The Dairy Barn Arts Center, 8000 Dairy Lane, is currently offering a variety of new classes for the Athens public to enjoy. Each class is taught by an instructor at the Dairy Barn who is knowledgeable of the medium showcased. The topics presented range from pottery to drawing to painting, ensuring each interested party has the opportunity to participate in something that catches their eye.
“The Dairy Barn offers education programs to the community as part of our mission as an art- focused nonprofit organization,” Kelly Shaw, education director, said. “That includes everything from classes and workshops for adults and youth, our summer art camp (and) take home art-making activities.”
Shaw also touched on the collaboration the Dairy Barn does with local school systems and other nonprofits to provide arts programming.
Pottery, painting and drawing are all workshops that will take place this week.
Drawing will be Thursday, Jan. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., painting will be Friday, Jan. 14 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and pottery will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
All the classes will reoccur on their respective days into February and can be found on Dairy Barn’s website.
In addition to serving as the education director at the Dairy Barn, Shaw is also a seasoned ceramicist and the instructor of the pottery class “Intro to Wheel Throwing.”
“I enjoy teaching this particular class, which is an intro to functional pottery using wheel throwing techniques and a potter’s wheel,“ Shaw said. “I think clay is an excellent medium for having a tactile experience with something that human beings have been creating with since we first got our hands on it. I think this class is sometimes folks’ first experience with clay and it’s really gratifying to see them work with a new material in such a hands-on way.”
Selia Shipman, a freshman studying early childhood education, has heard of the Dairy Barn and the classes they provide before. Although she has never attended a workshop, she is interested in enrolling in some of the available classes.
“That sounds super interesting,” Shipman said when she found out about the pottery class offered.
Although the Dairy Barn still puts much of their resources and energy into providing tactile art classes, Rebekah Halbirt, studio manager at the Dairy Barn, hopes to expand the coverage of the organization when it comes to other forms of art, including digital.
The pandemic halted some of the early efforts in that area, but newly appointed Halbirt is excited to get started.
“I just got hired over the summer and I'm hoping after this period of transition that now I'm in a better situation or understanding to open up open studios – fiber studios and digital studios – and kind of get that out to the public,” Halbirt said. “The Dairy Barn is known for ceramic studio and ceramic classes and I'm hoping that we're going to be able to get more diverse classes and workshops happening to let the public know that we also carry a digital studio and a fiber studio.”
Class attendees are required to pay a fee. The fee includes the necessary materials for pottery, but not the materials for the drawing and painting classes.
Drawing is $140 for members and $154 for nonmembers. Painting is $170 for members and $187 for nonmembers. Pottery is $206 for members and $226 for nonmembers.
Halbirt said a mission of the Dairy Barn is to create a space for people to reinvent themselves and find a creative outlet they may have been seeking. She said the organization is trying to help people educate themselves and possibly fill a creative hole in their life.
“I think that our idea is to present arts to the community for people that maybe creative endeavors aren't really going to put the food on the table, but it's something that will benefit their emotional health and their mental health, especially during a pandemic,” Halbirt said. “We all need something to look forward to, and I think that the Dairy Barn creates that kind of atmosphere.”