THE ART BLOG
The first thing Teri will tell you is that she is passionate about bringing art to the community. But the word ‘opportunity’ is painted into everything she does. As a volunteer, Teri has worked for years helping to establish the Elkford Arts Council. She continues to devote her time to organizing classes, increasing membership, and applying for grants. Teri explains that its part of the social fabric, and connects different ages. So, the opportunity for a creative space must exist in our small town.
The studio is available for members on a very flexible schedule for individual use, it has been offered as a meeting place for various family-oriented services, classes and drop-ins are offered for instruction, and Teri’s favourite program brings the love of art to children. The opportunities are endless.
In November the Youth Mentorship Program, developed and overseen by Teri, held one of its Open Houses for the families of the artists. Through Teri’s efforts, a CBT grant was secured to last for 2 years so that the art classes were free for the children grades 3-6, and teen tutors were employed to plan, instruct, and clean up after the classes. Four sessions of 32 children had the opportunity to get involved in a weekly art class.
Each session, which lasted 8 weeks, had 10 tutors ranging from grade 8-12. Not only did these teens help with the children, each had to prepare one lesson and gain the confidence to teach it in front of 40 people. Learning the skill of presenting a lesson is a valuable opportunity for these teens. They benefited from having a supportive audience of their peers and eager artists. These teens also had the opportunity of gaining job experience, learning expectations for a work ethic where they had to be on time, follow routine tasks, and be accountable. It also included the opportunity for the tutors to take home a pay cheque.
Teri says all the hard work she puts into this and other programs is worth it. For her, she enjoys how the children’s art classes are Unique, Exhausting, Creative, Time-consuming, and also very Satisfying. It warms her heart when she hears that teen tutors who she worked with years ago, still make Art an important part of their lives. She feels that somehow, she may have helped them gain that passion too. This opportunity she created helped them.
She remembers how she benefited at a young age when teachers cared and encouraged her talent. The art room was a welcoming space and often a teen really needs a space like that. Her teacher suggested she try a summer program learning to draw from Franciscan monks. She describes every possible stereotype – brown cloaks, balding heads, but she also remembers their laughter and their gift of teaching. Maybe her drive is fueled by this type of experience as well as her caring nature and ability to lead.
Teri’s efforts with the Elkford Arts Council are very far reaching and everyone involved in the council want to recognize Teri for all that she has generously provided. Not only does Teri create art through her painting and clay, she also creates enormous opportunities for her community. Thank You to Teri.