Spruill Center for the Arts

The Spruill Center for the Arts is a private, non-profit fine arts center located in the northern Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody, Georgia. Established in 1975, is the center is currently celebrating its thirty-six year open. The Spruill Center serves over 7,000 students each year. They offer high quality classes and workshops in the visual, literary, and performing arts. The center also has outreach programs for youth, seniors, and those with special needs.

There are two locations in Dunwoody which make up the Spruill Center for the Arts. The Education Center is located at 5339 Chamblee Dunwoody Road. A wide range of classes are offered there including painting, ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography, sculpture, and film. In addition the Spruill Center offers a variety of culinary classes led by Atlanta chef John Wilson, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. These classes are typically held off site. The Spruill Center offers an excellent Summer Art Camp for Atlanta area youth. The Education Center building is also home to the Stage Door Players, a local theater group.

The Spruill Center Gallery and Gift Shop is located nearby at 4681 Ashford Dunwoody Road. The gallery hosts exhibitions by local and nationally known professional artists. The current exhibition showing at the gallery is “Align,” which runs through March 19, 2011. This exhibition features the paintings, drawings, and photography of several artists, illustrating the importance of linear form in their work. The Spruill Center Gift Shop offers a selection of unique items, ranging from decorative arts to jewelry. The gallery and gift shop are housed in a restored farmhouse dating from the mid 1860s. The historic structure was home to several generations of the Spruill family, who were among the first settlers in the Dunwoody, Georgia area. The five acre property includes two restored outbuildings, a smokehouse and a seed house. The buildings are a good example of southern farmsteads from that era. Visitors to the gallery and gift shop may enjoy a walk around the grounds. The art gallery and home are open Wednesday through Saturday from 11am-5pm. Admission and parking are free.

Part of the mission of the Spruill Center for the Arts is to foster understanding and appreciation of the visual and performing arts. The center’s Prospective Gift Shop offers consignment artists the opportunity to sell art at the Spruill Center Gift Shop. Visitors to the Dunwoody area may enjoy attending the gallery exhibitions and events, as well as touring the historic house and grounds.

Performing Arts Jobs Can Depend on Theatrical Training and Community Theater Connections

Everyone needs to have a support network for any activity they are involved with. This might not be a huge network and it certainly doesn’t need to be ‘in person’ support, but people need people. Don’t feel that you are weak or incompetent if you seek help and support. The best projects and people on the planet will tell you that support is a huge part of why they are so successful. It must be noted that these relationships are two way streets.

So, on to the support groups which are available to anyone…

Community theater is one of the most overlooked training grounds for performing arts. Most of these theater groups are small non-profit organizations that are looking for people who want to become involved, and for your time the return is tremendous. A series of behind the scenes positions and tasks can give you insight into how theaters of any size work. Starting out by building sets and assisting backstage sets the groundwork. Moving up to being a stage manager and producer can help you learn the inner workings of a show – how it happens and what drives it forward. If you like you can move up to a director position and really take charge.

However, most people who get involved want to act, and this is where you can really work your chops. Different groups often have different focuses; dramas, musicals, original works, socially significant plays, etc. By working with different theaters and directors you can try your hand at all kinds of work. This can fill out your theater resume, so if you have a desire to shift to professional work, casting people will see you’ve had some level of experience. It all helps.

On a more personal note, try to find some people who have been around the scene for a while. Talk to them and find out if they would like an assistant on their next project. Chances are huge that they will be happy to have you, and you can gain much personal insight and advice from these folks. Another benefit and one you shouldn’t overlook is that they are more likely to cast you in future productions. They see what you can do and you have the advantage of that relationship forever.

Another piece of support can come from former formal instructors. There are lots of training centers of various types that are available (Google acting class if you don’t believe me.) Once you have taken a class these instructors can become friends or consultants. It may develop into a mentor type relationship or you may start taking private acting lessons, but instructors in this field generally are doing it because they love what they do and discovering new talent is a feather in their cap.

Lastly I would say read a book. There are lots of books out there on theater, lighting, acting, ‘the method’, improv, and other aspects of the theater. Not only is this an invaluable resource, but also, perhaps surprising to some, another personal connection. Most of these authors are pleased to hear from readers and are willing to communicate through e-mail, over the phone, or sometimes even in person. People appreciate people who appreciate their work, and you have supported them financially by buying their book.