New education coordinator for TAG hits the ground running

Apr. 17, 2014 @ 04:16 PM

The new education coordinator for Theatre Art Galleries brings a strong sense of purpose — and a strong sense of repurposing — to the job.
“I’m an artist, and I use repurposed materials — metal, fabric, wood — to create my art,” says Laurie Wiesner-Phillips, who became TAG’s education coordinator a little over a month ago. “So when I started creating summer classes for TAG, a lot of the classes are using these repurposed materials, too.”
One summer class, for example, will be devoted to creating dada dolls.
“It’s taking these found materials — we’re going to use old baby dolls and doll parts,” she explains. “We’ll take them apart and then put them back together in an unusual way.”
In another summer class, participants will learn how to transform used books into sculptures.
“We’re using a bunch of old library books,” Wiesner-Phillips says. “We’ll give them a book and some glue and scissors, and teach them how to turn it into a sculpture. A lot of the classes are designed that way.”
Other summer classes include such topics as water-bottle sculptures, weaving, mask-making, creative collage and abstract sculpture. The full list of classes, with descriptions, is on the TAG website at
In the meantime, Wiesner-Phillips has been making use of two target grants received by TAG — one for Parkview Village Elementary Expressive Arts Magnet School, the other for Northwood Elementary School.
“Parkview is an arts magnet school, but it’s just become a magnet, so they don’t have a lot of art up in the hallways yet,” Wiesner-Phillips says. “So we’re helping them kind of find their identity. We’re helping them turn their school into their own by adding their artwork.”
To that end, two mural projects are in the works at Parkview. One is a collage being created with photographs cut out of magazines, and the other is a three-dimensional black panther — the school’s nickname is the Panthers — made from wood.
“There will be three layers of wood that give the depth of the panther,” she explains, “and then built into the body of the panther, we’re adding an artist’s palette, ballet shoes and other things like that that represent an arts school.”
Those projects should be completed by mid-May, according to Wiesner-Phillips.
Meanwhile, at Northwood, the big project has been an environmental project in which students are using objects found in nature — such as rocks and sticks — to create works of art.
“My goal is to inspire my students,” says Wiesner-Phillips, who was a visual art educator with Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for six years before taking the new position with TAG.
“When I was teaching art, I was never the cookie-cutter teacher. I wanted to teach students to find their own voice for expressing their thoughts and feelings, and I hope to continue doing that. It’s giving the child a creative voice and teaching them how to express it.” | 888-3579


Theatre Art Galleries’ lineup of summer art classes for children and youths includes the following (all classes meet from 9 a.m. until noon):
•Dada Dolls: July 15-18.
•Book Sculpture: Aug. 12-15.
•Water-Bottle Sculptures: July 8-11.
•Weaving: Aug. 5-8.
•Creative Collage: June 10-13.
•Pattern Everywhere: Aug. 19-22.
•Fiber Collage: July 29-Aug. 1.
•Mask-Making: June 3-6.
•Going Buggy: May 27-30.
•Abstract Sculpture: July 22-25.
Classes are $90 per session for TAG members, $100 for nonmembers.
For full descriptions of the classes, visit the TAG website at
For more information, call TAG at 887-2137.