Adams County Arts Council – Supporting the arts in Adams County, PA

Archive for the ‘Artist Spotlight’ Category

Introducing Donna Harrison: Principal at James Gettys Elementary

Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by Lisa Cadigan

By Lisa Cadigan

I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Harrison, principal at James Gettys Elementary School in Gettysburg, and I asked her how she thinks studying the arts in school enhances learning.

She had a twinkle in her eye and a warm smile as she recounted tales of children who are able to “shine” when given an opportunity to express themselves creatively, particularly in the annual Fine Arts Night at James Gettys Elementary, which showcases student performances of songs and dance choreography learned in music and physical education classes. She noted similar observations in the music program for older students, “I see kids in orchestra who may struggle academically, but who thrive on an instrument.” Students involved in music and the arts are able to set and meet goals through the practice of creative expression in ways that translate to success in other areas as well.

Artist-in-residence Ellen Ehlenbeck worked with students to create a permanent autobiographical mobile installation in the lobby of James Gettys.

Mrs. Harrison shared stories of artists-in-residence who have spent time at James Gettys, like Ellen Ehlenbeck, whose program last year resulted in an installation of student-produced “self-portrait” mobiles that adorn the school’s lobby, and the National Circus Project (http://www.nationalcircusproject.com/) that visits every other year, teaching students to master a brand new performance skill over the course of just one week. The students love these opportunities, and look forward to them each year.

Art projects in each classroom help students to absorb concepts and express themselves.

But it’s not just visiting artists who are bursting with creativity in the halls of James Gettys. Mrs. Harrison commended an imaginative staff who often incorporate the arts into classroom teaching. The Action Based Learning (ABL) program uses a multi-sensory approach to help kindergartners learn letters and their sounds with whole-body movement. Art projects directly related to science, social studies and reading ensure that new concepts and ideas are being fully absorbed. Many teachers use songs regularly in class to instill good habits with lining up, washing hands, math facts, etc. Mrs. Harrison shared a story of one student who passed his test on the preamble of the Constitution by singing it—it was the only way he could remember all of the words.

Mrs. Harrison’s anecdotal observations are supported by multiple research studies, including the ideas presented in the article cited in our earlier ABC campaign blog post (http://adamsarts.org/support-the-arts-for-our-sake-its-as-easy-as-abc/) referencing Dr. Lois Hetland, professor and graduate coordinator in the art education department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and senior research affiliate at Project Zero in the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In that interview, while Dr. Hetland says using art as a “vehicle to teach other academic content” is often “appropriate and useful,” she also warns that this should not be seen as a substitute for arts instruction, which places a unique emphasis on the “Eight Studio Habits of Mind.” Her research on this topic suggests that art instruction impacts students’ abilities to think meta-cognitively, even at early ages. This further reinforces the idea that arts education is key in helping to develop not just a student, but a human being. Dr. Hetland says, “The real product of art education is not the works of art, but the child.” The eight steps include these tangible skills:

  • Developing Craft
  • Engage And Persist
  • Envision
  • Express
  • Observe
  • Reflect
  • Stretch And Explore
  • Understand Art World

My conversation with Mrs. Harrison supported these ideas. We discussed the importance of creative expression and instruction in an academic setting, and how it allows students to set goals and reach their own great expectations in ways that may not always be possible in other areas. “We can’t just focus on test scores. We need to keep the whole child in mind,” says Mrs. Harrison.

You can help a child develop important skills like practicing a craft, engaging and persisting, expression, observation and reflection by making a donation to our ABC campaign. Every three $50 donations sends one child to a summer arts camp.

Thank you for your support!

Donate now!

 

References

“A Look at Lois Hetland’s Eight Studio Habits.” Every Art, Every Child | Studio Habits. Northeastern Illinois University, 2012. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://www.everyarteverychild.org/assessment/studiohabits.html>.

Cadigan, Lisa C. “Support the Arts for OUR Sake: It’s as Easy as ABC.” Adams County Arts Council. Adams County Arts Council, 22 Apr. 2017. Web. 24 Apr. 2017. <http://adamsarts.org/support-the-arts-for-our-sake-its-as-easy-as-abc/>.

Heller, Rafael. “On the Goals and Outcomes of Arts Education: An Interview with Lois Hetland.” Phi Beta Kappan 98.7 (2017): 15-20. Web. 21 Apr. 2017.

 

Introducing Sarah Auld: Art Teacher at Gettysburg Area Middle School

Posted on: April 23rd, 2017 by Lisa Cadigan

by Polly Patrono-Carlson

 

Sarah Auld is everything one would expect from an art teacher. She is positive, creative, and extremely thoughtful. Her room and the various cases around the school—full of student work—show how proud she is of her students and their accomplishments.

A 2016 graduate from Millersville University, Sarah started her new adventure at Gettysburg Area Middle School (GAMS) far from her hometown of Easton. She says the best part of teaching is the unexpected, “There is never a boring day.”

For Miss Auld, the importance of arts education is giving students an opportunity to create, to problem solve, and to feel accomplished. Arts education is not just about the end product, but more importantly, it is about the journey to reach it. In her classes, students have a chance to create from their own vision, learning along the way that there may be more than one way to get there.

