Over half a century ago, the Academy Art Museum held its first adult education class in a founding member’s private home with a handful of students. In 2010, the museum was fortunate to hire award-winning artist Katie Cassidy to write and manage the adult art curriculum at the museum. Katie has been an instructor of multiple art disciplines at the museum for 17 years, especially charcoal, oil, and pastel. She was awarded first place in the 2018 Members Biennial and first place in the 2019 Member’s Show for the Maryland Pastel Society.
Katie reflects, “After realizing when I arrived that there was no structure in the museum’s art curriculum, I designed a cohesive set of classes and searched for artists to become instructors.”
With a generous contribution from board member Dick Granville, the painting and drawing studios were updated with new lighting, shades, and cabinetry. Today, a variety of visual and performing arts classes showcase a corps of nationally known art instructors, all recognized artists in their fields, coming from prestigious, exceptional backgrounds and training. In 2018, the museum offered more than 80 art classes for adults with 761 attending. In 2019, 20 instructors offered over 90 classes with an attendance of 861 students.
Students can study the fundamentals of drawing, take classes in painting in oil, watercolor, and pastel, or learn the craft of ceramics, bookbinding and printmaking, photography or digital editing. Options are provided for all ages and levels: from the beginner to the advanced artist, as well as for the aspiring to the established professional, making classes convenient and accessible. The museum also offers master classes, taught by leading artists in their medium from across the country. In the fall of 2019, the museum welcomed four new instructors to its corps of teachers: Georgia June Goldberg, Bernard Dellario, Cid Collins Walker and Meg Nottingham Walsh.
Dr. William (Bill) Ritchie, of Oxford, comments, “Having taken a variety of different art classes at the museum over several years I have seen how the quality and variety of instruction offered has expanded with the addition of exceptionally skilled and exciting local and national instructors. Just take a glance at the current museum calendar and there is something for virtually anybody of any skill level to enjoy and benefit. But the unexpected bonus for me in taking classes is the camaraderie enjoyed with fellow students and instructors – the shared participation enhances the whole learning experience and forges new friendships and a wider appreciation of the beauty of our surroundings.”
Kate Quinn, of Easton, adds, “Classes at the Academy Art Museum in Easton have changed my life forever in the best of ways. The quality of the instructors and classes at the Academy Art Museum enable you to go in any direction you choose from hobby to amateur professional to professional artist. After 7 1/2 years of classes and encouragement at the Academy Art Museum, I have come closer to reaching my dream of being a professional artist. Thanks to all, I have learned from the museum’s instructors, I have had my work juried into national and regional exhibits and hung in art galleries, and I won an award.”
Katie concludes, “Where we used to have students from Easton, St. Michaels and Oxford, we now see people coming from Salisbury, Chestertown, and even Baltimore and Ocean City to take classes and workshops. In 2020, the curriculum will have more weekend classes and workshops to accommodate those who work or people who come for the weekend.”