Friday, February 19, 2021
Finding new ways to flash creativity can be exceedingly difficult in adulthood. Between balancing work, family, friendships, and countless other day-to-day responsibilities, it is easy to push one’s sense of artistry and originality to the backburner.
Milwaukee Recreation instructor Dan Janowski, however, works hard to prevent that kind of creative stagnation.
In his time as an instructor, Janowski has taught several classes designed to boost those imaginative juices in his participants, including Polymer Clay, Cat Toys, Survival Sewing, Glycerin Soapmaking, Cookie and Muffin Decorating, and Craft Painting. Last week, Janowski taught a Create with Alcohol Inks session at Hamilton High School Community Center. Typically a jam-packed workshop, Janowski worked with a physically distanced group of seven participants to create unique designs on ceramic tile pieces during the two-hour program.
“Dan’s positive attitude and creative spirit make his classes incredibly successful at Hamilton and MacDowell Community Centers,” Milwaukee Recreation supervisor Mya DeVecchis said. “His willingness to engage with the Recreation community makes him a fantastic instructor.”
Janowski earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics, along with a certificate in special education. He also taught Special Education at Hamilton High School. Despite a background in teaching and a passion for Milwaukee Recreation – he has participated in Recreation programs for over 30 years – Janowski was reticent to move into an instructing role. Mike Biba, the longtime building director at Hamilton, was persistent in his pursual of Janowski, just as he was when he convinced Dennis Eden to instruct music classes at Hamilton.
“Mike saw talent in me and encouraged me to apply [to become an instructor],” Janowski said. “I said that I was not interested or qualified. But Mike never gave up. He knew I would like to teach classes to students. He has a gift of knowing who can teach.”
Just as Biba encouraged him to join the instructor ranks at Hamilton, Janowski encourages his participants throughout his class. He keeps the atmosphere light and allows everyone to work at their own pace. Janowski has even continued his education to improve how he presents the material to his participants.
“I enjoy teaching adults, and seeing them catch on and create something,” Janowski said. “When you see a student helping another student, that’s when you know you have done your best as an instructor.”
Janowski is instructing four Milwaukee Recreation classes for adults at Hamilton Community Center this spring:
Registration begins Monday, March 1 at 10 a.m. for city of Milwaukee residents and Monday, March 8 at 10 a.m. for non-residents. Class sizes are limited to nine people to maximize the safety of participants and staff. See the full Spring Recreation Guide here.