Currently, her class is working on creating art using exacto knives. Scary…yes, but the projects so far have been amazing. When tuned in to a mindful process, students have produced animals, everyday household objects and even the Eiffel Tower out of cardboard, using just a knife and a little imagination.

Sarah encourages her students to interpret the word “connection” as they develop their own inspiration for project ideas. Once they create their own vision in their minds, they are given a practical tool to express themselves through their ideas. This process of challenge, creation and accomplishment summarizes the importance of arts education in school.

Sarah knows that with the demands of testing and their many obligations, kids often feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. She hopes that art and her classroom offer students the necessary place to connect, solve problems and create. Art is a haven she is happy to provide for the students at Gettysburg Middle School.

There are many students who shine in the art classroom, and who deserve a place to pursue those interests further outside of school. Like any skill, art requires practice, and the more opportunities we can offer students to explore, create, and problem solve, the better. With this in mind, we hope you will consider a donation to the Adams County Arts Council’s Arts Benefit Children (ABC) campaign, where every three $50 donations sends a child to a summer arts camp. Every dollar counts – thank you for your support!

Girls’ Night Out: Cutout Canvas Wall Art

Posted on: October 19th, 2016 by Karen Hendricks
lori-nelson-cut-canvas

Lori Nelson’s cut canvas wall art: Make you own during Friday Friday, Nov. 4!

There’s a twist to the ACAC’s next “First Friday” event: Attendees will not only be able to enjoy a great night on the town with gallery exhibits and refreshments, but they will also be able to create a stunning piece of artwork at the ACAC.

“Girls’Night Out: Cutout Canvas Wall Art” is a new class debuting on First Friday, November 4, 6-8 pm. Girlfriends are encouraged to round up a friend or two, put in their RSVPs now, and with the help of instructor Lori Nelson, and no experience needed, have a fun evening creating a gorgeous piece of artwork.

“The idea for this class actually originated with my own daughter going to college and wanting artwork for her walls,” Nelson explains. “I love working with an Exacto knife, cutting out designs.”

lori-nelson-cut-canvas-series

Lori Nelson’s cut canvas series, created for her daughter

“Cutout canvas wall art is something fairly simple, and I think everyone who attends will come away with a piece of artwork they can be proud of. I have a very practical approach to art—I like seeing people being able to use their art, to hang it up, and enjoy it.”

“Not to put down ‘paint nights’ at all, but that takes a certain set of skills, and not everyone goes home with a piece of artwork they’re proud of hang on their walls—a lot of times people enjoy the process of creating the art more than the end result,” Nelson explains.

All proceeds from the First Friday class benefit the Arts Council.

Nelson, a longtime ACAC instructor (she’s one of the original instructors going back to the ACAC’s former location on Carlisle Street, when classes were first offered through the ACAC), says she enjoys sharing her love of the arts with both adults and children. Although pottery is her main focus, Nelson says she enjoys switching gears and putting her fine arts degree to work by dabbling in other art forms.

Most days, she works in her home-based pottery studio. Two days a week, she works for Fitzgerald Pottery. The Dillsburg-based business mentored her start with pottery, and she has enjoyed working for them for the past 30 years.

“Even though I’m an artist by trade, I’ve always had a passion for teaching art so that people can enjoy it and appreciate it better,” she says.

 

Click here to register for Girls’ Night Out: Cutout Canvas Wall Art. Cost is $30 for ACAC members; $33 for non-members.

Explore Lori Nelson’s Pottery online

And click here to visit Fitzgerald Pottery

Artist Spotlight: Margery Benson

Posted on: June 1st, 2015 by Karen Hendricks

By Elle Lamboy

Margery Benson

Margery Benson

Since childhood, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by artists. Perhaps it’s because I am so humbled by the incredible imagery they produce.

Or, maybe it’s because I’m a bit envious that artists can visually express their vision while I can barely draw a stick figure.

So, when I was asked by the Adams County Arts Council (ACAC) to interview artist Margery Benson, I was nervous.

As I entered her studio, located on the second floor of the ACAC facility, I was immediately awe-struck.

Her introspective paintings filled the studio from corner to corner; bordering the space with an abundance of canvas, color, and authentic imagery. Margery stood in the middle of it all with her palette in hand and her smock beautifully colored with various remnants of her latest work in progress.

We exchanged pleasantries and then she asked the question I dreaded.

“Are you an artist?” she inquired.

“No, I mumbled with a bit of uneasiness, “I’m just a writer.”

“Oh, so you’re an artist of words.” she immediately replied.

My entire spirit lifted. In just five words, within five minutes of meeting me, she changed my whole perspective.

And her art did the same.

As I scanned the room, I was immediately captivated by a striking painting of urban decay. While most would see the urban landscape as the antithesis of beauty she found it incredibly inspiring. “There’s just something beautiful about it,” she said looking longingly at the piece, “I know others may not see it, but I do.”

Urban Decay by Margery Benson

Urban Decay by Margery Benson

As we walked around the studio viewing her various works, she knew something intimate about each of her subjects. One was a blind musician, another a struggling artist herself, one who I swore resembled Walt Whitman. “See?, she asked confidently,  you see the literary in him. Everyone has their own perception…that’s what art is supposed to do!”

Her portrayal of these people left me with a desire to imagine my own end to their stories—her art invoked an immediate sense of curiosity and engagement that left me longing to spend some quality time with her work.

