Hidden deep within the stacks of eclectic shops that line Frazier Avenue is the Association for Visual Arts, a gem of a dragon hoard. It’s a cool gallery, but that’s not all AVA does Besides producing the annual 4 Bridges Arts Festival, AVA is a great resource for artists, photographers and designers and its Media Lab is a goldmine of state-of-the-art computers and software for those who cannot afford them or the latest in technology.
Silver, gold and onyx treasures abound in the form of Macs, light tables and swanky digital cameras for rent. The lab is open to the public, free for members and available to visitors for $10 in the Media Lab or $20 in the Clean Room Photo Studio.
The Macs in the lab are equipped with an enviable selection of programs graphic and web designers merely dream of owning all at once. Noteworthy software includes Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Illustrator and Final Cut Pro 6.
If you don’t actually know how to use these awesome tools, no worries. AVA has an on-site lab monitor who can introduce you to all the basics and start your journey into digital creativity. Professionals looking to expand the “skills” portion of their resume can also benefit from such training—a better-than-the-basics understanding of editing can be invaluable in today’s technology-driven environment.
One of the reasons this space is so cool is that while AVA is certainly a place for serious artists to sharpen their craft using professional computers and software, other creative people can come by to learn more about how to scan art into digital files, design a basic website, or learn how to best hang art.
Mark your calendars for the latter, because the mini-tutorial “The Art of Hanging Art” is coming up March 9. Attendees will play curator for the day, learning how to hang pieces of art by professional gallery standards. The techniques can also be translated into hanging portraits about the house or art in the office.
Whether you’re a professional or emerging artist, business owner, student or a computer novice, AVA can help. Membership can be purchased on levels from students to benefactor, and information can be found at avaarts.org or by visiting in person at 30 Frazier Ave.
It’s just another element of the arts community that’s making Chattanooga such a draw for artists moving here to take advantage of our growing scene.