Art classes can often feel stressful, complicated, and downright frustrating. Abigail Henderson – owner of Bloom, a community-based art studio at Artisan Forge Studios in Eau Claire – is looking to change that.
Henderson’s goal is for Bloom to be a safe and stress-free place for people to explore art without worrying about achieving perceived perfection, or whether it is accessible to them. Henderson considers Bloom’s studio classes to be “Anti-Wine and Paint” classes, so people can freely make whatever art they want to make and not have to copy an exact piece or achieve a set artistic goal.
“Through my few years of teaching, I saw a gap in art education,” Henderson said. “Whether that be for people who didn’t have access to art education, or whether people had special needs, or adults that just didn’t think art was for them anymore. So I kind of wanted a way to fill that gap.”
“I want people to leave my studio feeling like art is something for them.” –Abigail Henderson, art teacher and studio owner
Abigail Henderson runs the Adaptive Art Studio with special education teacher Grace Kreibich to provide people with disabilities a place where they can comfortably socialize and create art. Introductory classes are required so the instructors can learn more about the students and their needs and goals.
“I worked with a lot of (special education) students transitioning out of the school setting to community settings,” Henderson said. “During that transition, I felt like they lost a lot of things that they enjoyed, so that’s what inspired me to do the adaptive studio.”
The classes at Bloom are open to all ages, and everyone is encouraged to sign up.
“I want people to leave my studio feeling like art is something for them,” Henderson said. “I think a lot of times, there is some point in someone’s life that they’re either told that they’re bad at artwork, or they feel really self-conscious about something that they’re making, or that art is a waste of time. But I just really want (Bloom) to be a place where people can feel safe to express themselves through art and to feel comfortable and safe making art.”