Kathryn Swantee is spreading her artistic wings with a new commercial venture, Concepts Art Studio, which opened at 285 Central St., Suite 217 in Leominster last month.
“I have been a professional visual artist my entire professional life, as well as a teacher, and creating a space for area students and emerging artists was a lifelong dream,” Swantee said in a press release. .
Swantee, an award-winning artist, offers group and private art classes for students aged 10 and over in multiple mediums, as well as gallery art sales and art events. The scholarship is funding available to students through a grant from the Leominster Cultural Council.
A groundbreaking ceremony on May 21 drew Mayor Dean Mazzarella and State Representative Michael Kushmerek (D-Fitchburg), among others, including other artists and friends of Swantee, and an open house on the 23rd. May gave visitors the chance to paint rocks and do beadwork and baked clay projects.
Swantee grew up in Oxford, moved to Leominster years ago, and graduated from the School of the Worcester Art Museum in 1981.
“I have always been interested in art. My favorite thing to do is create, ”she said. “I have also used it as a form of therapy, both for myself and for others.”
Swantee has been teaching watercolor painting in the area for 25 years and said his first classes were held at Michaels. She said she traveled to provide her arts education to various locations in the area, including Mount Wachusett Community College, Adult Learning in the Fitchburg Area (ALFA) and senior centers in Leominster , Lunenburg and Fitchburg.
“It was time to have a space of my own where the students could come and see me,” she said of her studio.
Swantee said her commission work was “pretty regular” and she also illustrated children’s books.
“I went beyond the small space I had at home. I’m just doing my master key and my coaching there now, ”she said. “I rented the space the month before the lockdown, but luckily I had enough work going on (with other) projects to go through without classes for a while.”
Swantee said the response to her new studio and gallery has been “very positive so far”, and classes are going well and enrollment is increasing.
“I have a strong following and a lot of support,” she said. “The concepts should have a bright future. “
Additional art classes will be offered over the summer, and Swantee is also overseeing a new community micro-press, Swan Hope Press, with award-winning reporter Penney-Missouri (and Léominster Champion columnist) Sally Cragin which was created with grants from the Fitchburg Cultural Council. Their second collaboration, “The Therapy Cat Book – How Your Cat Can Become a Purr-Fect Therapy Pet,” will be on sale at Concepts along with Swantee’s artwork, cards, magnets and other creations.
“We’re working on our third now with no plans to end the collaboration,” Swantee said. “There will be a lot more books.
For more information, send an email [email protected] and follow Concepts Art Studio on Facebook.