 7 weeks in length meeting once a week.  Participants will choose their own color media for this workshop. Recommended media would be, colored panicles, watercolor, or acrylic paint. Additional recommended materials: drawing paper (no newsprint), drawing pencils (6H, 4H, HB, 2B) a good eraser(s) a notebook to take notes, small canvas boards if you are working with acrylic paint.

Upon completion of this workshop participants will have a collection of studies that they use in their own personal studios and use as source material for more in-depth and completed compositions. 

Instructor: Don Seastrum.

$225/student.

Register HERE

 

Introduction to the Fundamentals of Pictorial Composition

Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. January 21 – March 4.

Once of the most often asked questions in the two-dimensional arts is “how do I determine the organization of the pictorial surface; how do I arrange all of the different features of a composition in such a way as to make it visually pleasing.”  This workshop is designed for anyone who would like to more fully understand the techniques and application principles of organizing as successful visual composition.  We will be working with the compositional elements of line, shape, form, value, color, space, and texture and how they are used both as individual elements, as well as, how they are used collectively to create meaningful and dynamic pictorial compositions.  This is a foundational workshop so no previous experience in compositional studies is required. This online workshop will be 7 weeks in length meeting once a week. Recommended media would be, colored panicles, watercolor, or acrylic paint. Additional recommended materials: drawing paper (no newsprint), drawing pencils (6H, 4H, HB, 2B) a good eraser(s) a notebook to take notes, small canvas boards if you are working with acrylic paint.

Upon completion of this workshop participants will have a collection of studies that they use in their own personal studios and use as source material for more in-depth and completed compositions. 

Instructor: Don Seastrum.

$225/student.

Register HERE

 

Application of Color Concepts in Drawing and Painting: Intermediate Level

Tuesdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. March 16 – April 13.

Color is one of the fundamental elements of creative investigations and as such it is important to not only be exposed to color theory, but to understand how to apply that theory to original compositions. This course is an intermediate intensive 5-week investigation into the Itten theory of color (hue, value, intensity, simultaneity, proportional application) and how to apply those theoretical principles to studio work.  Because this is an intermediate color concept class previous experience working with color principles is recommended.

Materials:

Color making media: preferred color pencils: acceptable: watercolor or acrylic paint.

Drawing Pencils: 6H: 4H: 2B

Drawing paper: for use with color pencils: watercolor paper if using watercolors and canvas or canvas boards if using acrylic (heavy [300 lbs.] watercolor paper can also be used if painting with acrylics).

Instructor: Don Seastrum.

$135/student.

Register HERE

 

Pictorial Composition in Drawing and Painting: Intermediate Level

Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. March 18 – April 15.

One of the most often asked questions in the two-dimensional arts is “how do I determine the organization of the pictorial surface; how do I arrange all of the different features of a composition in such a way as to make it a dynamic and meaningful composition.  This intermediate intensive 5-week composition course is designed for anyone with some compositional experience who would like to more fully understand the techniques and application principles of organizing a successful visual composition that is expressive of their personal artistic vision.

Materials:

Since this is not a media techniques class participant should select the media with which they are the most familiar. Any media that will take a long time to dry would be inappropriate for this course

Instructor: Don Seastrum.

$135/student.

Register HERE

 

Theatre Education

Workshop are intended for individuals seriously interested in the creation of dramatic texts for performance.  Participants should come prepared to create, discuss, support each other and be open to new ideas in an enjoyable yet challenging virtual learning environment.

 

The Greatest Story You’ll Ever Tell

Mondays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. February 15 – March 8.

All of us have at least one potentially great story waiting to be shared in a theatrical setting.  It may be an event from our own life or from the life of someone we know, an event in history, or a creation from our own imagination or a dream we’ve had.  What matters most is that it’s a story that must be told and you believe you know how to tell it in a way that it affects the lives of the people who experience it in a live performance. The purpose of this workshop is to share the structures and strategies of creating a dramatic text that connects successfully the story to the audience.  Some experience in writing and an understanding of how theatre works are helpful, but not required. 

Instructor: Paul Edwards.

$115/students.

Register HERE

 

New Ways to Write Plays

Mondays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. March 22 – April 12.

This advanced workshop in playwriting will examine three relevant areas for anyone serious about writing for the stage.  The first has to do with variety of options open to a playwright in terms of creating a dramatic text, including sole authorship, collaboration, devised theatre, and adaptations from other sources, among others. The second area will deal with writing in an increasingly global, diverse environment while still keeping in mind that all plays are “local.”  Finally, we will discuss recent research and developments  in neurological studies and the actors that are essential knowledge for anyone creating a dramatic text for performance.

Instructor: Paul Edwards.

$115/students.

Register HERE

 

Cinematography

Old School Animation: 2D and 3D stop-motion in the world of digital tendencies

Wednesdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. March 10 – 31.

