Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Get drawing practice for free: go figure!

By Kayla Marchetti

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For all drawers out there, there’s a chance for some figure drawing at the Studio Union Arts Gallery through April 11.

But these figures are nude.

The drawing class is situated in a dark room with a single spotlight shining down on a blanket-draped table as a nude model stands perfectly still. In last Wednesday’s class, there were five students vigorously drawing, glancing back and forth from the model to their work every few seconds. A member of the Student Union Art Gallery was also present to keep track of time. Funky music played in the background, which seemingly corresponded to the amount of time left for each pose.

Each student had a different style of drawing and interpretation of each pose. Between poses some students chatted and admired each other’s work. Throughout each session students were given around seven poses to work with, giving students more opportunities to be proud of their work.

“I am not an art student, I am a biology major studying Naturopathic medicine,” said University of Massachusetts student Elizabeth Schroeder. “I have taken art classes in high school and other workshops, but I have never done a figure drawing class before. I wanted to try something new.”

Schroeder said that she had missed the classes last spring semester and knew she wasn’t going to miss out this year.

“[I was] nervous at first drawing a random naked stranger. But just looking at the person’s body and the shapes, it was cool to see a naked body from that perspective,” she said. “You know, to be able to look at it as a bunch of different shapes that create a human body.”

Figure model and fellow UMass student Alyssa Arietta said she has been a nude model for over two years. She admitted that she chose the job when she was considering declaring a theater major during her freshman year. Arietta said that since becoming a model she is comfortable in front of audiences.

“Being naked in front of people, you don’t get more relaxed than that,” she said.

She said little goes through her mind during the five to 45-minute sessions.

“[It’s] just like mediating, trying to guess how much time I have left and my next pose,” she said.

Open figure drawing and model hiring director Kathryn Lacroix encourages more people to attend these sessions, as no artistic background is required. She says these classes are here to benefit the students.

“We have no money, it’s work study funded, grants pay for it,” Lacroix said, adding that it is important for people to support these events because without attendance their grants and subsequently free classes could be cut.

Lacroix was enthusiastic about the increasing number of attendees over the past few weeks. She urged others to spread the word around campus about this class. There are plenty of easels and enough space to accommodate a large crowd, but students must bring their own sketchpads, drawing tools, erasers and sharpeners.

The sessions occur each Wednesday in the Studio Union Arts Gallery from 6:30 to 9 p.m. until April 11.

Kayla Marchetti can be reached at [email protected]

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