More about SAW-in-progress, May 2011

For those interested in more details about our school-to-be, The Sequential Artists Workshop, or SAW.SAW Icon We'll be opening in late 2011/early 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. Gainesville is a university town with a lot of culture and we feel it's a great place to become a cartoonist. There is a sub-department in the English department there which is dedicated to studying and writing about comics in depth; they even publish a magazine and host a yearly seminar dedicated to the form.

The town itself is arty, and very DIY. There are always new cafes, stores, bands, cooperative organizations, and art studios opening up, it’s got good theater, good movies, good bookstores, small film festivals, live music, an amazing, arty pizza place, lots to do for free, etc. It’s also completely bike-able, with plenty of bike lanes on important avenues.

Lake Alice in GainesvilleIt’s also beautiful. There’s Spanish Moss hanging from every tree, giant water birds, and little lizards walk around, bats fly in the evening, and a perfect climate fall, winter and spring. It’s hot in the summer but still lovely, often with brief daily thunderstorms to break the heat.

We're calling our school The Sequential Artists Workshop emphasizing "Artists" in the name because our focus is on the artist. We want to turn students into artists, by giving them the tools, history and understanding to tell the best stories they can, in the most clear and vivid ways possible. And we want to promote the work of great artists, and enable those artists to work. Our long term goals involve inviting artists to work in the mellow and lush Gainesville environment.

But our short term goals include running small classes and workshops in 2011 and then opening our doors for a single year (or possibly two-year) certificate program in fall 2012.

Our immediate goals include finding and securing a space, and filing all the proper forms and fees with the Florida Department of Education. And then finding furniture, art supplies, etc.

We've done a lot of leg work and feel pretty confident about our ability to find a good affordable space there. Our discussions with the Florida DOE have been fruitful as well.

So now we are hoping to secure some funders to help us on our road to creating this school. That's what our fundraiser is for. Donations are tax-deductible. (The Sequential Artists Workshop is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of The Sequential Artists Workshop must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.)

Tom HartMe, Tom Hart, I've been teaching at the School of Visual Arts for 10 years. I teach between 2 and 4 classes there every semester, and have helped probably hundreds of students become artists. My own cartoon work (I won a Xeric grant in 1993) has been nominated for the Eisner, the Harvey and the Ignatz and has been comic strips, graphic novels and comic books alike. I've been a restless creator, dedicated to expanding my own abilities as an artist and as such, it has allowed me to articulate to students where they are and where they are heading and how to get there.

The road from student to artist has been a long one for me (and any good teacher will tell you, is still not finished) but it's also been a perfectly conscious one. At SAW we want to make artists out of students. We want to give them the tools to create unique, personal, clear and vivid works and stories. And to promote this terrific art form.

Again, check out our fundraiser here. And thanks!

Tom Hart, Brooklyn, NY, May 10, 2011