I quickly grasped that her keen perception is one of her strongest artistic qualities. She takes the time to get to know what or who she’s painting, and it shows. She doesn’t just see it, she feels it.

“Perception, concept, and context are essential components in my work, Margery explains, “the medium is secondary, or even tertiary, to the final product. Actually the final product is rarely final as I might be doing another final brushstroke after a work is framed.”

In order to put her astute perception to practice, she rents a studio at the ACAC, along with four other artists.

She especially enjoys the balance of socialization and solidarity the ACAC studio space provides stating, “The other residents are a fascinating group of artists. We periodically meet and visit, but [my] focus is to try to get works to a suitable stage for sharing with other audiences.”

Benson also shares that she enjoys being in a “state-of-the-art facility with all necessary utilities and helpful staff to accommodate any requests.”  She also favors the downtown location of the ACAC, which “facilitates interaction with the local community.”

“In fact, she exclaims as her eyes light up, “when we’re lucky, the young children taking cooking classes downstairs will come up and share their culinary masterpieces with us. The smells are just amazing!”

As I go to leave, she takes the time to introduce me to her “studio neighbor” photographic artist Bert Danielson. Their interaction is comfortable yet respectful, like two officemates relishing in a quick coffee break between deadlines.

I paused for a moment on the steps to scratch a few notes and reflect a bit on my recent encounter. I channeled Margery’s inspiring perspective as I imagined the five artists sharing creative ideals and then going back to their solitary studios to create their own original works as the classrooms below buzzed with activity of young artists hoping, one day, to have a studio of their own to fill.

Margery looks forward to attending several group shows this year to share her work with the public. You can also view her work, first hand, by E-mailing her at margerybenson@aol.com.

For more information about renting studio space at the ACAC, contact Chris Glatfelter, Executive Director, at ed@adamsarts.org.

Untitled by Margery Benson

Untitled by Margery Benson

 

Xuchialt Artists and Upper Adams High School Art Students featured in May

Posted on: April 30th, 2015 by Karen Hendricks

Written by Wendy Heiges, ACAC Program Coordinator

Nicaraguan Dancers

Nicaraguan Dancers

The Adams County Arts Council will showcase the artwork of five artists from the Taller Artistico Xuchialt of Leon, Nicaragua during the month of May in the Reception Hall at the ACAC’s Arts Education Center, 125 S. Washington Street.  The show will include artwork by students, Xuchialt teachers and Adams County artists.  A First Friday reception on May 15-7:30 p.m. will feature a 15 minute full costumed demonstration of traditional dance starting at 5:30 p.m.

The 5 Nicaraguan artists will feature artwork produced at the Taller Artistico Xuchialt School of Art, which is supported by Project Gettysburg-Leon.  The four year program is officially accredited by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Culture and teaches over 120 students each year.  Gina Robinson of Project Gettysburg-Leon says, “All of the teachers are volunteers. They do this for the love of art. It’s a very exciting thing for the arts community to have people so passionate about sharing their arts and culture.”

Marlon Moreno, Xuchialt artist

Marlon Moreno, Xuchialt artist

The Xuchialt artists are scheduled to teach a Primitivista Paint Night at the ACAC on Tuesday, May 5th, from 6-9 p.m. during their three week visit.  The evening will feature folkloric dancing, Nicaraguan folk music and primitivista painting, a bright and colorful form of Nicaraguan painting with common themes of flora, fauna, community life and historical events.  Robinson comments, “It’s a true cultural exchange.  They’re teaching us, we’re teaching them.  This is a chance to share in the growing friendship between Leon, and Adams County.”

The Upper Adams High School art students under the instruction of Lisa Harman will be showing their 2D and 3D artwork in the Studio at the Arts Education Center during the month of May, as well.  A May 1st First Friday student reception will be held in the studio from 5-7:00 p.m.  Their artwork will remain hanging through mid-June.

Upper Adams student work

Upper Adams student work

To register for the Primitivista Paint Night, or for more information about the Taller Artistico Xuchialt exhibit, the Upper Adams High School student show and other upcoming Arts Council exhibitions, news and events or art classes at the Arts Council’s Arts Education Center, visit www.adamsarts.org or call (717) 334-5006.

The Adams County Arts Council’s mission is to cultivate an arts-rich community.

Painting by Bryan Diaz

Painting by Bryan Diaz

Artist Spotlight: Sally Becker

Posted on: April 23rd, 2015 by Lisa Cadigan

sally beckerWhile exploring the gully and stream behind her childhood home at the age of five, Sally Becker found clay. Over 50 years later, her Iron Blue Gully Studio sits above that very clay deposit. The iron-rich, bluish clay is a reminder of her first experiences with nature and art, inspiring her work, along with the memories, landscapes and history of her childhood home.

Sally’s mother was not a professional artist, but believed in the importance of art, and shared that belief with her children. Sally took art classes outside of school, and developed the philosophy that art is good for everyone from an early age. Later, she took many courses in clay, as well as drawing, painting and photography, while working toward her BFA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She went on for a Masters in Education from Penn State, which she credits with improving her effectiveness as a teacher. An elementary and high school art teacher for 40 years, Sally describes herself as the jack of many trades, working in a variety of media.

