New studio offers artists a community |

New studio offers artists a community

Headless, twisting ceramic female forms blackened by fire line a shelf behind sculptor Amanda Paoletti, one of the house artists now teaching at Artist’s Studio in the Foothills.

“It’s a lot about the vesselness. The idea that we’re in these bodies and the real stuff is in here,” Paoletti explained, pointing to the hollow opening of an unfinished woman’s body, torn up the middle.

“It is really a discovery path for me,” the 43-year-old mother of two boys said.

AS IF opened earlier this year when Paoletti joined with organizer and graphic designer Randy Rigg. The two see the building at 940 Idaho-Maryland Road, in Grass Valley in the former Cabinetry Solutions building, becoming what they say is a greatly needed center for artists.

“I kind of saw a niche we could fill for artists in the community,” Rigg said.

“We really want it to be an art center where it’s drawing from a member base” for artists to learn, teach and show their work, said Paoletti, who also is the ceramics departement manager and program director.

Nine resident artists filled six private studios weeks before AS IF was open to the public; now, they have a waiting list.

A colorful array of paintings and sculptures adorn the center’s gallery.

This fall, 12 artists will show their work from AS IF during the annual studio tour.

For Paoletti, finding the studio meant freeing herself from lugging around fragile sculptures and working in a freezing basement during the winter months.

“It’s such a ball and chain,” she said. “All I really needed was a kiln and a table and shelves to put my work,” she said.

Rigg realized the center had to be more than an artist co-op to survive.

“I found in my research that co-ops didn’t have a very long life span. I needed more of a business model,” Rigg said.

So he offered up memberships and a full class line-up along with promotional opportunities for artists, using his graphic design and advertising background.

Getting the word out this summer proved difficult, with little money in reserves for advertising. So far, the group has been relying on word of mouth.

“I have all these visions, but in reality, a handful of people even know we’re here. We’re in survival mode,” Rigg said.

Members have access to a full ceramics studio with potting wheels and kilns, printmaking equipment and a large format printer for reproducing originals. Small classes for adults and children are available throughout the week on subjects including printmaking, beginning drawing, figure drawing, oil painting, water color and plein air and landscape painting.

While more expensive than classes available at Sierra College, AS IF’s schedule offers more flexibility, Rigg said. People can sign up for monthly, weekly or daily membership at AS IF.

“The classes are really designed to train people so they can feel they can come back and work independently in the studio,” Paoletti said.

AS IF is open for members from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Stop by the center for a full schedule at 940 Idaho-Maryland Road, Grass Valley, or call 274-7000.

To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail or call 477-4231.

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