This week, the school day will begin as usual for over 350 students in Hamilton and Sequatchie County, TN school systems. They will pack their lunch, take the school bus; but this day will be different. Instead of their normal school, they will participate in Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts educational outreach program, ArtReach on the Road. They will go to the Mountain Arts Community Center in Signal Mountain 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. Hamilton and Sequatchie County students who have never been in a studio setting will experience an immersive day of arts education April 1 – 5, 2019. Participating schools include: Alpine Crest Elementary, Sequatchie Middle School, Sequatchie Elementary, Normal Park Middle, and Thrasher Elementary.
Five working, professional local artists will provide traditional Appalachian arts and crafts instruction:
- Janet Campbell Bradley will teach printmaking techniques using natural dye sources and water-based ink. Students will begin the day with an eco-printing project on paper using natural dye sources from leaf/plant matter gathered locally, with the option to add accents from rust and indigo dye. She earned a BFA in metals from Tennessee Technology University and a BS in Fashion Merchandising/Design & Marketing from Middle Tennessee State University. Bradley has worked for 20 years as a professional fine arts designer in jewelry and production. She has taught beginner-to-advanced classes in jewelry making to adults and children. Her prints include collagraphs, intaglio and monotypes.
- Lolly Durant will familiarize her students with their Appalachian culture, how potter’s clay/ ecology go hand in hand, and the importance of craft in their daily lives. Students will hand-build ‘face jugs’ in natural earthenware clay. Olive B. “Lolly” Durant is an advocate who supports, teaches and serves on community arts governing boards. She is an East Tennesseean, gourd folk artisan, marbler, printmaker, potter and educator. Durant teaches at Lee University as Art Education / Art Methods instructor and Student Art Education Supervisor to student teachers, and is the current Board President of Scenic City Clay Arts (SCCA).
- Meredith Middleton will introduce students to silver jewelry/ metalsmithing. This workshop covers the skills students need to build a cuff bracelet including tool knowledge and identification, silvers’ properties and what safety and care steps are needed when fabricating jewelry. Middleton is a native of Chattanooga, TN and attended the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She studied silversmithing at the John C. Campbell Folk School, Penland School of Craft and the New Approach School for Jewelers in Franklin, TN. Since 2015, Middleton has taught beginning sterling silver workshops each year at the John C. Campbell Folk School.
- Susan Parry will lead her workshop on basic ring making using Parawire and Agate stone beads. Agate is the state stone for Tennessee, and serves to juxtapose Tennessee heritage with ancient artisans since wire wrap jewelry dates back to the time of the Egyptian pyramids. Parry earned an Associate Degree in Fine Arts from Chattanooga State, a BA and in English and American Language & Literature from Cornell University and an MA in English and American Language & Literature from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Parry has taught in museums, art camps, high schools and universities. Parry represented the State of Tennessee in 2012 for the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. She is a full-time working glass jewelry artist, and a featured artist on PBS’s Tennessee Crossroads television program.
- Colleen Williams will use air-dry clay for her students to construct decorative pitchers in her workshops. Students will build with component forms and practice 3D surface decorations, creating motifs and patterning that tells their personal narratives. Williams, a New Jersey native, has been involved in making art from an early age. She completed a BS in Architectural Studies focusing on environmental design from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. After college, Williams discovered a love of ceramics and founded her award-winning line of porcelain jewelry, “Local Texture.” She has been awarded the Martha Boschen Porter grant by the Berkshire-Taconic Foundation, earned numerous ‘Best in Show’ and ‘Best in Ceramics’ awards at national fine art festivals, and been included in national publications. Williams serves on the Tennessee Craft board as a Chapter Representative and currently maintains a studio at the Chattanooga WorkSpace in Chattanooga, TN.
M. Paige Ward will manage ArtReach on the Road, assisted by Sam Mendez. Ward was selected to direct the program due to her experience teaching kids, familiarity with Arrowmont and its mission, and her background as a professional artist from rural Tennessee. Ward is a native of Frog Jump, Tennessee. She earned a BA in Art with a minor in Professional Education and TN K-12 Visual Arts Teaching Licensure in 2010. In 2017, she received her MFA in Studio Arts/Ceramics from the University of Florida. Ward recently completed a yearlong residency at Arrowmont where she now serves on staff.
“I’m excited to facilitate ArtReach on the Road,” Ward said, “because I grew up in a small, rural area that didn’t have art in the school system at all until high school. My career as an artist is a direct result of individuals who encouraged me and exposed me to art. I was lucky because my granddaddy took me in his woodshop and showed me how to build things. Not every child has that opportunity. ArtReach on the Road provides that opportunity for every student.”
ArtReach on the Road is modeled on Arrowmont’s celebrated ArtReach program, a rural arts outreach initiative established 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—knowledge that is disappearing as the region becomes urbanized and practitioners often do not transmit their skills to future generations.
For more information about ArtReach on the Road, visit arrowmont.org/appalachian-craft/artreach/ or email Rebecca Buglio, program and studio manager, email@example.com.