PLAINFIELD, NJ — Lincoln Center may have recently announced it will present outdoor performances as a part of its "Restart Stages" programs starting April 7, but Plainfield's own duCret School of Art has been ahead of the curve, offering in the summer of 2020 a variety of musical acts on its restored front porch, as well as a comedy night benefiting the Plainfield Area Humane Society, “Voter Girl,” a day of civic-centric programs, and a Ruth Bader Ginsburg Legacy Rally sponsored by The League of Women Voters of New Jersey.

TAPinto Plainfield caught up with the art school's Executive Director, Tim O'Connor, to learn more about 2021 classes, programs and offerings for residents to enjoy in a safe and socially distanced environment.

Classes in 2020 had been moved to a virtual format due to the pandemic, and those not suitable to the format were canceled. As a result, enrollment plummeted by 33%. The spring 2021 semester is also mostly virtual, and a full program is not expected until the fall.

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O'Connor said there will be a redesign of the curriculum for the certificate program that will be launched in the upcoming fall semester. Another goal is to transition to a two-year trimester program from the current three-year semester.

"We're rebuilding our program, there's a foundation here," O'Connor said. "All first-year students take the foundation year. So it's all about building a foundation in drawing, and different mediums, teaching them how to use it, what the different washes and paints are, color theory, art history, 2D design. Nowadays it's really important for artists to know the Adobe suite."

O'Connor remarked, "One of the things that I'm really looking to get into, and it will probably be a lecture series, is crypto art, which is becoming really popular." He said there is a big market for crypto art.

The warm weather outdoor programs will kick off with a car show and ghost walk event on May 1 by WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do! Inc., an organization that supports families who have children with autism or special needs. The festivities will include the history of deceased residents of Plainfield, and how their lives played a significant role in shaping the city. Proceeds from the event will be used to open an aftercare and recreation inclusion center.

The porch concerts will start on June 12 with the Madison String Quartet. Local artists including jazz and bluegrass will play eight concerts — two per month — over the course of the summer. Later in June, the Dragonfly Multicultural Theater Group will present the first of three plays on the porch.

O’Connor said duCret is partnering with the Drake House Museum for plein air events. The practice of plein air, the painting and drawing of landscapes outside the studio, goes back centuries but was made into an art form by the French Impressionists. There will be four sessions at various historical places around the Queen City.

The school's capital campaign started Friday, with a goal of raising $95,000 as it enters its 95th year, and O’Connor calling it the key component to duCret's continued existence. He said partnerships with Plainfield and the surrounding communities are a priority, and noted the school’s new theme is, "No subscription. No contract. No hassle.” Learn more about the campaign and donate here.

The duCret School of Art is located at 1030 Central Avenue. Check out the website at is Plainfield's free online daily newspaper for Plainfield, NJ news. Sign up for our daily eNews and follow us on Facebook, Twitter @PlainfieldTAP, and on Instagram @tapintoplainfield for all of your Plainfield local news. Download the free TAPinto App for iPhone or Android.

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