July Artist Spotlight: Multimedia Master, Anne Krocak

* Hi Anne, can you tell me what your art form is?  

I create pieces or public art works using paint, sculpture, clay, mosaic mediums, printing, recycled material and sometimes the community at large!

* Do you remember how you first became interested in the arts?

I knew I was going to become an artist when I was 6 years old and playing in a pile of dirt and found clay. I told my friend, who I was playing with, I am going to be an artist when I grow up. I look back at that experience as something that has stayed with me throughout the years.  I have found the process of creating art relaxing, exciting, moving and introspective often all at the same time.

* Do you have any advice for aspiring visual artists or artists in general?

I think you should follow your passion and explore the different possibilities...find a mentor who you admire and remember to have fun.

* How does teaching your craft affect your own art?

I am constantly growing; learning alongside my participating artists and often I’m inspired by watching them express themselves artistically.

* By the end of a week with you, what are a few things you hope most participants have learned?

I hope the young-artists learn that art is fun; gain new possibilities for their creations; a few new artists from art history, new skills and the joy of expressing themselves visually.

* What do you enjoy the most about working with older adults in your Artful Aging programs?

Watching them grow artistically and personally, find and create an artistic community, find self-confidence and share their skills and creation with others. I have watched many of my student-artist light up when they discover how well they paint. Many started out saying "I have never painted anything but the side of a barn" or "I can't draw a straight line" only to find the joy in being able to express an idea or story through drawing, painting or clay creation. I get to celebrate this new discovery with them and nothing could be more beautiful and fun!

* What are some differences and similarities you have noticed in how older adults and young students respond to your programs?

Older adults move with more carefulness sometimes with trepidation of years of being told they are not creative and "you can't do it". Young people usually run to an art activity and cannot wait to get involved. Given encouragement and support the younger people slow down and take their time to enjoy the process of creating something beautiful and the older adults discover that not only can they create and learn new skills but they have a lot of wonderful things to share. In other words, school age residencies and older adult residencies are exactly the same and completely different at the same time.  

* What does it mean to you to be a COMPAS artist?

Being part of the COMPAS community is a very special gift and I value all of the artists and staff I have had the pleasure to work with over the years. 

* Why do you think arts education is needed in our community?

As an art educator, parent and professional artist I have watched art education being watered down or lost from many schools and communities. It is a place and way people can connect while having fun learning about themselves and others! Having artistic ways to express yourself is incredibly important for everyone.

* How do you practice creativity in your everyday life?

I take time to look around me for aesthetic experiences that gives me a chance to breath in the beauty that is all around us. I try to paint every morning and am always sketching new ideas for future projects. I also garden and enjoy spending time outside. I find art all around me and enjoy watching people express themselves and find inspiration in everything.

* What projects or programs have you been working on recently?

I just finished a mosaic for Minneapolis Children's Hospital and have been working on a large scale piece for a community garden in Richfield. I am also working on a new series of paintings.