Sally retired from teaching two years ago, which has opened up opportunities to work in her studio. Ten years ago, she began exploring Encaustic painting, a medium of hot wax and pigment, which originated in ancient Rome. She was able to study this medium with Michael Campbell at Shippensburg University.

Sarah_M_Becker_Memory_Bank_Barn_frontThere’s a lot of clay in her studio, too, but she often mixes media: clay sculptures often have images carved into them, or she will draw with colored slips. She also enjoys drawing with pastels, ink, pencil and graphite. “When I retired, I thought I would start this studio for the fun of it,” Sally says. “But I’m beginning to think there’s more. I am continually drawn to what’s around me where I grew up, landscapes, memories, animals, historical aspects of the farm. I want my family to see these things and remember from my point of view. I want to find a way to get people to think; to make them stop and look.”

fish plateIt makes sense that this urge to inspire people to notice the beauty around them is still with her after 40 years of teaching. Fortunately for our community, Sally continues to share her inspiration and skill teaching classes at the Adams County Arts Council. This session, she is teaching Beginning Drawing and Introduction to Soft Pastels. This summer, she will offer two camps: Turn Songs into Paintings, for ages 8-10 from June 8-12, and 3D Architectural and Figurative Sculpture, for ages 11-14 from June 22-26. Her work can also be seen at numerous ACAC Exhibits and Instructors’ Shows throughout the year… including clay pieces inspired by a 5-year old’s delightful discovery.

 

FarmPump

Artist Spotlight: Linda Fauth

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by Karen Hendricks
Linda Fauth, "at home" in the ACAC's kitchen

Linda Fauth, “at home” in the ACAC’s kitchen

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us and seems like the perfect time to profile a culinary instructor who enjoys focusing on “spring greens.”

Linda Fauth, long-time consumer science (“home ec”) teacher, may be retired, but she is still enjoying sharing her culinary and creative skills with a new group of students of all ages, through classes at the ACAC.

A native of Red Lion, in nearby York County, Linda says she inherited many of her talents from her mother. “She was a great cook and seamstress,” Linda explains, “So the apple didn’t fall far from the tree!”

After graduating from Albright College with a degree in family & consumer science, a move to New Jersey, and the earning of her master’s degree in education, Linda settled in Adams County in 1978.

She taught numerous classes including culinary and nutrition classes to middle schoolers in the Upper Adams School District, for more than 30 years, retiring in 2011.

Since then, she has taught numerous adult and children’s classes at the ACAC, including a tofu workshop; one of the highlights was creating a chocolate silk pie made with tofu.

“I have good, standard recipes I’ve used for many years, but I’m always trying new things,” Linda says. “Cooking Light is my favorite book and magazine for discovering new recipes.”

A previous class participant

A previous class participant

Linda is always modifying her classes, especially to reflect the trend towards more healthful eating.

Her next class for adults, “Spring Market Cooking,” includes several recipes featuring kale, considered one of the healthiest, nutrient-dense foods.

Spring Market Cooking!  Thursday, May 14, 6-8:30 pm Learn creative ways to prepare healthy appetizers, entrees and desserts using kale, asparagus and spring’s lush bounty.  Prepare and eat a kale salad, Portuguese kale soup, fruit salsa, a light entrée and something sweet and sumptuous for dessert.  Linda Fauth, $45 ($42 member) Register

One of Linda's former ACAC students proudly displays her edible creation!

One of Linda’s former ACAC students proudly displays her edible creation!

Linda also enjoys teaching 9, 10 and 11-year olds, through summer arts camps at the ACAC. Three years in a row, she has taught students how to make kid-friendly dishes they can easily replicate at home: smoothies, soft pretzels, mini pizzas, macaroni and cheese, and more.

“Sewing is Fun” is another popular camp Linda has taught for several summers. She abides by a special motto when it comes to her students’ creations. “I always tell my students they should like their projects and finish them—I always stay after class to help students finish sewing their projects if need be.”

Here are Linda’s upcoming 2015 summer arts camps:

Sewing is Fun! July 27-31 (ages 9-11) 1-4 pm  Spend the week learning both hand and machine sewing skills and see how easy sewing can be… and fun too!  Choose your own fabric and create your very own chef’s apron, a tote bag, and decorative pillows. Linda Fauth $152 (member $142) Register

Cooks in the Kitchen July 20-24 (ages 9-11), 9-12 pm  Begin your journey into the culinary world by learning about nutritious fun foods. Develop confidence around the kitchen- learn about proper measurements, safety issues and what kitchen tools to use! Make favorites: soft pretzels, orange julius, ice cream, mac and cheese, and fresh salsa and more! Linda Fauth $160 ($150) Register

Previous "Sewing is Fun" campers

Previous “Sewing is Fun” campers

One of Linda's previous kids' cooking camps

One of Linda’s previous kids’ cooking camps

Previous "Sewing is Fun" campers

Previous “Sewing is Fun” campers

Spending time in the kitchen isn’t a chore to Linda: “The kitchen here (at the ACAC) is awesome—it’s so easy to set up and involve the class in the cooking process. Afterwards, there’s plenty of room for us to eat as well!”

When she’s not cooking at the ACAC, Linda enjoys spending time as a food and wellness volunteer through the Penn State Extension Service, making presentations to schools, business meetings, and other groups. One of their current programs is called Dining with Diabetes.

