Official optimistic 2022 will be a good year for Spruill Center for the Arts

Spruill Center for the Arts is wrestling with a supply/demand challenge that officials hope will be resolved in 2022 with creative planning and governmental support.

The center operates two facilities in Dunwoody—an education center and a gallery—and holds classes, workshops, art sales, shows and receptions as well as camps.

First quarter 2022 classes began Jan. 10 and the center is offering more than 200 classes that run from six to 12 weeks as well as 40 one- to two-day workshops.

According to Spruill Center CEO Alan Mothner, 147 names were added to a waitlist before the first class was held.

In 2021, the center held 764 classes serving 8,147 students. In response to the pandemic, class sizes were reduced—12 to 13 students in a class compared to previous class sizes of 18 to 20 to allow for more space between students and accommodate enhanced cleaning protocols, he said.

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“We had a very busy year,” said Mothner.

He said the supply and demand issue has been a challenge for some time and it’s partly due to not having enough space for the programs and services the center offers.

During the past four years, Spruill officials have been working with Dunwoody city officials to get funding to expand the education center, according to Mothner. Spruill is committing $1.3 million from its savings and fundraising to the expansion and is seeking $1 million from the city to add seven classrooms and a community room to the center.

He pointed out that Spruill’s blacksmithing class takes place in an unheated shed in the parking lot that is also without air conditioning and is “far from ideal.”

“The program could be so much more robust if we had better space, a proper studio,” he said about his desire to bring the blacksmithing program indoors.

Jewelry, ceramics and glass classes currently operate at capacity and although there’s been interest in a wood turning class, there’s no space to accommodate one, he said.

Both Spruill and two other organizations that share space in the facility need additional space, he added.

Mothner said Spruill has construction documents prepared and is ready to begin the expansion project as soon as the city makes a decision about a financial commitment and gives the go-ahead. City officials have been optimistic about contributing to the expansion but have not yet indicated how much they will contribute and when the funding would come through.

Fostering public art is also one of the goals of Spruill’s leadership.

“We are continuing our push for public art here and throughout the community,” said Mothner.

Upcoming in January an installation titled “Sky Dancer” will be put up on the exterior of Spruill’s education center. The work by artist Kathy Walton is seven 40-foot metal painted butterflies, which Mothner called “whimsical.”

This is the first of several public art installations that Spruill officials are planning to feature this year. Last year Spruill was responsible for seven art installation on its campuses and throughout the Dunwoody.

“I think it’s vital,” said Mothner of public art. “It helps to define a community. It gives people a spark of joy.” He added that public art creates dialogues resulting from witnessing artistic creations which enhance a community’s quality of life.

In addition to the start of classes, January is also when a new art show will open on the 20th—Ilona Cutt’s “Homecoming” with an artist talk scheduled for 2 p.m. on Feb. 5. Other happenings at Spruill include a Feb. 6 student/instructor jewelry market at the education center—the first since the pandemic hit—and Heart Market at gallery Feb. 12, which features artwork appropriate as gifts for Valentine’s Day.

For more information on Spruill events, classes and activities, go to


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