ATHENS — Next week, the school day will begin as usual for over 350 students in Athens City and Meigs Local school systems. They will pack their lunch, take the school bus; but this day will be different. Instead of their typical school day, they will participate in Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts educational outreach program, ArtReach on the Road. Their bus will drop them off at ARTS/West for a day of workshops in traditional Appalachian craft.
ArtReach on the Road offers workshops in a range of media that have a significant history in Appalachia, led by local artists and craftspeople. Athens City and Meigs Local students will experience an immersive day of arts education March 16-20. Participating schools include East-West Elementary, Meigs Middle School, Morrison-Gordon Elementary, and The Plains Elementary – bringing 6th-8th graders each day to participate in hands-on crafts with important roots in the community.
Five working, professional local artists will provide traditional Appalachian arts and crafts instruction:
· Ann Judy will focus on Appalachian Folk Art Ugly Jugs, creating ceramic jugs with exaggerated faces in the tradition of historic African-American and Appalachian folk art. Judy is a Nelsonville, Ohio artist and art educator. Known for tongue-in-cheek humor, she creates sculptural ceramic work that looks at the amusing side of women’s concerns and conflicts. Her studio practice also includes making one-of-a-kind spirit whistles, masks, and figurative bottles. Judy’s ceramic sculptures have been featured in Ohio Magazine. She is a founding member of Starbrick Gallery Artisan Cooperative, where her work is on display.
· Rene Olson will teach her workshop students how to make three different kinds of handmade books with inexpensive and readily available materials. An artist and educator, Olson taught visual art and physical education at the high school level for over forty years. She currently teaches fashion design at Ohio University as adjunct instructor. Olson is a founding member of Starbrick Gallery Artisan Cooperative located in the Historic Square District of Nelsonville, Ohio. She creates her work in a variety of mediums including ceramics, paper, and mixed media.
· Danette Pratt will introduce students to the history of hand sewing and needlecraft through the creation of upcycled ‘monster’ brooches and patches. Pratt, a retired biological illustrator, received her MFA in Painting and Drawing from Ohio University in 2017. Her artwork has been shown and published both nationally and internationally. Pratt is a 2017 Quilt National Exhibitor at the Dairy Barn, and a member of the Surface Design Association. She is a workshop instructor in needle arts and fiber and the creator of SeriouslySickSocks(tm). Her art dolls were recently published in issues of Art Doll and PRIMS magazines. Pratt has lived for over 37 years in the rural hills of Southeastern Ohio.
· Talcon Quinn will lead her workshop on buckskin talisman bags, using naturally tanned buckskin suede and using traditional sewing methods. An artist, educator, and folk medicine maker, Quinn resides in Southeastern Ohio where she grew up and where her family has lived for eight generations. Quinn has completed multiple programs in herbalism, wildcrafting, wilderness survival skills, and full spectrum doula work. She is committed to the use of ethically harvested materials that she processes by hand. Her creative practices inspire others to cultivate a deeper sense of connection and responsibility to themselves, and to the world around them.
· Aaron Smith will use printmaking as a vehicle to explore identity and culture teaching “Printmaking: A House is a Home.” Smith is a full-time studio artist specializing in oil painting and printmaking. He received his BFA from Ohio State University in 1998, and an MFA from Ohio University in 2015. Smith is the co-founder of Majestic Galleries, a contemporary art space in Nelsonville, Ohio. Aaron Smith was a recipient of an Ohio Art Council Fellowship in 2003, and his work was awarded first place for the “Nelsonville Series” in the exhibition, The Spirit of Appalachia, at OSU’s Urban Art Space.
ArtReach on the Road will be directed by Kelly Hider. Hider received her BFA from SUNY Brockport in 2007, and an MFA from the University of Tennessee in 2011. She is a founding member and resident artist at the Vacuum Shop Studios, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She has experience teaching a variety of collegiate and K-12 classrooms, including Middle Tennessee State University, Walters State Community College, Summer Art Academy at the Knoxville Museum of Art, and Community Classes for kids and adults at Arrowmont, the Arts & Culture Alliance, and the Knoxville Arts & Fine Craft Center. Previously the Gallery Manager at Arrowmont, Hider is excited about her role working on the ArtReach on the Road initiative.
ArtReach on the Road is modeled on Arrowmont’s celebrated ArtReach program, a rural arts outreach initiative established over 25 years ago that has served over 25,000 Sevier County school children. ArtReach on the Road is designed to help modern students in Central Appalachia learn about and appreciate their culture and the importance of craft in their daily lives. It also addresses the preservation of traditional craft knowledge – connecting traditional practitioners with future generations through immersive instruction.
For more information about ArtReach on the Road, visit arrowmont.org/appalachian-craft/artreach or email Kelly Hider, youth education program manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information provided by Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.