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Holladay Arts Council, Local Sculptor Offer Classes in Effort to Expand Artistic Reach in Community

Nov 05, 2015 01:48PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Brian Jones

Craig Fisher knows without question that there are many great artists in Holladay, and many residents with an appreciation for great art. In his experience, many local artists are paint artists, though, and Fisher and the Holladay Arts Council would like to expand appreciation of other areas of art in the community, while helping to develop local artists in other disciplines. To that end, Fisher, a professional local sculptor and member of the arts council, recently taught a beginning sculpting class for a dozen or so Holladay area residents. The two-part class was held on Oct. 10 and 24 at the Holladay City Hall, and will be, Fisher hopes, the first of many opportunities provided by the council to broaden the appeal and reach of fine arts within the community. 

Fisher, who grew up in the Mt. Olympus area and moved back to Holladay in the past few years, recently joined the arts council with an eye toward getting community members more involved in the arts. He studied ecology for a time in college, and has spent time studying anatomy, but has never had any formal art instruction other than art courses taken in high school. Fisher taught himself to sculpt after finding he occasionally had time on his hands as a single father. “I’d have extra time at night when my kids were in bed, and I started practicing and teaching myself the craft little by little,” he said. Over time, Fisher has built himself into a renowned sculptor, and although his studio is located in Holladay, he has had pieces commissioned all over the world, from Europe to New Zealand to Haiti. 

As a self-taught sculptor, Fisher sees possibilities for members of the community to take an interest in art and blossom as artists, even without a great deal of formal training. He has always enjoyed teaching. He holds classes out of his private studio and at the Pioneer Craft House, and while this was the first beginner’s class he has been involved with, Fisher found it to be very rewarding. “These are people that haven’t done this before. They’re expanding their horizons and it’s really fun to be a part of that,” he said. The hardest thing about teaching beginners, according to Fisher, is that they often want to immediately create something, and sometimes have difficulty being patient while learning the basics. “People are so eager to create a masterpiece right away,” he said. “They should really start with simple things.” 

Holladay resident Lee Snow and her granddaughter Logan Jones, who lives in the Ogden area, are exactly the kind of community members Fisher was hoping to reach with the class. Jones has had an interest in painting for some time, but jumped at the idea of learning about an artistic discipline she has had little experience with. “It’s something we’ve never done before,” Snow said. “I wanted to expose her to something different.” Snow and Jones both enjoyed the class and found Fisher’s obvious love of the subject matter particularly appealing. “I could tell he’s very passionate about what he does,” Snow said. 

Another participant in the class, Melyssa Ferguson of Mill Creek, had similar impressions of the class. Ferguson, who works in the graphic design field and has some artistic training, heard about the classes through a friend and rushed to sign up. She enjoyed the structure of the class, which spent the majority of the first day learning the basic rules of sculpting, with the second day set aside for working on a hands-on project. “I liked that he took time teaching us the basics before we jumped in,” Ferguson said. 

While a large number of residents inquired about the class, it was offered on a first-come-first-served basis, and was only able to accommodate a handful of people. Still, Fisher feels like the class served its purpose, and he’s excited at the prospect of offering it again in the future, especially considering the interest it generated. “The arts council’s mission is to nurture the arts in Holladay. It was great seeing members of the community branching out and feeling like we’re fulfilling our mission,” he said. 

For residents who are interested in getting started in sculpting and don’t want to wait for the next class, Fisher says there are private classes available, and are also a lot of surprisingly good books and online resources available. 

“The most important thing,” he said, “is for people to get started and build on that interest.”

Anyone wanting more information about Fisher’s work or future classes can contact him at craigfisherstudios.com.           

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