Arts at KNC

Art Drawn From Nature:
Kirk Newman Art School at the Kalamazoo Nature Center

As muse and motivation for new art making experiences, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts’ Kirk Newman Art School and KNC are thrilled to announce an expanded partnership that brings the talented School faculty to the landscapes of the Nature Center. Explore the beauty of the trails, prairie blossoms, trees, animals, and scenery through a range of nature-inspired art courses. Pre-arrival information will be shared with enrollees before each course starts.

Learn more about the classes at KNC below.

KNC is collaborating with the Kalamazoo Institute of the Arts through the Kirk Newman Art School to offer nature-based art classes at a discount for all KNC members. Give us a call at (269) 381-1574 x 0 we’ll verify your membership is active with us and provide you with the discount code to register with the KIA. Please note, registration for these programs is through the KIA, not KNC. For more information, please visit for more information and add your discount at checkout.

Watercolor and More in the Outdoors with Susan Badger
Monday, June 10, 11 am-3 pm
Fee: $100/KNC & KIA Members, $120/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Visitor Center Auditorium
Work en plein-air (outdoors!) in watercolor and a variety of drawing media on the beautiful Nature Center grounds. We will gather in the Cooper’s Glen Auditorium and then venture outdoors to create loose and expressive studies inspired by the landscape. Learn to focus your composition and freely interpret your subjects with supportive guidance.


Befriending Death: Grief in Nature with Brent Harris
Wednesdays, June 12 – July 31, 6:30-9 pm (8 weeks)
Fee: $250/KNC & KIA Members, $270/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Sugar Shack
We all have our personal and shared experiences of grief. Death of a loved one, climate anxiety, illness, and life transitions are just a few examples. Memorializing these events through ritual, community, and art making has been an important, but forgotten, part of human history. In a secluded wooded property, our class will engage in group discussions, nature walking meditations, writing reflections and create personal memorials of grief and loss using clay and natural materials.

Natural Casting with Amelia Falk
Thursdays, June 13 – July 25, 1-3:30 pm
(7 weeks, no class July 4)
Fee: $245/KNC & KIA Members, $265/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Visitor Center/KIA Jewelry Studio
By learning the lost wax method of casting, you can turn organic materials into beautiful bronze or silver jewelry findings and miniature sculptures. Discover the process on a walk through the woods while also searching for materials to prepare. This class will take place for the first two weeks at KNC, then the remaining weeks in the KIA jewelry studio.

Drawing Michigan Wildlife Workshop: Birds with Taylor Scamehorn
Saturday, June 15, 9 am – 4 pm
Fee: $100/KNC & KIA Members, $120/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Visitor Center Classroom
Drawing from both live and preserved specimens, acquire skills for field sketching to fully rendered animal studies. Please bring drawing pads and graphite pencils as well as lunch and water.

Mindful Pinch Pots with Susan McHenry
Tuesdays, June 18 & 25, 5-8 pm (2 weeks)
Fee: $100/KNC & KIA Members, $120/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Barn
Engage your sense of awareness and presence as you learn the art of forming pinch pots, one of the oldest methods of shaping clay. Using wild clay sourced from Northern Michigan, participants will make two vessels, one that will be pit fired to take home and one that will be returned to the earth at the KNC. No prior clay experience or special tools are required.

Printmaking at KNC with Deborah Mattson
Saturday, June 22, 9 am – 4 pm
Fee: $100/KNC & KIA Members, $120/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Carver Center
Explore printmaking projects at KNC! Forage onsite for materials to make nature prints and collagraphs, and drypoint prints. Come see what amazing materials and subject matter can be found in Michigan’s natural areas, and how prints can be made from your discoveries. Please bring a lunch and water.

Nature Sketching in Clay with Anna Ill
Tuesdays, July 9 & 16, 5-8 pm (2 weeks)
Fee: $100/KNC & KIA Members, $120/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Barn
Wet clay invites impressions and the walking trails at KNC are full of inspiring imagery. Using drawing tools and found objects, we will create compositions from the Nature Center grounds on small ceramic tiles. Each student will have access to several tiles on which to create “clay sketches”. On day one, we will walk the trails, and make several clay sketches. Tiles will be fired and ready for completion with cold finishes on day two. No prior clay experience or special tools are required.

Landscape Photography at KNC with Mary Whalen
Saturday, July 13, 20 & 27, 9-11 am (3 weeks)
Fee: $125/KNC & KIA Members, $145/Non-Members
Audience: Adults | Meet: KNC Visitor Center Members Room/KIA Computer Lab
Join us for a photography class open to all experience levels! Learn to capture the beautiful landscapes, natural light, and ephemeral experiences of the Nature Center. Examine options for both micro and macro compositions utilizing a range of techniques. Please bring water and your own camera, whether a DSLR or iPhone.