By Andrea Allis
A few Saint Mary’s University art students have joined members of the Winona community this fall for figure drawing sessions on Tuesday nights.
Dr. John Whelan, SMU art and design instructor, has been facilitating the sessions, which began last spring when he was teaching Drawing III. “There was a non-traditional student in my [Drawing III] class who was attending a drawing group in La Crosse,” Whelan said.
Whelan knew of several SMU students and some members of the Winona community who were attracted to the opportunity of figure drawing sessions as well. He then contacted Chair of Art & Design, Preston Lawing, who agreed to the arrangement.
“[SMU] and the [Art & Design] Department have been very supportive,” Whelan said.
A steady base of about eight to ten people attends the sessions, about two of whom are SMU upper-division art students, Whelan said. “Everyone brings their own supplies and the community members chip in to pay the model expenses,” Whelan said. There is no monetary cost to students.
The figure drawing sessions take place in the drawing studio in St. Joseph’s Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays while class is in session. They are open to all upper-division or experienced art students at SMU, Whelan said, but he asks that students who haven’t taken Drawing II or Drawing III speak with him before attending the sessions.
“I hope that more upper-division art students here will participate in the sessions in the future,” Whelan said. It’s not only a good opportunity to gain valuable experience, Whelan said, but it also “forms a link between the [Winona] community and the arts on [SMU’s] campus.”