STLCCThe Saint Louis Community College System provides a primary source of nourishment for development of visual art locally. During summer, the Florrisant Valley branch offers a number of week long photography workshops covering such topics as large format, pinhole, and alternative photography. These workshops are designed to promote artistic interpretation in the photographic medium. I took the class in non-silver processes, Cyanotype and Van Dyke, taught by Christa Denny. A darkroom is available, and it was wonderful to have one available. However, these processes do not require one so I have been able to continue to work long after the workshop was over. I am now doing gum prints, a process which uses watercolor pigments as the toning agent. In addition, I am looking at ways to apply this technique to the ceramics class which I am now taking at the Forest Park branch. This class is held in the new Art Annex which also houses the print studio. Completely remodeled and opened this fall.
Of course, there is nothing unique about a college offering art instruction. What makes this system so important is the cost. Any artist in the area can get instruction and access to a studio with out reguard to how limited they may be financially. In addition, the instructors are artists. The system is providing support to working artists and the students are gaining by learning from those working in the field. Oh, and one more thing. Each branch has a gallery which is actively used. As a educational institution they are mindful to offer exhibits which are enlightening and informative of current movements in the art world.