Students learn from artist at Waterworks residency

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2012

By Kierra Perry and Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Professional artist Felicia van Bork smiled softly as she glided around the second-floor studio of Waterworks Visual Arts Center on Thursday.
The sun beamed through the window, providing ample lighting as students participating in her Summer Middle School Art Residency began painting portraits of live models with India ink.
As they pulled their brushes across blank sheets of paper, van Bork reminded them how important it is to use shading to create facial features.
“My objective is to acquaint the students with different techniques, not to make beautiful finished products,” van Bork said. “My hope is that in future art classes, they’ll take what they’ve learned and be fearless.”
Deonna Morris, a rising freshman at Salisbury High School who attended Knox Middle, said the week-long residency has definitely given her a confidence boost.
“This has helped out my art a lot,” she said. “I learned how to draw people from different angles, I couldn’t do that before. And now I’m actually drawing what people look like instead of what I think they look like.”
Jenny Kridbbs, a rising eighth-grader at Salisbury Academy, said she’s enjoyed getting to work with charcoal and hopes to come back next year.
“From this experience, I hope to get better with my painting and drawing skills,” she said.
Katie Hepp, a rising freshman at South Rowan High who attended Corriher-Lipe Middle, said as she honed her techniques, she also gained perspective.
“I’ve got a better understanding of how artists create different things,” she said.
Van Bork said she’s been astonished by the amount of talent and dedication the students working under her from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day this week have shown.
“The class that I’m giving them is college level, and they are absolutely sticking with it. It’s incredible,” she said. “They are really showing their chops.
“Most notable is their attention span and focus, it’s just outrageous.”
But the program isn’t all work and no play.
“It’s been fun,” Morris said. “(Van Bork) lets us enjoy what we do.”
Hepp said the residency hasn’t been what she expected, in a good way.
“I wasn’t real sure about it at first because I’m not really good at drawing people, but after a couple of days it was pretty cool,” she said.
Don Moore, the art center’s interim director of education, said the students participating in the residency were selected by their middle school art teachers for being standouts.
“It is really such a rare opportunity to get this kind of quality instruction,” he said.
The program is provided free to students through a grant from the Proctor Foundation.
“The facility is fabulous, the supplies are wonderful and it’s been great because kids from all financial spectrums have been able to participate,” van Bork said.
The drawing and painting residency called “The Portrait in a Variety of Media” will wrap up today.
It has given students the chance to work hands-on to develop skills and try their hand at a variety of techniques.
“I think this is a great opportunity because I want to get into art school later, and when I apply this will look good on my resume,” Morris said. “Plus, it might help me get into some higher level art classes at Salisbury High.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.

Take a look
The public is invited to view the students’ artwork from the Summer Middle School Art Residency during a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. today. 
Waterworks Visual Art Center is located in downtown Salisbury at 123 E. Liberty St. 

Meet the artist: 
Felicia van Bork 

• Contemporary professional artist who does printmaking, collage, painting and drawing. 
• Received her Master of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design 
• Studied at Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto and in Florence, Italy as well as Columbia University in New York
• Residencies at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild in New York, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and at the McColl Center for Visual Art in Charlotte  
• Taught at Davidson College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Penn State University and the Behrend College 
• Van Bork’s encaustic portraits are on display at Waterworks Visual Art Center under the title “Portraits Just in Time through the summer