+Workshop will end with a live screening on Wednesday March 31st at 6pm

Old-School Animation: 2D and 3D stop-motion animation in the world of digital tendencies is a workshop designed for artists and filmmakers who have an interest in or a current practice in stop motion animation. While working through the basic needs essential to stop-motion animation, the workshop will also encourage participants to advance their own artistic practice through the lens of filmmaking and analogue animation. Additionally, the workshop will seek to create a deeper understanding of the materiality of filmmaking, the process, and the importance of formalism in a world seeped with realism in film. Participants high school aged to adult are welcome. 

Necessary Personal Materials:

-A computer with a non-linear editing software (Adobe Premiere preferred)

-A camera of some type (DSLR, still camera, iPhone, etc.)

-Objects/materials for animation (clay, plastic, live people, etc.)

Instructor: Melissa Myser. 

$120/student.

Register HERE

 

Thursday Film Soirée

Thursdays, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. February 18 – March 25.

In light of the covid-19 global pandemic the artistic exchange of thought and workshopping has come to a screeching halt and the filmmaking community has not been spared. The Thursday Film Soirée seeks to provide a space for filmmakers at any stage in their creative process a place to receive thoughtful feedback, exchange ideas, have additional eyes on your work and build a filmmaking network. Are you working on a screenplay, editing through a new film, or even in pre production for a film post-covid? Whatever your process, stage, or mode of making the Thursday Film Soirée seeks to bring together filmmakers to meet and watch works in process, read through scripts and provide a hub for creative progress in all forms. Additionally, we will speak through giving and receiving constructive criticism for one another’s work and understanding of all forms of filmmaking. Participants should have work in progress, at any stage, and be seeking an artistic community to gain feedback from as well as be open to providing feedback to others. Thursday meetings will be reserved for discussion, additional viewings, read throughs, or whatever a participant desires to gain the feedback they need. New and advanced filmmakers are welcome.

Instructor: Melissa Myser. 

$155/student.

Register HERE

 

Jewelry Education

 

Please reference this LIST OF MATERIALS needed for the jewelry classes.

 

Making Jewelry: Starting with the Basics

One 2.5 hours of demonstration and questions. 

Sunday, April 11. 9:30 am -12 pm.

In this workshop we’ll talk about getting yourself set up for the next two workshops. We’ll do some basic exercises to get comfortable with our new tools. I’ll go over techniques and language that will help you as we move forward together and as you begin to work in your own studio. I’ll answer questions in regards to how things should be set up and provide a basic layout to help everyone begin setting up their own at home studio. I strongly suggest this workshop as an Introduction to the others if you have never had any jewelry making experience and are looking to give yourself a good foundation on how to handle tools and materials.

Instructor: Jennifer Wells.

$85/student.

Register HERE

 

Textured Ring Band in a Day!

Sunday, April 18. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

In this workshop participants will learn multiple ways to create a textured ring band, using sterling silver. The techniques to be covered will include: annealing, soldering, sawing, filing, sanding, texturing, and basic finishing. Participants will be given multiple options that they may choose to utilize in their own rings. This is a great workshop for anyone interested in jewelry making, if you have experience and are looking for a brief refresher course, or if you’re just starting out.  A handout will accompany the workshop giving participants my own “cheat sheet” to have on hand for later. 

Instructor: Jennifer Wells.

$90/student.

Register HERE

 

Basic Bezel Setting

Sunday, April 25. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

In this workshop participants will learn how to create and properly set a stone or object smaller than 1” round into a bezel setting.  I will demonstrate how to create settings for cabochon stones and uneven objects. Working with fine silver bezel wire, participants will select if they want to use sterling or copper as their base metal. I will also cover when and how to add attachments to your bezel setting that will transform it into a wearable piece of jewelry. This is a great follow up class to the textured Ring Band Workshop, or a stand-alone course. The techniques to be covered in this course include: sawing, filing, sanding, soldering, cleaning, bezel setting, finishing.  A handout will accompany the workshop giving participants my own “cheat sheet” to have on hand for later.

Instructor: Jennifer Wells.

$90/student.

Register HERE

 

Literary Education

 

Book Blast

Session 1: Tuesdays, 6:00 – 8:30 pm. January 5 – February 16.

Pre-program individual conference: schedule directly with Shelley for anytime Dec. 14-31

Session 2: Tuesdays, 6:00 -8:30 pm. March 2 – April 6.

Pre-program individual conference: schedule directly with Shelley for anytime Feb. 15-26

Writing a book-length manuscript poses numerous challenges, from vision to completion to publication. This deeply immersive and supportive program offers you the encouragement and guidance to get your book out of your head and into the world. Whether you’re just getting started or reviving a stalled work-in-progress, each Book Blast session offers you the opportunity to focus on your book for eight wildly productive weeks.   

The program begins with a private instructor conference to determine your unique writing path, followed by four supportive group sessions, spaced biweekly for ample writing time in between. Enroll for one or both eight-week Book Blast sessions! Discounted additional one-on-one meetings and/or manuscript editing is also available to all participants.

