This time of year, many moons ago, I was in the middle of my first semester at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey, and taking a drawing class.

As part of our weekly assignments, our professor tasked us with keeping a sketchbook. We were to make studies of objects, create still lifes, and exercise our blind contour skills, among other things. The point was to keep us drawing regularly.

I still have this sketchbook; its pages full of failures and successes, and many attempts at achieving a believable ellipse. It’s recommended that students interested in an art-based career take drawing courses early on because that particular discipline is arguably the basis of all visual arts. At the time, I was planning to attend art school for illustration and fashion design, so an introductory and foundational course was perfect.

This season, like the one from my past, Crooked Tree Arts Center has a nice focus on this foundational art form, including classes, an exhibit, and lecture.

Local artist Nadia Daniels-Moehle has a pop-up exhibit called “CognEYEzant,” which explores her year-long project of drawing an eye every day. Daniels-Moehle, who has a passion for teaching, studying, writing, painting, and drawing, will also host two additional drawing-related events at CTAC in conjunction with her exhibit. Tonight, she is teaching a workshop from 6-8:30 p.m. designed to get high school students and adults started, or back into drawing; and on Tuesday, October 22, she’ll give a Coffee @ Ten lecture about “CognEYEzant.”

Another popular offering is Drawing Lab with Richie Gunn, which takes place every second Saturday of each month.

Drawing Lab enables individuals, ages 6 and up, to experience an instructive class without making a big commitment, time-wise or financially. It’s all the fun and none of the risk, as all supplies are included for a nominal fee.

The next Drawing Lab takes place on Nov. 9. Gunn, who holds a Master’s degree in Architecture from Savannah College of Art and Design, also teaches Drawing & Urban Sketching for students at least 16 years old, which concludes at the end of this month.

Even with these great offerings, students have left handwritten notes requesting more drawing classes and opportunities. Because of such positive feedback, Education/Outreach Director Kristi Wodek intends to continue offering such classes, workshops, and drop-in activities for both youth and adults. Drawing has become a staple for CTAC’s year-round programming, which makes complete sense seeing as how it’s a staple for the arts. Through current and future programming, CTAC is hoping to help artists of all ages and skill levels develop a discipline to draw daily, or at least on a regular basis. After all, as my college professor encouraged many years ago, those sketchbooks need filling. Come check out “CognEYEzant” between now and Oct. 26, and let CTAC draw you into some new experiences.

Alex Dailey is the Public Relations Specialist at Crooked Tree Arts Center-Petoskey. She can be reached at For more information about CTAC please visit

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