Calling all Art Lovers! We have a new activity on our schedule called Art Club. Think of it like our book club, but instead of reading and discussing a book every week, you’ll observe the works of a well-known artist and chat about your impressions and ideas.

The YMCA’s Art Club is moderated by Dana Pelham, art lover and staff member at the West End YMCA. We asked him what people can expect from this weekly event and here’s what he had to say.

How can people join Art Club?

We’ll be meeting once a week to discuss a well-known artist’s work. Our meeting time is every Monday at 3:00 pm, starting June 8 2020. All you have to do is sign up on The Bright Spot activities page. Then, on Monday shortly before 3:00 pm, you will receive an email with a link to the Zoom session.

What would you say to someone who feels intimidated by Art Club?

Taking in art is such a personal experience for everyone. The impressions we get from each work can vary greatly from person to person, and are often rooted in the experience we have in our own lives. It’s natural to worry how others will respond to our interpretations because we feel so vulnerable sharing them. That holds some people back from expressing their ideas, but it shouldn’t! We have such a great opportunity to connect in a meaningful way during our discussions. What I’d like to tell people is that in this format, they don’t need to worry.

The first thing you can do as a participant in Art Club is sit back, relax, and enjoy the feelings that the art inspires in you. Then, share those feelings with the group.

Facts and historical details about the piece and the artist will come up in our discussions, but it’s not the first thing you should concern yourself with. What we’re really here to do is connect over our shared love of art!

How can participants prepare for the discussions each week?

Start by looking over the artwork and asking yourself a couple of basic questions:

  • Does the art set a certain mood?
  • What stands out to you?
  • Where do your eyes travel first, second, last?
  • What is it that draws your attention and why?
  • Why do you think the art makes you feel the way it does?

If you want to delve deeper into technique and style, consider these questions:

  • How is the artist using colour, lighting, texture, shape, perspective, form, shading, and space?
  • How has the artist used these elements to create emotions and a story?
  • Has it been effective?

In the end, there is no one singular understanding of a piece of art (not even the artist’s intent!). Why, for instance, did I cry, feeling the horror of the act, while viewing The Death of Innocence at the Vatican, but not when reading the story of Herod’s horrid decree? Why do Monet’s Poppies fill me with warmth and a sense of well-being? Ask yourself what it is about yourself and your personal history that influences your response to each piece of art, and you’ll be right at home in Art Club.

Starting Monday, June 8, 2020, at 3:00 pm, we will be discussing the works of Thom Thompson. You’ll get a chance to enjoy a viewing of some of his most famous pieces of work, like The West Wind. We’re looking forward to seeing you and hearing your insights and impressions!