By Julie Caspersen
An average-looking door on the second floor of Warden Woods campus leads into a world of imagination.
It is the visual arts lab and it is now filled with a school year’s worth of artistic creativity waiting to be displayed at next week’s art show.
Here 25 students are taught by Robin Hobbs, a soft-spoken man who pulls on his full beard with fine-boned fingers as he gazes around his pleasantly messy classroom.
Hobbs says he is mainly concerned with ‘ ‘expanding the awareness” of his students.
“It’s not important whether they go on to study (art).”
The two-semester program is successful because students can make a committment to a single year of “unique experience,” Hobbs said in an interview.
Hobbs says that although many students use his course as a jumping board to further artistic education, more and more simply enroll to learn about themselves.”That’s healthy, and that’s education,” says the Yorkshire-born artist who attended the same art school as Henry Moore, a prominent English sculptor.
Hobbs began his career as soon as he graduated from Leeds Art School.
“One minute I was a student, the next minute I was a teacher.” He has been at Centennial for 11 years and has always worked with beginners.
“Watching (students) opening up and growing — it is very rewarding.”
Last year Hobbs was on a sabbatical leave. “I’ve been teaching for 20 years but every six or seven years I take a year off to renew myself,” Hobbs says.
Even though his interests lie primarily in the fields of sculpture and painting, he studies a variety of art forms during these leaves of absence. The latest endeavor was ceramics.
“What I’ve tended to do for my professional development is get into other areas that sculpture.”
Hobbs believes it is important for him to round out his artistic knowledge because the interests of his students are so diversified.
“I can give more to the students if I have had the experience myself.”
In addition to drawing and painting, the class is instructed in mediums such as silkscreen, sculpture, etching and photography. This year for the first time, students have incorporated film into their course.