WAUKESHA – Students at Otto’s Fine Art Academy worked with owner Melissa Hillmer on Thursday on their projects of assembling animals with paper, cardboard, wire and other found objects, in preparation for the exhibition of their gallery today.
The sculpture project was part of a week-long summer camp, the last of 2022. The academy hosted 11 student camps this summer with a gallery showing their work at the end of each week.
The camps focus on a variety of artistic skills, including ceramics, drawing, painting, sewing, and sculpting.
“We’re a fine art school, so we dive deep into different types of fine art,” Hillmer said. “It’s a big staple in the community.”
At Otto’s, the conviction is that no two artists are identical. “For this reason, students in all of our programming opportunities choose their own subject and work at their own pace,” according to their website.
Since opening in 2004, the K-12 Arts Complementary Education School has strived to help students become artists as they grow up. “If your kid wants to be an artist, they would come here for art lessons, and we’ve certainly had a lot of success that way,” Hillmer said, adding that students who attended the academy went on to become architects. and book illustrators.
Hillmer herself is an achievement. At age seven, she took classes at the academy when they first opened, and in 2018 Hillmer bought the business and became its owner.
Ever since Hillmer took over, she knew the academy would grow and grow. “It was time to explore another place,” Hillmer said.
Although the COVID pandemic delayed them, Hillmer expressed how lucky the academy was to have resumed right after. It was a revelation to her that they were ready to expand.
The new location at 100 Fox St. in Mukwonago is scheduled to open Sept. 6 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 3 at 3 p.m.
The downtown Mukwonago location already has about 20 students enrolled in classes.
“We have a lot of transfer students from this place (Waukesha) to this place (Mukwonago), and just a lot of outreach from community members who are ready to start classes even though we are not even open yet,” said said Hillmer. . “It’s a very beautiful place and a very beautiful region, so it’s very exciting.”
Knowing for so long that the academy was ready to expand, they embarked on training over the past year, focusing on the Waukesha site and preparing it to pass the torch to an administrator who will manage it. Hillmer will be at the new Mukwonago location.
“It’s been my goal for so long to expand to another location and see it actually happen and open in a week and a half, it’s crazy,” Hillmer said. “God has truly blessed me and entrusted me with so many things. I know Otto’s will continue to be successful.