The first thing you see at Dabble Art Center is a definition, painted on a wall, of what the word “dabble” really means. But what it doesn’t say is that this art center is a place where anyone can be inspired.
On an adjacent bulletin board, there’s an apt quote from Picasso, “Inspiration exists—but it has to find us working.”
Anyone is welcome to come to the art center—whether they’ve had no art classes or 5,000—and as the center’s mission statement puts it, it's “a great place for those individuals who have always wanted to dabble but didn’t know where to begin.”
Eight months ago, artist and art teacher Sheryl Cathers opened the center downtown as a place to have her classes. But it’s become much more than that.
It’s a place for kids and parents to learn together, a mini-gallery, a space for creative groups to come and enjoy, and even a place for the occasional ladies’ night out.
Cathers, who has taught art since 1997 at St. Mary’s School and is its fine arts director, said the arts community is thriving in Gilroy, and she is happy to be part of it. And whether locals dabble or are serious about their art, she’s there to help them become better at what they do.
“I was teaching from home, but it was difficult,” said Cathers, a long-time Gilroy resident. Because most of her students go to Dabble after school from St. Mary’s, it’s been convenient both for them and for her.
Her classes include students from kindergarten through high school, and she helps her students explore a variety of different art materials and media, as well as talking about the lives of great artists, theory and composition.
“We talk about looking for shape and color, and do a lot of color theory,” said Cathers. “We have free time at the beginning of class and then have the formal lesson.” She rotates media frequently so that students get acquainted with using pastels, watercolors and other materials in creating art.
Students with outstanding work get their art posted on the student exhibit wall, and Cathers often features works by other local artists on another wall.
Art classes are not only valuable for learning about art, but there are other lessons to be gained, Cathers points out.
“Some students are naturally gifted, and some are just looking for an activity,” she said. “It builds a lot of self-confidence and a real sense of accomplishment.”
Cathers also teaches “Mommy & Me” classes for parents and toddlers so that they can create together in a fun way.
For adults, she offers a variety of different options, including group or private lessons, custom lessons for groups, “Ladies’ Night Out” sessions, and fun classes like painting canvas shoes.
The “Ladies’ Night Out” includes an art project plus some nice extras. “We have a masseuse for everyone, we drink wine and have an art class,” said Cathers.
Cathers also offers a wide range of other options, including lessons for homeschooled students, help with school projects, and art-themed birthday parties.
She also offers the space to any creative group, like quilters or scrapbookers, who need more room to work on their projects. Art supplies are available, but visitors can feel free to bring their own.
If you are an artist looking for a place to create but don’t need instruction, Cathers can accommodate that as well.
Cathers, who is well known locally for her public murals, acrylic paintings and the backdrops she creates for the Gilroy Garlic Festival, said she is the only instructor at Dabble Art Center right now but hopes to add more teachers as demand for classes increases.
Dabble Art Center is at 7680 Monterey Rd. No. 101. Those who want to take art classes must RSVP in advance. For information, check out the website, dabbleartcenter.com or call 408-427-2204.