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Van Doren Metal Art Workshop Opens Its Doors to the Public

By Rita DeBrito

Eight months ago, Lane Van Doren, a well-known artist here in San Miguel de Allende, was joined by his son and fellow artist, Alexander, in Van Doren Studio. For the first time Lane and Alex are opening their commercial metal art studio for those interested in learning to produce works of metal art. They will be offering a variety of two-day workshops, available to participants of all experience levels, including first time metal art enthusiasts.

Van Doren Metal Art Workshop is the result of Lane and Alex’s combined 50 years of experience in the world of metal art. They have a background in all applications, including forging, casting, soldering, and welding. Together, they have spent the majority of the last 20 years doing large scale, corporate, and public metal art installations and water features. Some of their work can be seen, at their gallery in Fábrica La Aurora. They continue to produce commission pieces both here in Mexico and in the US.

In terms of the artists themselves, Lane Van Doren’s life work has been the production and display of art. Since studying advanced sculpture at California State University, he has spent a career creating sculptural commissions for corporate and public installations, as well as fountains, entries, paintings, and other pieces for homes and private collections. He has done permanent public art works in several locales, and his work is on display internationally.

From a young age, Alex Van Doren shared his father’s passion for art. Their work together began when Alex was still in his teens and started doing residential construction with Lane in Taos, NM. They created a number of multi-media art pieces for the houses they were building, including them in the formation of the homes. After studying advanced sculpture at Lewis and Clark College, Alex continued working with Lane to create large-scale art pieces for businesses and residences. By “large scale,” we mean fountains, fireplaces, and sculptures that were typically 10 to 40 feet in scope. After working for years in California, they have been fortunate enough to be able to continue their commission work here in Mexico, both locally and regionally.

Over the years, they have had numerous requests from family, friends, and clients to share their expertise and craft in metal art. Given this encouragement, they have decided that in between working on commission pieces, they will open their studio to the public and offer two-day Metal Art Workshops. They are excited about sharing their experience by teaching interested locals and visitors the joys of creating with techniques and materials. Their one-of-a-kind studio boasts 2,000 square feet of commercial space specifically designed to produce metal art pieces.

The workshop is divided into two-full day sessions. On the first day participants learn how to safely use the most important tools of metal manipulation. These include mig and spot welders, plasma cutters, plate brakes, multiple shears, grinders, drills, and other forming-pressing equipment. Attendees are also given the opportunity to work with a variety of metals like steel, iron, copper, and aluminum. All materials, metal and otherwise, are provided for the class. Participants need only bring a desire to create art with metal. Beginners are not only welcomed but encouraged. An organic, locally sourced lunch and complimentary wine will be served each day.

Class size is limited to four students only. People who have attended this workshop are raving about their experience. “What was really exciting for me as a newcomer to metal art was how Lane and Alex work together to give you the full experience of creating a finished piece of art,” said Michael Hager, a local San Miguel resident. Another wonderful aspect of the workshop is that Lane and Alex have generously offered their participants an opportunity to show their completed works at Van Doren Studio Gallery at Fábrica Aurora.

The Van Doren Metal Art Workshops take place in their studio in La Canada/Los Frailes. It is a quick 10-minute taxi ride from Centro.

A portion of the proceeds from the workshop go to fund two amazing local charities, Casita Linda and La Biblioteca Scholarship fund. Any and all who are interested in the craft of metal art are encouraged to check out the website for more details.


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