Inspirational Creativity on Main Street

Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

The introduction to the Inspiration Art Academy on Longmont’s Main Street is the inviting, brightly painted bench outside; then the gaily colored clothes and crafts displayed in the window. Inside, the long Academy art space is a kaleidoscope of colors and textures on the walls, stored in transparent bins and even hanging from the ceiling.

Student handiwork at the Inspiration Art Academy, Photo: Sheila Conroy

The founder and owner of the Inspiration Art Academy, Cynthia Barnes, has had a long and varied life pursuing her passions of art and education. It has taken her across the country and to Europe and Africa, before returning to Colorado.

Asked by a friend to help her young daughter with a sewing project since her school no longer had a home economics class, Cynthia worked with the child and then found that more parents wanted their children to experience creating art by sewing clothing and other items.

Cynthia had earlier discovered the Teaching for Artistic Behavior program (TAB) that “is a philosophical approach to art education that places children at the center of art making choices.” The goals of this nationwide organization blended with Cynthia’s aim to nurture children’s creativity through art and she decided 5 years ago to open the Inspiration Art Academy.

Imagination Academy/Photo by Henry Jones

The first thing young students learn in the sewing classes are the basics of how to use a sewing machine and how to be safe when using the machine. Next each child decides what item they want to make and what sort of fabric they want to use. Beginners usually start with basic pattern such as a backpack, pajama bottoms or a skirt. Students create a basic pattern for the item before choosing the fabric. If a child wants to have a skirt made of purple fleece with a sheep pattern, let’s go for it!

Phone cases at Inspiration Art Academy, Photo: Inspiration Art Academy

By the next level, students graduate to zippers and sleeves, making patterns for dresses or stuffed animals and just thinking “outside the box”.  If a child does not want to hem the trouser bottoms, or decides to have pockets in two different places on the dress, or the platypus should be covered in polka dots, that’s fine – it means that nobody else will have the same thing – it is all their own.

Art classes follow a similar format. Art isn’t just drawing a vase of flowers or a jug. At the Inspirations Art Academy students are encouraged to look through all the supply filled boxes to create unique pieces of art. This looks like it might become a house, or maybe a car, or even a locomotive. And what color should it be? And can this blue cling wrap be a swimming pool? And maybe I can use a spatula to create a pattern in the thick paint on this cardboard circle? And then spray it with sparkle paint!

Plenty of art choices at the Inspiration Art Academy, Photo: Sheila Conroy

So, the classes at the academy are not only promoting creativity and artistic skills, but also about having FUN.

The academy has a wide range of classes aimed at school-aged children and teens. Most are limited to four students per 90 minute class and offered once a week for 6 weeks. Half and full-day classes during school breaks are also available, taking into account the differing dates from the various local school districts.

Cynthia will also teach private lessons for students who want more individual help with a particular project or process. And adults can also work in small groups with Cynthia if they need to reignite their sewing skills or just boost their creativity.

To find out more about the Inspiration Art Academy, visit the website at , call them at (720) 273-2477 or drop in at 457 Main Street.

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