YUMA, Ariz. --
In an effort to tap into the creativity of Marines and sailors at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., the Single Marine Program is holding a multiple recreational art classes in the mediums of oil painting, acrylic, ceramic and charcoal.
As part of this program, on June 16, SMP hosted a charcoal class before a group of service members eager to learn the finer points of the art.
“We ran a series of classes a while back, and it was really successful. We had a great turnout of students,” said Jude Crouch, a Marine Corps Community Service’s Semper Fit SMP coordinator. “We got a fantastic donation from the Officers’ Spouses’ Club, with the tremendous help of Mrs. Renee Smith – it was very generous. It really helped us kick-start the program and buy the supplies.”
The last time most Marines used their drawing skills was mapping the side of a mountain or an open desert plain on a range card during their initial combat training. For most, the rudimentary sketches of terrain and landmarks usually served their purposes well enough.
However, during this class, the students looked to stretch their talents with the help of qualified art instructors that volunteered to provide guidance and experience.
The charcoal class was specifically asked for by Marines who felt it would be the perfect field friendly medium to work with.
“I hope they can relax and enjoy it. They all have their own styles, and that’s what I like to see,” said Keiko Rossi, an oil painting instructor and a native of Yuma, Ariz. “Especially for that younger Marine, these classes are definitely better than just staying in and doing nothing.”
Every Monday at 6 p.m., SMP hosts an art class at its headquarters on the second floor of building 645 on the air station. Future classes include oil, acrylic, woodworking, videography and any other medium in demand that falls within SMP’s budgetary threshold.
For those in attendance, the experience served as a change of pace in daily military life.
“This class was really interesting. The instructor gave us pointers from her experience working with charcoal,” said Cpl. Anthony Rosales, a Marine Aircraft Group 13 headquarters supply clerk and a native of Van Nuys, Calif. “Since I’ve never done any type of art in my life, doing this is actually a really good learning experience. It’s great for anyone who wants to try.”
The class saw a period of instruction that used a wine glass and bottle as a model and an assortment of different sized charcoal sticks and pleaded erasers on white paper. A lighthearted atmosphere complimented by the good natured instructor, Keiko, made for an easy-going time to relax.
Those who had a history with fine arts revisited their heydays by trying their hand in a more advanced section of the class.
“In the classroom itself, you don’t have to worry about anything outside of there. You can just focus on what you’re creating. It’s your own world, so it’s great,” said Rosales. “I wish more people would come out and do this. It’s definitely thinking outside of the box; it’s the perfect outlet to get away from the daily grind.”
So far, SMP has conducted five classes focusing on the arts. The creative arts section of SMP has grown thanks to the hard work put in by the SMP coordinators and financial help from donors.
Service members find outlets from their everyday military life in different ways. Oftentimes, active duty service demands the sacrifice of time spent enjoying recreational hobbies. However, thanks to the SMP program and those instructors volunteering to help, those unique activities are once again made available for those interested.
For scheduling or class information, please contact the MCAS Yuma SMP at (928) 269-6556.