By Natasha Anderson
John C. Campbell Folk School, in Brasstown, is excited to offer a new series of online classes from January through March 2023 in partnership with Lessonface, an innovative online learning organization founded in 2012 by previous John C. Campbell work study student Claire Cunningham.
“We began offering Zoom webinars at the start of the pandemic as a way to stay connected to students, instructors and the greater Folk School community,” says John C. Campbell programs director Darcy Holdorf. “As time progressed, we saw a great deal of interest in online programs, with several of the webinars attracting hundreds of attendees from more than 16 countries, and we received many requests from students wanting to take online classes.”
When Lessonface founder and CEO Cunningham reached out to discuss a partnership, the school decided the time was right to give the online format a try. Now students can choose from more than 30 classes in a variety of subjects including cooking, fiber arts, glass beadmaking, music, dance, painting, woodworking and writing. These online classes, just like the school’s in-person ones, inspire non-competitive, hands-on learning in an encouraging and supportive environment. An instructor leads each session, offering demonstrations and conducting group feedback. Students are encouraged to delve into the finer points of their class subject and may participate in a Folk School orientation and closing ceremony.
“The Lessonface platform is superb, allowing me to stay in close touch with each of my students, and to easily respond to questions at any time during the course,” says artist Joe Synan who will teach courses in watercolor and pastel painting.
During Synan’s classes, he will paint along with the students, who will be able to see his works and how he is creating them, through an overhead camera view. Each of the students will receive a workbook via email that outlines course activities and provides images of the paintings they will be making. Synan’s courses include morning and evening group sessions as well as private one-on-one Zoom sessions for individual coaching.
Classes vary in length and format based on the topic and the instructor. Tapestry artist Tommye Scanlin will teach basic tapestry weaving with two-hour classes once a week for three weeks. Between classes, students practice the techniques on their own. Scanlin’s tapestry design course will meet for two hours on two consecutive Saturdays.
“In this class, participants will discuss ideas for images they might want to weave and explore options for developing these in a way suitable to the tapestry process,” says Scanlin.
Class sizes range from 8 to 24 students. Tuition ranges from $60–$390, depending on class length and size. Material requirements will depend on the class topic and skill level.
Learn more and register at FolkSchool.org.