Artists in residence
Several times a week, creative residents at Tallgrass Creek gather in the community’s sunny crafts room to channel their inner artist. Alysia Quisenberry Carter, an enthusiastic young teacher whose passion and talent help her students bring art to life, leads the group.
“I love to help people fall in love with art,” says Carter, a former art teacher in the local Blue Valley School District. She holds a degree in painting and printmaking.
The energetic Carter has taught watercolor and acrylic/oil painting classes at Tallgrass Creek since 2010. She also teaches special classes from time to time, such as drawing or pastel art.
Carter begins each two-hour class with a lesson about art concepts such as sketching trees, textiles, city scenes, shadows, and moving water. Students then paint at individual stations while Carter makes rounds answering questions and helping with technique.
Residents pay a nominal fee. Mornings and afternoon classes accommodate busy schedules.
Tallgrass Creek students include novice and accomplished artists, and everything in between. Bill Lynn, a retired mechanical contractor and registered engineer, has painted for such a long time, he can’t remember when he started.
“It’s just part of my life and something I’ve always loved,” says Bill, who prefers to paint while standing to gain a better artistic perspective.
Sharon Hill moved to Tallgrass Creek about 18 months ago and rarely misses one of Carter’s classes. After graduating from the prestigious Kansas City Art Institute, Sharon worked for Hallmark Corporation in Kansas City, Mo., for 11 years as a greeting card artist and designer. She freelanced for years afterward while she raised her family. She always has her easel at the ready.
“I’m currently working on three paintings for my college-age granddaughter,” says Sharon. “She has requested differently colored paintings of palm leaves, and I’m happy to oblige.”
Phyllis Koropp has taken art classes at Tallgrass Creek for five years and says Carter’s art classes are a highlight of her week. She enjoys painting natural landscapes.
“Painting allows you to experience nature more fully,” says Phyllis, a former photographer. “There is so much beauty in nature, and you don’t want it to pass you by.”
Talent on display
Tallgrass Creek artists who take classes and those who paint on their own are encouraged to showcase their art. Paintings and other art projects always adorn walls outside the classroom and provide a visual vista of color, style, and subject matter.
“People usually pause to gaze at the different pieces on the wall,” says Carter. “Several observers are now also taking our classes.”
Though Carter loves painting (she has sold several of her own pieces), her classes at Tallgrass Creek are not just about teaching.
“Seeing life through my students’ eyes, both personally and artistically, has helped me grow as an artist and as a person,” says Carter. “These are just some of my favorite people, and my, they’re talented.”