Two area artists want anyone interested in art to discover the awesomeness in “AWE.”

Two area artists want anyone interested in art to discover the awesomeness in “AWE.”

Sharon Michaelsen and Pauline Swanson, with assistance from artist Joyce Mattan, will instruct “Seeing with New Eyes,” classes scheduled from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, April 14, for adults; and from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 28, for youth.

Class members will meet at Geneseo City Park and share thoughts about “seeing with new eye” by leaving cell phones and iPads turned off and taking a walk.

“We will not walk in pairs or large groups, but as individuals so we can each experience what we become aware of, saw and heard, whether it be a budding leaf, a bird song, the perfume of a blossoming flower or something else,” Michaelsen said.

The group will walk to RutabagA, the Heart of Regional Art Gallery & Studio, at 108 North State St., Geneseo, and create a result of the individual’s “moments of AWE,” she said.

Supplies will be provided in many mediums.

“What we hope will happen is for class members to leave with their eyes and ears opened to life around them,” Michaelsen said.

Her idea for “AWE” stems from a story she read months ago about two brothers who were rock climbing.

“One of them was suffering from PTSD,” she said. “They were arguing violently as they climbed. And then they came to a clearing where the view was simply ‘awesome.’ They stopped arguing. Studies have shown that the experience of seeing or hearing or touching something that brings a sense of awe to the person can have both a positive emotional and physical impact.”

Not long after reading that article, Michaelsen was visiting with Ann Boaden, a retired professor of English at Augustana College, who shared a childhood experience with Michaelsen.

“She was walking with her parents, holding their hands, in Black Hawk Park in Rock Island,” she said. “Suddenly, her father stopped, motioned for her to be still, and pointed to a rabbit’s nest. Ann said the bunnies were so young, their ears were almost transparent. To this day, when she walks through that park and comes to that spot, she stops, and even though she knows the nest is no longer there, the experience is unforgettable because it created such a moment of ‘awe.’”

“We all need to see with new eyes,” Michaelsen said. “Young and old alike are seen walking down the street or sitting at a table in a restaurant, ‘glued’ to electronic equipment. There is no conversation or observation taking place. They do not see or hear and they are missing so much.”

To register, contact Michaelsen at 944-4580 or RutabagA at 944-4994.