Embrace the Atelier Way at Art Ovation Hotel

Visual Arts

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JUL 13, 2018

The artists of Southern Atelier Center for the Arts have taken over the artist’s nook in Art Ovation Hotel this past week, and stay in residence through the end of Saturday for anyone looking to learn a little bit more about the school and the training it offers. With easels, charcoals and oils laid out (not to mention some dropcloth to protect the Art Ovation floors), the varied students of Southern Atelier will be creating live each day in front of hotel guests and passersby, and welcoming all comers to explore their own creative side.

Founded by Charles Miano, the Southern Atelier focuses on classical training, with an emphasis on the fundamentals. For Li Volk, a Southern Atelier student of two years and now executive director, that discipline, as opposed to the freewheeling but aimless creativity she sees often endorsed by instructors, made all the difference. Pivoting from a career in marketing, she picked up the paintbrush. “Everybody has this dream,” she says, but not everyone takes the plunge.

But many do, and Southern Atelier students range from a rising senior at Pine View School to a retired elderly gentleman looking to explore his artistic side in his golden years. One student even chose Southern Atelier instruction over attending a master’s program after graduating from New College of Florida. “If you want to be a serious artist,” says Volk, “you need to have fundamentals.”

Also fundamental to the Southern Atelier method is the belief that art can be available to anyone, and anyone can be an artist. More important than innate talent or experience, says Volk, is patience and a desire to learn. “Everyone can paint. Everyone can draw,” she says. “Everyone can be trained.”

In that spirit, for the last two days of their residency in Art Ovation Hotel, the artists of Southern Atelier look to set up a still-life table full of supplies for passersby who feel the urge to try their hand at some spontaneous creation. “Something triggers,” says Volk, “and people want to take the step.”

Pictured: Li Volk (center right) and the students of Southern Atelier in the artist's nook at Art Ovation Hotel. Photo courtesy of Southern Atelier.

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