She also enjoys sewing for her grandchildren; her latest creations have included dresses, a Hawaiian shirt, a puppet theater, and alphabet charts.

Linda says her favorite, prized recipe of all time is a family recipe that’s been handed down for generations, for sticky buns. But she also enjoys making sourdough starter, baking bread, cakes, cookies and cream puffs.

Her neighbors likely consider themselves very lucky. She says she often shares her culinary creations with them—but along with those tasty treats comes a request: She always asks for their honest feedback on all new recipes. Sounds like a delicious relationship!

Linda Fauth IMG_9031

An ABC chart Linda made for her grandchildren

 

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Anna (Fetter) Robison

Posted on: March 2nd, 2015 by Lisa Cadigan

Anna-fettucine-handsCulinary Arts Instructor Anna (Fetter) Robison Shows How Food Is Art, Appealing to All of our Senses

I first met Anna (Fetter) Robison when she was the head chef at Pomona’s Woodfired Bakery Café (now Fidler & Co. Custom Kitchen) in Biglerville.  From the beginning, her talents in the culinary arts were obvious: the restaurant was always filled with people and delicious smells – the aromas were just a teaser to the tastes that followed. It was also impressive to watch her craft beautiful and tasty dishes while managing a kitchen staff often made up of her siblings. The oldest of six, Anna grew up in Cashtown with a strong sense of family. Watching her run a kitchen, it was obvious she and her brothers and sisters hold each other in high regard and with mutual respect. She runs a tight ship, but acknowledges, “Yelling isn’t good for anyone. Respect is a two-way street.”

Anna left Pomona’s to focus on time with her family, and she approaches parenting in the same no-nonsense, fun-loving, mutually respectful way she runs a kitchen. Mom to a precocious and adorable five-year-old who also loves to cook, once a week Anna encourages her daughter Emily’s creative exploration by allowing “experimental soups” for dinner, which Emily makes and serves to the grown-ups. Anna respectfully tastes whatever is served. After all, if Emily is expected to eat what is in front of her, Anna feels it is important to offer the same respect. That said, Anna admitted with a smirk that when her daughter’s “soups” are too difficult to choke down, she and her husband might creatively distract Emily before cleaning their plates in the sink. Some day they will all laugh about this together.

Cooking adventures with her daughter have inspired many of the children’s classes Anna teaches for the Adams County Arts Council. Earlier this year, she offered a Mommy & Me Frozen-themed cooking class, inspired by the popular movie. This summer, she is excited to offer a Princess Cooking Camp, where students will be introduced to cuisines paired with the appropriate princesses, including dishes like New Orleans-style jambalaya, inspired by Tiana of The Princess and the Frog and a sea-foam smoothie and shell pasta salad, inspired by Ariel of The Little Mermaid.

pasta-dishIn addition to her wonderful work with kids, Anna is also a culinary artist with much to offer adults. Her specialties include fresh pasta and seafood dishes. These evening classes can be a great alternative to a typical night at a restaurant – students enjoy a social evening of learning, interaction and great food. The experience offers food that is not only delicious, it’s also beautiful. Tantalizing smells fill the classroom-kitchen. The culinary arts allow students to experience food with all five senses, making it a uniquely appealing art form.

Anna is thoroughly enjoying her teaching experiences at ACAC, and she aspires to teach full-time some day. A graduate of the Gettysburg High School Tech Prep Culinary Arts program, she had all good things to say about her experience there, and would ultimately love to return as a full-time instructor. In the meantime, you can find her working at Hickory Bridge Farm, a family-style restaurant in Ortanna, and teaching all she can at ACAC.

A Taste of Anna’s Talents

Anna-pastamachineIs this article making your mouth water? Come see Anna on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 pm, when she offers Pasta, Pasta, Pasta! Students will learn to make delicious pasta dough for ravioli and lasagna, as well as a collection of sauce recipes. Register here!

Anna has also graciously volunteered to coordinate the catering and food service for the ACAC’s upcoming event, Glitter and Glue: An Evening with Kelly Corrigan on March 20. This promises to be an exciting evening of good food, live music, and a wonderful presentation and book signing by NY Times best-selling author Kelly Corrigan. The event is part of Corrigan’s “Glitter and Glue for Good,” (#ggforgood) benefitting a variety of non-profits across the United States. Register here!

Mary Luquette: Art is the “Key” to Life

Posted on: December 8th, 2014 by Karen Hendricks

“Art has brought healing to my life. But it’s not only about that. To put art ‘out there’… it’s fantastic to have others benefit from viewing it and learning about my story.”

Mary Luquette of Gettysburg believes art truly saved her life. It’s the “key” to her story…

Mary Luquette (Photo Credit: Karen Hendricks)

Mary Luquette (Photo Credit: Karen Hendricks)

“Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer but my parents said ‘no—be practical,’” she explains. “I always sewed, always had an interest in art and fiber, and although it wasn’t the focus of my career, I got into quilting.”

Mary Luquette 4She says quilting and fiber arts came naturally to her. “I have always felt as though I ‘know colors’ and can put different colors and fabrics together.”

But woven into the fabric of her adult life, were the tragic deaths of five family members including her husband.

“Life didn’t make sense, so it didn’t make sense to continue quilting,” Luquette says. “But creating fiber art as a form of expression brought tremendous healing.”

