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A spirit that is not afraid

Art museum begins new tradition: Studio Saturdays

This month, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art has been hosting several “Studio Saturdays” to engage the community in creating their own artwork. While the museum has housed hands-on art activities in the past, this year is the first time the museum is partnering with the College of Education on science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics to explore the intersection of science and art.

The Studio Saturdays series is inspired by the works currently on view in the museum's “Crafting America” exhibit. The exhibit was organized by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“At Studio Saturdays, participants have the opportunity to see works objects on view and then try their hand at creating a work of art,” said Charlotte Hendrix, senior communications and marketing specialist for the museum. “Auburn is the first location to host this diverse and inclusive survey of American craft from the 1940s to the present.”

The studios provide demonstrations and hands-on projects to allow for citizens to fine-tune their artistic skills. There, science education students can also gain experience as studio assistants.

Christine Schnittka, professor of science education, guides the demonstrations and engineering in crafts. The museum’s school and community programs senior manager, Christy Barlow, will also be contributing her expertise. 

"Studio Saturdays offer visitors new insights on the science behind familiar and unfamiliar art materials," Barlow said. "Knowledge of both subjects enhance enjoyment and learning.  Our aim is to build upon this partnership with the College of Education and other departments through a variety of channels, including K-12 educator workshops, university class visits and more community and campus engagements."

Most recently, the Jule Collins museum hosted an eco-printing class on Aug. 21. This Saturday, Aug. 28, they will be hosting a weaving class from 10 a.m. until noon. The classes are recommended for ages 10 and up, and admission is free and open to the public for as long as supplies last. 

“Everything one needs to make the craft are provided while supplies last,” Hendrix said. “Approximately 50 to 60 people attended the first two sessions, and we are very pleased to see a mix of ages — youth, community members and Auburn students.”

The final class of the month is on Aug. 28 and can be attended at no cost to the attendee. The museum welcomes donations to support its connections between art and the community. Monetary donations can be submitted on Auburn University's website or at

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