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Art instructor Kate Langlais teaches a variety of virtual art classes through the Paradise Center for the Arts, which will soon be offered at no cost. One of her February classes, held on Valentine’s Day, focuses on love-themed art for any age. (Metro Creative Images)

Art instructor Kate Langlais has gotten the hang of teaching painting and drawing classes virtually.

Through the Paradise Center of the Arts, Langlais has made art classes accessible to families while navigating barriers needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Now, with a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, she is able to offer her classes for free to any Minnesota resident.

“I think this is a phenomenal thing [Kate is] doing for the community,” said Paradise Center for the Arts Operations Manager Julie Fakler. “She’s making the tuition free for the classes and for those in need who can’t afford the arts supplies. I have monitored or watched some of her classes and she’s an amazing teacher.”

Fakler said students on the east coast have participated in the classes, which is a rare opportunity the virtual format allows. Langlais sends supply lists to those outside the area. Anyone out of state needs to pay for the class, since the grant only covers Minnesota residents, Fakler explained.

Class participants who can afford to make a donation to the Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault are encouraged to do so, said Langlais. The Paradise Center has a limited number of art supply kits for families who cannot otherwise afford to access art materials. To request a kit, Langlais encourages families to register early.

“There’s paint, paint brushes, paper and canvases, and sometimes kids in the same family can share a kit too, or buy extra brushes if they need them,” Langlais said.

Unlike when she teaches in person, students don’t need to feel pressured to finish their projects or reach a stopping point by the end of class; they don’t need to pack up and go home because they’re already there. Everyone works at their own pace, she said, and no one gets bored. Often the children email her after the class to ask her questions or show her their work.

Langlais offers a number of her classes weekly through a month’s time and repeats the classes periodically. For most classes, she teaches two sessions for two different age groups — one for grades one through six and the other for grades seven through 12 plus adults.

During one virtual class offered in February, Langlais will teach two age groups how to draw portraits. These classes are 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays in February for children in grades one through six and 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays in February for seventh- through 12th-graders and adults.

The Minnesota-themed painting class Langlais teaches is geared toward students in grades one through six and takes place from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays in February. She covers a variety of subject matter, such as the state tree and Minnesota-born musicians like Bob Dylan. For variety, she’s also taught students how to make ‘Peanuts’ comics during these lessons.

If families are looking to get creative on the weekend, Langlais also has a virtual class for that. She teaches a class on painting landscapes from 1 to 2 p.m. for grades one through six and from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. for grades seven through 12 and adults on Saturdays in February.

Langlais teaches holiday-themed classes throughout the year, and in February, that means Valentine’s Day. She plans to explore the topic of love-themed paintings from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14. This class is open to all ages, so Langlais will adjust the content to the age groups that attend and talk about the use of color in expressing love through art.

As winter turns to spring, Langlais will introduce artists to other subject matters and repeat many of the February classes in April or May. March will include class on painting from life, science painting, and a St. Patrick’s Day session for all ages. On famous artists’ birthdays, she teaches students the painting and drawing techniques of the celebrated artists. Featured artists in the upcoming months include Piet Mondrian, Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Joan Miro and Mary Cassatt.

Additionally, Langlais plans to offer a still life painting class specifically for students in grades one through six in April and an Islam art study for all ages on May 8, during Ramadan.

A complete listing of class times, topics and recommended supplies is listed at bit.ly/3qHN2Yl.

Reporter Misty Schwab can be reached at 507-333-3135. Follow her on Twitter @APGmisty. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved. 

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