“I was surprised that I was also successful. I was seeing a counselor for the grief and she asked if I was going to keep them (the fiber artwork) under my bed forever. So I started showing and selling them.”

Mary Luquette 1The first art exhibition she entered was the Adams County Arts Council’s 2nd Annual Juried Arts Exhibition in 2005 and Luquette was awarded the prestigious “Best of Show.”

“It was an amazing feeling,” Luquette says. “Fiber art is more accepted today as ‘real’ art. But (nearly 10 years ago, in 2005,) I expected a painting or sculpture to win.”

That first award was a validation of her artistic talent; simultaneously, Luquette was also winning awards for her athletic ability. Running had become another outlet for her pain, and she became a successful triathlon and marathon competitor.

Even though Luquette had quickly become an award-winning artist, she realized two important things: “I wish art could pay the bills, but it’s very tough to make it financially as an artist,” she explains. In her ‘day job,’ Luquette works with autistic children.

Mary Luquette 6Secondly, she realized that she needed to deepen her artistic skills through classes at the arts council.

“I decided I wanted to study the basics because I never really considered myself a ‘real’ artist. I thought it was important to learn the basics—color and form.”

Luquette signed up for drawing, photography and painting classes, and is currently in her third series of drawing classes with Sara Little. “I think every teacher here at the arts council is very passionate about their subject. With Sara, I love her honesty—she’s very critical and she will give you feedback on how to fix your drawings.”

Mary Luquette 5She encourages others to take advantage of the wide range of classes available at the arts council. “My advice is to sign up,” she says. “People who say ‘I can’t’… all they need to do is practice. I don’t say ‘I can’t draw.’ Instead, I say ‘I don’t practice enough.’ That’s all it is.”

“You can’t expect to draw like DaVinci. Just like you can’t expect to run a 5K right away. You start walking and before you know it you’ll be running. I learned how to swim at the age of 60. I’m open to learning new skills. Everyone can learn–it provides an outlet. Some aspect of art is important to express who you are.”

Mary Luquette 3Luquette has taken numerous fiber art classes including week-long sessions in New York state. She estimates that she’s created hundreds of collage and/or fabric art pieces by now.

“Last year my sister died of Alzheimer’s Disease at age 54. I’m inspired to continue creating, by life events,” she says. “The arts are a great way to express things when we can’t verbalize them.”

You could say that art is the key that unlocked her ability to cope with life’s ups and downs… a defining statement from Luquette, especially considering the meaning of “Luquette,” a Canadian/French surname that refers to the occupation of a locksmith.

˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜ ˜

To check the ACAC’s list of current classes, click here

To contact Mary Luquette, click here for her email address

To learn more about her story, click here for JourneyThroughGrief.com

Mary Luquette 2

In the Artist Spotlight: Debbie Westmoreland

Posted on: November 5th, 2014 by Karen Hendricks

IMG_9340web

You could say that everything Debbie Westmoreland does, she does with style.

From fashioning Barbie doll clothes at the age of six, to working for a major New York department store, and curating historical exhibits—all of these experiences have put her on a path that recently brought her to Gettysburg where she now shares her creative gifts through the Adams County Arts Council (ACAC).

Detail, "Floral Abstract", wool and silk

Detail, “Floral Abstract”, wool and silk

By day, Westmoreland may be one of the friendly smiling faces visitors encounter when they enter the ACAC and are greeted by support staff. But Westmoreland is also part of the huge network of talented instructors who lead classes at the arts council. She has taught interior design classes for adults as well as fashion design classes for the children’s afterschool and summer programs. Additionally, her textile art has been featured in numerous ACAC exhibits. And she continues to learn and grow as an artist, by taking classes from other arts council instructors.

“I’ve always been interested in textiles, fashion and history,” the Gettysburg woman explains. “And my career path is an example of that… but being in this environment has given me the confidence to truly pursue being an artist (for the first time),” she explains.

Fiber art by Debbie Westmoreland

Fiber art by Debbie Westmoreland

It’s been a long, winding road for Westmoreland, who learned how to sew at a young age, from her mother and grandmothers as she grew up in the Reading area. “My Pennsylvania German heritage made me appreciate the importance of textiles,” she claims.

Even though her heart was in the fashion industry, her head steered her towards a more practical college major—design and merchandising—at Drexel University, Philadelphia. While working in retailing for Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, she realized she needed a creative outlet. So she decided to go back to school for her BFA in interior design from the New York School of Interior Design.

After working at several design firms in New York and New Jersey, Westmoreland again sought a more creative path—with a twist. “I realized I wanted to tie my love of history into my work.” She again headed back to school, studying at Seaton Hall, for her Master of Arts in Museum Professions.

This led to a position she describes as “one of the most creative experiences I’ve ever had”–Curator and Collections Manager for the Morris County Historical Society in New Jersey—a position she held for 13 years.

In 2011, when her husband reached retirement age, the couple decided to relocate to Gettysburg. “This area is a welcoming and nurturing setting for artists,” she explains. “It’s hard for me to create in a crowded, fast-paced environment, but Adams County is a comfortable environment, (more conducive to producing artwork).”

