Where everyone is an artist

Joyce Dillon Studio offering classes in photography, sculpture, drawing and more in coming weeks

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Everyone needs a creative outlet. For the Pend Oreille Arts Council — and more specifically, the nonprofit’s recently opened Joyce Dillon Studio — that outlet can be anything you want it to be, regardless of prior experience. One must simply be willing to learn.

In that spirit, the studio — named for Joyce Dillon, who died in 2020 and left a portion of her estate to POAC — is offering no shortage of classes in the upcoming months, hoping to ignite North Idaho’s creativity in an affordable and accessible way.

Artists in the Joyce Dillon Studio show off their work. Courtesy photo.

Jan Rust, who serves as the chair of the JDS committee, told the Reader that she feels compelled to volunteer her time to the studio because she believes “people are healthier, happier and more fulfilled when they are learning and creating.”

“I think the art studio fills a need for community members to expand their skills, enjoy the creative process, meet other like-minded people and add some beauty to their lives,” Rust said. “I also believe that, because the classes are varied in time, length, medium, complexity and cost, the studio program can provide a positive experience for a broad cross section of the Sandpoint population.”

That variation is on full display under the JDS class listings on the POAC website, with classes offered over the next few months in everything from acrylic painting to wildlife photography, fabric art to watercolor work, and figure drawing to print making. Some of these courses last for only one session, while others are offered as a series. 

Registration closes five days before each class is scheduled, with a required minimum of four participants signed up in order for the class to take place. Each course will see a maximum of 10 students.

“Our intention was to keep prices to a minimum for students while providing a fair wage for instructors,” said POAC Arts Coordinator Claire Christy, noting that cost is often associated with the class’ length. “A one-time workshop — like dream catchers — will be around $30, and a 6-week course geared toward artists — like principles of design — will cost $180.”

Christy said that instructors are paid hourly based on enrollment, so the more students they have, the more they get paid. 

“Student costs are kept to a minimum,” Christy added. “If we only meet the minimum of four students, POAC breaks even and the instructor is still paid.”

To those debating whether or not an art class might be for them, Rust said it’s important to know that each class at the Joyce Dillon Studio is “designed to work for everyone.”

“Classes are small in size and the instructors embrace the idea of teaching multiple levels in every class,” she added. “The teachers are all local artists who love what they do and they want everyone to enjoy a personalized creative experience. Beginners as well as practicing artists are encouraged to participate.”

Those interested in taking art classes at the Joyce Dillon Studio should check POAC’s website often, organizers said, and sign up for their desired class as soon as possible.

“We are adding new courses in a variety of subjects all of the time,” Christy said. “Many classes are designed for beginners, so don’t be discouraged if you have no art background.”

The Joyce Dillon Studio is located above the POAC office at 110 Main St. in Sandpoint. To see a complete list of classes, head to POAC’s website at artinsandpoint.org and scroll down to the “art class registration” link. You can also reach the current class catalog by going straight to artinsandpoint.org/jds-student.

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