In her first year at Interlochen, Leslie Donaldson, new director of the College of Creative Arts, has put together an expanded line-up of adult classes and enrichment opportunities for the summer of 2014.
Since 1998, Leslie has been active as a leader for arts and culture in Michigan. She is best known for her work in the greater Lansing region where she led a community-based fine arts program, founded two contemporary art and performance spaces, coordinated a nationally recognized art festival, and served as the executive director of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing where she led in the development and implementation of the state’s first regional cultural economic development plan. In addition to her programmatic accomplishments, Ms. Donaldson has extensive experience as an arts consultant, community-builder and grant administrator. She is frequently tapped as a juror, arts instructor, speaker and mentor for emerging artists.
"In my new role at Interlochen I hope to build educational opportunities in all the art forms, increase offerings for educators, and provide special arts events that will bring together those of like-mind to address the topics and the interests of adults who are looking for creative outlets," says Donaldson.
Trained as a visual artist and musician, Leslie holds a master's in painting/printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and a bachelor's degree in studio art from Michigan State University. Her artwork incorporates drawing, painting, sculpture, performance and sound and her subject matter explores systems, nature and societal tools as influenced by her childhood. Her work has been exhibited in Michigan, Rhode Island and New York and she has been an artist-in-residence fellow at both Oxbow and Vermont Studio Center.
"In my previous position, it was my honor to serve as an advocate for the arts and to help educate others regarding the role that the arts could play in building a community," says Leslie. "I also greatly enjoyed providing one-on-one mentorship and developing programs to help strengthen the creative community. I soon began to realize that building and delivering arts educational opportunities for adults was where I wanted to focus my energies. An opportunity to join Interlochen to support adults interested in honing their creative skills was incredibly exciting to me. I am thrilled to return to my hometown of Traverse City and to be a part of a world-class arts institution where I can bring my energy and enthusiasm for artists of all ages."
"This year is our tenth anniversary for Adult Band Camp, and I hope we have an even larger 'reunion' of participants looking to celebrate," Donaldson says. "We will be offering two professional development classes as well - 'Building Your Brand: A Guide to Shameless Self Promotion for Creatives' and 'Introduction to Blogging for Artists and Writers,' both of which we hope will help any creative person looking to build awareness for their work with practical tools and industry 'trade secrets.' We have also dramatically increased the number of visual arts offerings this year. There are several one-day fiber arts classes that can be taken individually or as a four-day fiber arts package, something we have never offered before. We're offering packages for some of our courses to help enhance participants' experiences. For example, we are offering a back-to-back Beginning and Intermediate Drawing courses that could be taken individually, or as a five-day drawing experience. We are also excited to offer a new course titled 'Introduction to Digital Audio at Interlochen Public Radio,' led by IPR news director Peter Payette. Participants interested in radio podcasting or audio storytelling will learn about field recording, audio mixing and editing and will also get a behind the scenes look into the studios at Interlochen Public Radio."
The College of Creative Arts offers all of that and much more. Old favorites mix with new ones and art forms never before taught will soon be available under the tutelage of masters in the field.
"Whether you are an absolute beginner, have past training in the arts, make a living as a professional artist, or are an educator seeking to obtain continuing education credits, the programs available through Interlochen's College of Creative Arts are inspiring, engaging, immersive and fun," says Donaldson. "Everyone deserves an opportunity to connect, build skills, and share their passion for the arts in a supportive, entertaining, collaborative environment."