In addition to exhibiting her work periodically through members’ shows at the ACAC, her stylish fashions and textile artwork can both be found at A&A Village Treasures, Chambersburg Street, Gettysburg.

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“I feel as though I’m finally underway as an independent artist—it’s another step or chapter in my career,” she says. All achieved with her ever-evolving flair for style.

To contact Debbie Westmoreland: westmorelanddebbie (at) gmail.com

"Fantasy Turquoise," a wrap by Debbie Westmoreland

“Fantasy Turquoise,” a wrap by Debbie Westmoreland

 

Detail, "Fantasy Turquoise"

Detail, “Fantasy Turquoise”

 

Artist Spotlight: Andrew Smith

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by Lisa Cadigan

Photography is an art form that magically captures a single moment.  The photographer freezes time for a split second allowing viewers to zoom in on details that may otherwise have passed us by.  But what if the photographer not only captures a moment, but also creates it?  This is a question ACAC member artist Andrew Smith addresses, particularly with his abstract photography.  “One can pose individuals in a portrait or choose how far to focus in on a still life, but the photographer typically can’t change the subject. [My] abstract work adds an extra dimension to the creative process,” says Smith, who has manipulated and captured colored liquids in varying states with macro-photography to pleasing results.  His pieces have been included in ACAC’s annual Abstract Show for the past two years.

This piece appeared in the Adams County Arts Council's 2014 Abstract Show last summer.

Fluid III appeared in the Adams County Arts Council’s 2014 Abstract Show last summer.

Andrew Smith experiments with subjects in both liquid and solid forms.

Andrew Smith experiments with subjects in both liquid and solid forms.

As a full-time middle school music teacher and band director at Susquenita Middle School, Andrew doesn’t aggressively pursue photography as a career right now, but he feels fortunate to have been included in several juried shows, and has some items for sale in the Frame Shop & Gallery in Hanover.  In addition to his macro-liquid shots, he has a great eye for landscapes, and hosted nine “photo-walks” in the area from 2008-2013, availing area participants to photograph interesting scenes and share their results on a custom Flickr page.

Lost in Death was shot during a Photo Walk, and appeared in

Lost in Death was shot during a Photo Walk, and appeared in the 2012 Gettysburg Festival juried exhibit.

Andrew not only made these tortilla chips, he seasoned them to a perfection requiring no dips, and then captured them in a tantalizing photograph.

Andrew not only made these tortilla chips, he also seasoned them to a perfection requiring no dip, and then captured them in a tantalizing photograph.

Regardless of subject matter, however, Andrew enjoys the entire process of his projects – from composition through printing and choosing the mattes and frames for finished pieces. Perusing his portfolio, you will find that in addition to nature, landscapes and abstracts, Andrew is also a foodie – enjoying the creation and manipulation of recipes, which he then captures in tantalizing images before sharing and eating his art.

Creativity obviously infuses all he does, and like most creative folks who know to value process over outcome, the results for the rest of us are quite good. You can see more of Andrew’s work on his website, Visual Realia, and you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Photos © Andrew Smith. Reproduction of any image is prohibited without express consent of the artist.

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Ted Scarpino

Posted on: July 8th, 2014 by Karen Hendricks
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Ted Scarpino proudly wears a shirt given to him by his granddaughter

Ted Scarpino: Evolving from Photography to iPhoneography (originally published by Handmade in PA, blog of the PA Guild of Craftsmen)

Photography, at its very core, is a merging of art and science. And you could say that photographer Ted Scarpino was truly born into both fields, since his mother was an art teacher and his father taught science. The family’s home even included a dark room in the basement.

While science and technology drew him to a career as an electrical engineer, Scarpino also dabbled in photography his entire life. In his native New York state, he developed a thriving wedding photography business on the side, was active in several camera clubs, and earned accolades in photo competitions with the Professional Photographers of America. All the while, he grew and adjusted to technology—embracing the switch to digital photography and applying new techniques to his photos via Photoshop.

“Along the Lake,” taken in 2007 in the Adirondacks. This photo was accepted into the PPA’s permanent loan collection.

“Along the Lake,” taken in 2007 in the Adirondacks. This photo was accepted into the PPA’s permanent loan collection.

“Rolling Hills,” another Scarpino photo accepted into the PPA’s loan collection, was taken from a hot air balloon. This photo was also juried into the prestigious “Art of the State” exhibit, Harrisburg.

“Rolling Hills,” another Scarpino photo accepted into the PPA’s loan collection, was taken from a hot air balloon. This photo was also juried into the prestigious “Art of the State” exhibit, Harrisburg.

Today, enjoying retirement and relocated to Gettysburg, PA, Scarpino continues to explore the balance of science and art known as photography, but through a new lens—the iPhone. “Three years ago, I got my first iPhone. It’s exciting to be able to find places to eat, to use maps and many other features right at my fingertips,” he explains, “But the thing I was the most excited about was the camera.”

“You can’t go anywhere today—New York City, DC, even the Gettysburg Battlefield, without seeing people taking pictures with their phones.”

“iPhoneography” has kept this veteran photography on his toes. Scarpino is intrigued by the accessories and apps that make quality photos possible with a phone so unbelievably small that it fits into his pocket. Although some photographers feel threatened by, or look down upon iPhoneography, Scarpino has a different view. “I think (iPhones) could actually be making photography more accessible. There are so many artistic uses of the iPhone… it’s certainly given photography a new language. There’s a powerful computer in every camera and is a great merging of the two fields—art and science.”

