WLC art teacher seeks to foster creative play in adults

  • Wilton-Lyndeborough art teacher Emily Hall has launched a new business to help adults engage in creative play. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Wilton-Lyndeborough art teacher Emily Hall has launched a new business to help adults engage in creative play. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/2/2021 4:04:46 PM

If there is one thing that Emily Hall believes adults need more of, it would be creative play.

And if there was ever a time in history where people require a little downtime this would be it. Adults don’t typically let their minds go free. There are too many things to do and too little time. The never-ending cycle of work and home projects, kids and chores is something that is always there. But for 90 minutes, Hall, who teaches art at Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School, wants everyone to shut off whatever that background noise is and just be present.

Hall said there’s something about living in the moment that is powerful. That’s what she wants to teach people through her online classes, Rekindling Creative Play & Imagination for Adults through her new business, Studio Gnome.

“I have the power to create something right now,” Hall said. “I want to teach adults to be more creative. So how do I do that?”

It starts by creating an environment where people can be imaginative and let everything in.

“It’s okay to be a little goofy. It’s okay to make a weird voice,” Hall said. “It’s really about breaking open the options of possibility.”

The classes will be 90 minutes each and you might be in an internet room with those you know or complete strangers. There’s a max of six per class and the goal is to make it a place where everyone feels comfortable enough to let down their guards and allow the creativity inside to take over.

“It’s an opportunity to connect, an opportunity to fall into that open space,” Hall said. “To me, that just feels very powerful.”

GNOME is an acronym and it stands for: Greetings; Notice your thoughts and energy; Opening self up; Making and creating; and Express and reflect. And that’s exactly how the class will go. There will be introductions and a chance to break the ice, mindfulness activities and playful exercises. While the idea is to foster creativity, about a third of the class will be a chance to simply create. It could be a painting or drawing, a journal entry or making a puppet show. And then opening up the room to share.

She wants others to play with principles of art and design, look at rhythm and contrast, color and pattern. The point is to take a mental break and be present – something that is easier said than done.

For now, Hall will offer what she calls foundation classes. If things go well and participants want more, she has ideas for more focused classes down the road.

“My goal in the future is to build off some of those art practices,” she said, things like music and art theory.

The plan for this summer is to keep everything online, but Hall said she would love to do in-person classes if there was a demand.

“I want to keep building the momentum for this inclination I had and give it to the world,” Hall said.

Art has been a steady presence in her life and it has really shaped the person she has become.

“From the experiences I’ve had, just being an artist through childhood and being fortunate enough to have a home that really celebrated the arts, it just kept growing on itself,” Hall said. “I loved the arts growing up. And I just want to continue to foster that as adults.”

Hall, who has been at WLC for two years after spending 15 years in Richmond, Virginia, grew up in Milford, lived in Amherst and graduated from Souhegan High School. She now calls Mont Vernon home.

She started an Indiegogo to help fund the venture and it went live on May 15 and through Wednesday morning had raised more than $3,200 of its $7,000 goal. The funds brought in will go toward Hall’s time (this is her summer job after all), marketing, printing and shipping costs, as well as materials. It is open through June 16.

For $50, you get a 90-minute class that will be scheduled for July or August, and a limited edition art print of either “Surrealist Play” or “Raven,” which Hall painted both of last year. The type of class – group or private – and size of print varies depending on what you give.

“And there’s only 99 of each size being printed,” Hall said.

To learn more, visit https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rekindling-creative-play-imagination-for-adults#/. For more on Studio Gnome, visit https://www.studiognome.com/.

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