Alpha Workshops Studio School
Licensed by the New York State Department of Education, Alpha Workshops Studio School (AWSS) provides tuition-free classes in decorative arts and painted finishes. Open to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, this vocational program requires no prior arts experience for enrollment. Offered four times per year, INTRODUCTION TO DECORATIVE ARTS TECHNIQUES consists of a 10-week survey of the elemental techniques of decorative painting and fine wall finishes. The 26-week ADVANCED COURSE IN DECORATIVE ARTS TECHNIQUES, given twice a year and available to graduates of the introductory course by invitation only, develops technical mastery of gilding, glazing, Venetian plaster, faux finishes, casting and more. Some program graduates take staff positions in Alpha’s professional design studios and assist in the production of Alpha’s award-winning products; others find gainful employment in the design industry and related fields.
For further information and to apply to the Alpha Workshops Studio School training program, please call 212.594.7320 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.; fax 212.594.4832; email: email@example.com or write to: Alpha Workshops Studio School, 245 West 29th Street, 14th Floor, New York, New York 10001.
The Alpha Workshops Studio School conducts four 10-week Introduction to Decorative Arts Techniques sessions each year.
Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Introduction to Decorative Arts Techniques: Ten-Week Session
With guest lectures by Alpha’s three Project Managers, Head Trainer Carla Reyes gives students a comprehensive foundation in decorative painting and finishing techniques used by contemporary professional decorative artists.
Alpha supplies each trainee with a basic tool kit, all necessary specialty tools, equipment, and materials, and a lunch stipend. An on-site design library offers a comprehensive selection of books about the history and application of the decorative arts. Field trips to museums, show houses, and historic houses provide context for skills learned in the classroom.
Trainees must attend a minimum of 175 class hours and produce a full portfolio of samples to obtain a certificate of completion. Weekly written evaluations grade each trainee’s development of practical skills. A final portfolio review determines which trainees are invited to progress to the advanced course.
INTRODUCTION TO DECORATIVE ARTS TECHNIQUES
Week 1: Basic Studio Practices and Surface Preparation
Introduces the general protocols, procedures, and functions of a professional decorative artisan studio. Covers the properties of various surfaces (new wood, painted wood, metal, sheetrock, masonry) and the tools, materials and techniques (sanding, stabilizing, base coating) needed to prepare each to accept coatings and finishes.
Week 2: Basic Painting Techniques – Part I: Color Theory
Covers the properties of paint, and proper methods of mixing and applying paints taught via the creation of color wheels and grey-scale charts, and other visual matrices.
s 3: Basic Painting Techniques – Part II: Glazing
Covers the properties of
Week 4: Transfer Techniques
Covers the methods of copying and manipulating designs and images (including “pouncing” with graphite powder and the use of grids) used in the creation of murals, trompe l’oeil, and other representational treatments.
Week 5: Faux Finishing – Part I: Wood Grain
Covers an introduction to various woods used in decorative arts and how to simulate the appearance of select wood types using various faux painting tools and glazing techniques.
Week 6: Faux Finishing – Part II: Marble
Covers an introduction to various marbles used in decorative arts and how to simulate the appearance of select marble types using various faux painting tools and glazing techniques.
Week 7: Stamps, Stencils, and Block Printing
Covers the creation and application of stamps and stencils as methods of hand printing on paper for use in custom wallpaper design.
Week 8: Troweled Finishes
Covers the application of troweled finishes including “Venetian plaster” and stucco; mixing and tinting materials; manipulating and burnishing surfaces to achieve various finishes.
Week 9: Gilding
Introduces the history, methods, and materials used in the application of metal leaf to various surfaces in the decorative arts. Covers the application of composite gold and aluminum leaf to flat wood panels and carved moldings.
Week 10: Portfolio Preparation
Covers the final preparation of decorative finish samples for professional presentation (measuring, trimming, masking, arrangement, digital photography) and interactive mock-portfolio review session.
In addition to practical techniques, the Introduction to Decorative Arts Techniques program provides job readiness skills essential for trainees’ successful transition back to employment. Assessments of attendance, punctuality, ability to listen and focus, and attitude take place weekly.
ADVANCED COURSE IN DECORATIVE ARTS TECHNIQUES
The Alpha Workshops Studio School holds two 26-week Advanced Courses in Decorative Arts Techniques per year. Classes meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The six-month Advanced Course in Decorative Arts Techniques provides specialized instruction in the applied decorative arts. Coursework emphasizes Alpha Studios’ three primary areas of production: wall treatments/decorative finishes, hand-painted wallpaper, and three-dimensional projects.
Students master a comprehensive set of decorative techniques over the six-month course, studying a different topic each week. Practical skills (such as measuring, drawing to scale, calculating square and linear footage, maintaining professional off-site job etiquette) are taught alongside decorative techniques that revisit and build upon elements from Basic Training. Topics include: advanced drawing methods; complicated faux finishes e.g. ivory, mahogany and parchment; foam carving and assembly; casting and mold-making; wall treatments such as linen strie, glazes, stippling and ragging effects; Venetian plaster; restoration techniques; hand-printed wallpaper design and production; flat design and color matching. Students create samples of every technique for their portfolios and design and execute several projects including their own hand-printed wallpaper design, gilding an object and creating a mold from which a bookend or paperweight is cast.
Through our On the Job Painting Project, selected students undertake specific redesigns at partnering non-profits throughout New York City. Funded by The Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation, this innovative on-site initiative serves both educational and community development purposes. Students gain invaluable experience in the application of large-scale decorative painting and plastering, as well as a familiarity with the etiquette of working on professional job sites. The partnering non-profits receive a free custom installation that enhances their lobby, conference room, or other public area and benefits their clients and staff. Projects have included: An abstract mural of Broadway theaters for the client conference room at The Actor’s Fund; a “wallscape” for Bailey House’s client lounge featuring flowing waves and a sunburst; a feature wall finished in vibrant orange Venetian plaster for the recreation room at Praxis Housing; and the creation of a large mural and striped wall for the reception area of AIDS Center of Queens County.
Field trips to museums, show houses, historic houses and other places of design interest help students to see the decorative arts in context and gain an understanding of what they can achieve in their career specialty. These trips are especially vital since many students have never visited a museum before enrolling at Alpha. Students regularly visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, The Frick Collection and The Museum of the City of New York, as well as The Kips Bay Showhouse, The Showtime Showhouse, and Gracie Mansion.
Students must put in a minimum of 455 hours of studio time and finish a full portfolio of samples to receive a certificate of completion.
Project Managers evaluate students on a weekly basis, and deliver formal written evaluations assessing mastery of specific techniques, coursework, and job readiness skills midway through the program and upon its completion.
Work Readiness Training
Monthly Work Readiness Workshops focus on appropriate workplace dress and behavior, legal rights relating to HIV disclosure, job searches via websites and print media, resumes and cover letters to specific job postings, and mock interviews. Through a partnership with Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), apprentices can utilize the GMHC computer lab to prepare resumes, complete job searches and take back to work seminars. A Career Lecture Series introduces apprentices to industry professionals, who discuss their own work experiences and offer advice. Advanced students receive a weekly stipend.
Alpha Workshops Studio School provides each trainee with an individualized career-advancement recommendation and offers follow-up services for a minimum of six months.
Employers of Alpha Workshops Studio School graduates may qualify for salary reimbursements of up to 160 hours and a tax credit. For further details visit www.acces.nysed.gov or contact the Alpha Workshops Studio School at 212-594-7320 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.