“Arrival of the Prophet – Union Station, Chicago.” Scarpino says this is “personally one of my favorite images of all time.” Taken with an iPhone using the Hipstamatic app, Salvador lens.

“Arrival of the Prophet – Union Station, Chicago.” Scarpino says this is “personally one of my favorite images of all time.” Taken with an iPhone using the Hipstamatic app, Salvador lens.

The panoramic “Rainbow over Orchard Road,” captures a chance encounter Scarpino had with a rainbow while walking his dog. His iPhone was the only camera he had with him–thank goodness!

The panoramic “Rainbow over Orchard Road,” captures a chance encounter Scarpino had with a rainbow while walking his dog. His iPhone was the only camera he had with him–thank goodness!

Scarpino regularly shares his knowledge of iPhoneography via classes at the Adams County Arts Council located in Gettysburg. His iPhoneography classes are aimed at helping participants “discover how to maximize a smart phone’s photographic potential.”

His photography work is exhibited and for sale at Gallery 30, Gettysburg, and Scarpino enjoys entering juried art exhibits such as the Adams County Arts Council’s Juried Art Exhibition and the Art of the State at Harrisburg’s State Museum of Pennsylvania. In 2010, his piece “Rolling Hills” was juried into the Art of the State exhibit, about 40 years after his mother had a fused glass piece accepted into this pinnacle of Pennsylvania exhibits. Still following in both his mother and father’s footsteps…

To contact Ted Scarpino: 717-677-4192

“And the Water Whispers to Me,” aptly titled by Scarpino’s sister. Standing on a bridge overlooking the Susquehanna in Cooperstown, NY, Scarpino captured this shot of the very last man in a canoe race. “He was wearing a red hat, with a beautiful wake behind him, with the tree branches as a frame.”

“And the Water Whispers to Me,” aptly titled by Scarpino’s sister. Standing on a bridge overlooking the Susquehanna in Cooperstown, NY, Scarpino captured this shot of the very last man in a canoe race. “He was wearing a red hat, with a beautiful wake behind him, with the tree branches as a frame.”

 

“Red Barn on Yellow Hill,” an Adams County landscape. Scarpino says he finds orchards and farmlands fascinating in every season, especially when straight lines are found on rolling hills.

“Red Barn on Yellow Hill,” an Adams County landscape. Scarpino says he finds orchards and farmlands fascinating in every season, especially when straight lines are found on rolling hills.

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Carol Herren Foerster

Posted on: June 23rd, 2014 by Lisa Cadigan

CarolAdams County Arts Council member Carol Herren Foerster has been sharing her drawings in Adams County for more than 25 years, but she recently recommitted herself to “really doing her art.”

Unexpected family obligations that arose earlier in her career made it impossible for Carol to finish her teaching certification, despite finishing a Bachelor’s degree in art.  Later, a work-related injury left her legally disabled with Radial Tunnel Syndrome in her right arm.  Carol says it’s no coincidence that drawing is the one activity that doesn’t aggravate the disorder.  The fine detail of her work is further evidence that drawing is what she is called to do.

Carol’s first priority has always been her family. Though her two children and four step-children are now grown, her house still often bustles with the sounds of little people – her grandchildren – for whom she cares while their parents are working.  As a younger mom, she worked odd jobs here and there, squeezing in time to draw when she could.  Since her own children are now grown, she is enjoying the freedom to pursue her drawing more seriously, particularly since the youngest grandchild is out of diapers.

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This piece will be on display as part of the Art of the State Show at the State Museum of Harrisburg until September 2014.

She also credits a sense of artistic liberation to Facebook and social media.  Since posting her work on Facebook, the overwhelmingly positive responses have allowed her to let go of self-imposed angst and inhibition surrounding her abilities as an artist. Her confidence has snowballed over the past few years, during which she has not only improved her skills, but she has also entered more shows and contests, won a few awards, and most recently, she received a letter from Pennsylvania Senator Richard Alloway, III congratulating her on a spot in the Art of the State Show at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, which began Saturday, June 22 and continues through September. She also has work showing at the Salmagundi Club in New York City this summer. Because she practices her art and submits her work without expectation or worry, the notifications of awards and acceptances like these feel like happy surprises.

When asked about her plans for the future, Carol says, “I’m no longer taking commissions. I just draw what I want.” An earlier plan to draw a series of women’s portraits evolved into a beautiful, eclectic collection of subjects that were on display at the ACAC Education Center last May.  She looks forward to another show at ACAC in April of 2015.  To prepare for that show and other upcoming events, Carol says she will just “go with the flow and follow inspiration.”  It’s a tactic that has been serving her well so far.

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This piece will be featured for the summer at the Salmagundi Club, 47 Fifth Ave., New York NY.

Carol has a website, but you can see her most up-to-date work on her Facebook page.

Contact her through Facebook or at carolsartsite@gmail.com to inquire about purchasing her drawings.

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The fine detail of Carol’s work makes it clear that drawing is what she is called to do.

Would you like to nominate yourself or another ACAC member for an Artist Spotlight article on this blog?
Email Lisa Cadigan or Karen Hendricks with your ideas for a great art story.

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