POAC opens Joyce Dillon Studio

An open house for the new classroom resource is scheduled for Jan. 7

By Claire Christy
Reader Contributor

The Pend Oreille Arts Council invites the community to an open house event at the Joyce Dillon Studio on Friday, Jan. 7, from 5-7 p.m. upstairs in the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, located at 110 Main St. in downtown Sandpoint. 

Upon her passing in summer of 2020, Joyce Dillon willed portions of her estate to multiple local nonprofits, including POAC. Carol Deaner, POAC board president, with the rest of the POAC board and staff, aspired to find the perfect use for Dillon’s generous donation. They wanted to find a use that spoke to POAC’s mission and honor Dillon. This is where the Joyce Dillon Studio concept was born. 

Jan Rust teaches trial-run weaving class in
POAC’s Joyce Dillon Studio. Courtesy photo.

“One of her last wishes was to help POAC continue its mission of providing artistic and cultural opportunities for the citizens of our community,” Deaner said. “The first step of this wish is the establishment of a classroom/studio where local artists and students, both young and old, can continue expanding their artistic endeavors.” 

A space upstairs in the Music Conservatory building was designated as a classroom, renovations began and the JDS Committee was formed. POAC Boardmember Jan Rust took charge of the committee and enthusiastically dove into the project. 

JDS Committee member and local artist Patricia Ragone was involved in the early planning stages. 

“I was honored to help in the creation of the JDS,” Ragone said. “The creation, in my opinion, was for the friends and family of Joyce Dillon. It’s the recognition that even though death has taken Joyce’s physical presence, she will live on in the spirit of her namesake.”

The committee found instructors and built a class catalog to ensure that students would get the most out of POAC’s offerings. 

“Since retirement, I have traveled all over the country to take art classes and workshops,” Rust said. “It has enhanced my life so much [that] I want others to enjoy similar experiences right here in Sandpoint.”

Consistent with POAC’s mission and Dillon’s desire to help the community, the JDS Committee aspires to make art classes accessible to everyone. Classes are designed to be affordable, with pricing dependent on class length. 

“Practicing artists along with brand new artists should feel welcome,” Rust said. “The schedule, the content and the learning opportunities are so diverse that everyone should be able to find the perfect experience.”

Pulling from POAC’s artist member list, the JDS Committee recruited instructors who would provide a wide variety of courses. Offerings range from polymer clay sculpting to wildlife photography. The course catalog will go live on Thursday, Jan. 6 at artinsandpoint.org/jds-studio. 

Barry Burgess, who is teaching “Drawing as a Creative Process,” had this to say to potential students: “You’ve read enough books, clicked the bait, Googled, Facebooked and Twittered yourself into insomnia. The JDS studio at POAC offers the place for artists to gather, learn, share and most importantly to do their art. 

“The fine new facility is open for the aspiring artist within to find the creative spirit you know lives in your bones,” he added. “Now is the time to liberate your inspiration and search out that bohemian you know is inside and join the JDS studio.” 

The Joyce Dillon Studio will be open to the public during the Jan. 7 open house event. Visitors can explore the class catalog and learn how to sign up for courses while enjoying a complimentary glass of wine. 

More information about the Joyce Dillon Studio can be found on the POAC website: artinsandpoint.org.

Claire Christy is the arts coordinator for the Pend Oreille Arts Council.

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