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OH Magazine | Extra Credit: Art

Laoni Davis of Eugene, Ore., shows Gail Harker, at right, the progress she’s made on her rust-themed book of felt. - Bonnie Garland/OH Magazine
Laoni Davis of Eugene, Ore., shows Gail Harker, at right, the progress she’s made on her rust-themed book of felt.
— image credit: Bonnie Garland/OH Magazine

Have you searched the nooks and crannies of Oak Harbor for activities that suit you, but haven’t quite found your calling? If you’re an artistic type, the fulfillment you seek can be found in our city's own Gail Harker Creative Studies Center.

Formerly hidden in an industrial area on Goldie Road in Oak Harbor, the center has a new location on Technical Drive, which is still close to the original.

“It justs feels more suitable,” said Gail Harker, the center's founder and namesake.

The center itself has been teaching courses adapted from the City and Guilds of London Institute for more than 11 years now. During that time, the center has established a reputation for instructional excellence that helps to successfully fill nearly every class before they even commence. Courses in various focuses begin periodically throughout the year, and progress through many levels spread out over several months.

“They start small,” said Harker, “and start to go bigger. We teach them how to design from the beginning.”

A number of classes will be available in September, ranging from beginner levels to intermediate lessons. Some will be taught by famed installation artist Richard Box, respected as much for his art as his scientific teachings. This author of five best-selling books will present a free lecture Sept. 21.

Also available in September are two classes taught by Gail Harker herself, who has been involved with creative studies for decades.

The school offers opportunities for art and textile courses alike, enabling students to learn anything from drawing, to stitching, and even collage making. Students can easily warm up to the experienced teachers, and become comfortable with using equipment like embellishing machines and employing various mediums, including acrylic paints and felt.

Despite the reputation of the prestigious school, Harker insists that her center is unusual because applicants have no need of qualifications or a portfolio before starting. Instead, students can begin portfolios during the classes themselves.

“Many [students] just want to have that experience of learning the elements of art,” Harker said of the minimal requirements.

Students come away from the sessions with valuable information and new or improved skills.

“Gail has a reputation as an international artist,” said Sabrina Bradley, assistant to Gail Harker for over two years. “She pairs her knowledge with a sensitivity for teaching individuals.”

Community Events, April 2014

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