Palette Community Art Center Invites Local Residents to Partake in Art
For as long as she can remember, art has been Rebecca Cisneros’ passion. She loved it as a kid, she practiced it all through school, and after graduating from Zionsville High School in 2006, she pursued a fine arts degree at Herron School of Art and Design with a focus in painting.
“Having an art practice has taught me how to be present and how to appreciate beauty in many forms,” Cisneros says. “Being in an artistic flow keeps me present, and connects me to life in a way that is unique and human.”
She previously worked in the Zionsville Community Schools Universal Preschool, and enjoyed introducing different kinds of art to young minds. Still, she felt compelled to do more.
“I wanted to combine art-making with teaching experience, so in 2016 I opened the Palette Community Art Center,” says Cisneros, noting that the business recently moved to a new location on Main Street.
“It’s fun because you’re walking down Main Street and there are all these shops and restaurants – then there’s this strange little 500-square-foot space that’s just for making a huge mess,” Cisneros says with a chuckle.
And making a mess is precisely the point. She even had the floors epoxied so that students can go crazy.
“Getting the chance to expose younger kids to that sort of creativity and exploratory experience is really good for them – especially since in school they have to follow so many rules, leaving little room for exploration and discovery,” says Cisneros, who focuses on process-based, rather than product-focused, art.
This process means that students won’t always take art home, as the focus is not on individual projects but rather on the journey. Part of that journey involves failing, which can be a beautiful thing in the eyes of an artist.
“We are lovers of failure here because we realize that if something doesn’t work out, something else works better, which is a really good way to learn,” explains Cisneros, a mother of two (Penelope, 9, and Sterling, 2).
Though it can be intimidating for some children to embrace the notion of failing given the negative connotation associated with the word, failure can open up new possibilities at Cisneros’ facility.
“There’s always an opportunity for growth even if it’s not in the direction you expected,” Cisneros says.
According to Cisneros, the most important factor when approaching a project at the studio is to not expect a specific outcome. It’s all about abandoning the notion that there is a right and a wrong way of doing things, and simply appreciating the process.
“When a child, or anyone, learns art appreciation, they are also learning to appreciate other people’s life experiences and perspectives, and seeing beauty in other people connects us to each other,” Cisneros says. “I cannot say enough about the profound benefits that come from an art practice.”
Though Cisneros is a commissioned painter, at the Palette Community Art Center participants tackle many mediums including weaving, ceramics, printmaking, kinetic art and more. Cisneros invites artists of all kinds to teach at the studio, and she welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with additional teachers.
“I think of this as a neighborhood art studio, and I’m all about involving the community,” says Cisneros, who recently joined the Zionsville Cultural District board. “This is meant to be a space for creating all kinds of art – writing, performance art, all of that.”
Cisneros holds day camps throughout the year during school breaks, but the most sought-after camps are held in the summer, and are available in both half- and full-day formats. This year’s themes revolve around concepts such as friendship, animals, amusement parks, bugs, unicorns, and – the most popular – Harry Potter.
“For Harry Potter, I’ll do the art and then a science teacher from Pike is going to do these cool things like creating invisible ink and teaching light refraction,” Cisneros says.
The studio’s leaders also utilize local parks during summer camps, including Lions Park, Lincoln Park and Elm Street Green Park.
Summer camps were delayed a bit this year due to COVID-19 but ran with morning and afternoon camps through the end of July. Cisneros made sure campers wore masks and practiced social distancing.
In addition, the studio is available for special events, scouting meetings and birthday parties.
“I’m pretty much working every weekend with birthday parties,” Cisneros says. “I love it because the kids love it. In fact, I’ve had several come back to celebrate their birthday here three years in a row.”
Cisneros is thrilled to be sharing her love of art with the Zionsville community because, as she says, “Art has the power to transform us.”
Palette Community Art Center is located at 295 South Main Street in Zionsville. For more information, call 317-999-5691 or visit itsaspacetocreate.com.