Program sessions include expert advice on:

  • Committing to writing time and completion goals
  • Believing in yourself and your work
  • Honing your project’s purpose or theme
  • Exploring the best structure for your manuscript
  • Discovering your authentic voice
  • Perfecting the craft of great writing
  • Revising, revising, revising
  • Finishing your project regardless of obstacles
  • Launching your path to publication

Vita’s Book Blast program connects you with a caring, experienced mentor and a community of writers to offer you the inspiration and feedback your book deserves. Join us! 

Instructor: Shelley Read.

$160/student.

Register HERE

Meet the Instructors

Don Eugene Seastrum, who began teaching in 1974, is Emeritus Professor of Art, holds a Ph.D. in Fine Art from the Union Institute, a Master’s degree from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s degree from Western Colorado University.  Don’s works are exhibited both nationally and internationally. A more complete description of his background and personal work can be found at ​www.seastrum.com.

Don’s work is fundamentally that of a studio artist. He does use images of human figures, as well as what might more traditionally be called landscapes, however, the human images and landscape components are not intended to be descriptive of specific individuals or places. Rather they are expressions of ideas in pictorial form, substantive and particularized. I begin with an idea, a concept and then select images (shapes) uniting them with the other elements of composition (colors, values, spaces, line, form, texture) and manipulate those to carry the idea (content) of the piece.

At the very center of his work is the concept of the aesthetic narrative. Within this consideration, aesthetic narrative paintings are work(s) expressive of concepts, ideas, philosophies or any number of content-texts. The pieces use the power of visual images to provoke thoughts, rouse feelings and stimulate the intellect. The work may call into question commonly held beliefs, relate stories, or challenge preconceived ideas.

As a studio-based painter Don’s work has been a continuing investigation into the essence and nature of constructed images as individual entities that are neither reliant nor dependent upon a one-to-one reproduction of the subject matter referred to in the work of art, Presentational rather than Representational.

Presented in this context, the work he does is both informed and inspired by my studies into the development of a particularized visual vocabulary.  Although precisely articulated these works are rendered with no intent at a naturalistic description.  Since copying is not the desired end, it is the process of choosing specific images, colors, values, and patterns of organization for the individual compositions that become his principle creative concern.  To identify this principle of choice within the work, flattened plains and subjective color are used with objective values to underscore the distinction between the models, and the interpreted images referring to those models, stressing the fact that they are painted forms, pigment on canvas, drawn, graphite on paper, or lithographic crayons on stones hand pulled in limited additions.  The results of this procedure are compositions expressed in terms of the essential nature of descriptive, narrative works, which are presentational, unifying form to content.

 

Dr. Paul Edwards is a Professor Emeritus in Theatre and Performance Studies with thirty-five years of teaching experience in higher education. He is the author of 11 full-length plays and several shorter dramatic works.  He has written, directed, and acted in over a hundred productions, has conducted workshops and taught courses in a variety of areas related to theatre and performance, and has been recognized a number of times as an outstanding educator.

 

Melissa Myser is an experimental filmmaker, technician, writer and educator currently based in Philadelphia, PA. Having worked in all veins of filmmaking from documentary, to narrative, to experimental performance art Myser’s teaching and creative practice revolve around the uniqueness of each makers own perspective. With an MFA in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a BFA in Film Studies as well as a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Myser’s work often weaved in and out of film and art. Having shown in film festivals and galleries across the United States, Myser’s film practice focuses on her deep familial roots in the Western US. A Colorado native, with family dating back five generations, the people and stories that inhabit her creative work seek to explore the myth of the American West and what it means to be a “contemporary westerner”.

 

Jennifer Wells, MFA, in Metalsmithing & Jewelry Design. She has completed artist-in-residencies at: Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN, Pocosin Arts in Columbia, NC and the Jentel Foundation near Banner, WY and has worked for several U.S based Craft Schools, in a variety of roles.

As an educator, Jennifer has taught for and been a visiting Artist at Universities throughout the U.S and for study abroad programs based in Italy. Currently she serves on the Board of Vita Institute and teaches short workshops on various enameling and metalsmithing techniques throughout Europe and the U.S. In recent years she has curated multiple international exhibitions focused on jewelry and enameling.

Her work is in the collections of the Enamel Arts Foundation, the Racine Museum and Private Collections.

 

Shelley Read is a board member at Vita Institute for the Arts. Shelley’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in a variety of publications. Her first novel is currently being represented by her literary agent, and she is working on two new books. She recently retired as a Senior Lecturer at Western Colorado University after nearly three decades teaching writing, literature, environmental studies, and Honors. She also taught at Temple University and University of Denver and is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships, and grants. Shelley is the editor of several books, including an IPPY gold medal winner, and has edited at Temple University Press, Foothills Literary Journal, and DU Clarion. Shelley completed a double major BA in English and journalism at the University of Denver, an MA in creative writing at Temple University’s Graduate Creative Writing Program, a summer fellowship in aesthetics at Temple University Rome, and PhD coursework and comprehensive exams in literary studies as a Dean’s Fellow at the University of Denver. Shelley is a mom, mountaineer, world traveler, and wordsmith who loves helping her students set their stories free.