It’s a typical Friday at the Appalachian Center for Craft with over 60 excited high school students arriving, ready for a new experience. The students arrive at 9 a.m. and are greeted with Craft Center staff who are eager to share their beautiful campus and their passion for art. Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft of Tennessee (FACCT) is a non-profit organization that supports the Appalachian Center for Craft and provides wonderful hands on field trips for students in grades 4-12. On Friday, Nov. 1, Stone Memorial High School students attended the Craft Center, many for the first time, for an unforgettable hands-on learning field trip.
Stone Memorial High School art teacher Dale Safdie brings her students each year to experience the Appalachian Center for Craft’s Focus on Fine Craft Outreach field trip. Each students choose one 3 1/2 hour long workshop class which are taught by Craft Center students and artists in residence. The offerings are blacksmithing, copper bracelets, copper enameling, copper wire jewelry, clay on the wheel, felting, Itajme fabric dying, glass etching, glass bead making and woodturning. In each class students create one-of-a-kind hand crafted art pieces that they get to take home at the end of the day. The students learn a new skill while also putting their art class elements of design to use.
“The field trip is not only enjoyable for the students but also educational. We want to connect our art lessons to their curriculum while allowing students to think outside the box,” said Breanna Kincaid, Educational Outreach Director for FACCT. While education is the main goal of the day, the Outreach Program also aims to make a lifelong impact on local students. Many of the college students in the B.F.A. program at the Center attended the field trip program in middle or high school. One high school student wrote on his evaluation, “I want to be a student here someday,” which is exactly what the Craft Center likes to hear. By introducing the Craft Center to the students, an appreciation for fine craft and local art is instilled often carrying into their adult life.
The Outreach program is one way the Craft Center hopes to recruits students who are considering seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The school is a satellite school of Tennessee Technical University, offering BFAs in Clay, Fibers, Glass, Metals, and Wood. The program is unique in that it is one of the only accredited degree craft programs in the state. It also offers small class sizes at state school prices making it an excellent value and choice for art school. During the field trip high school students tour the studios and student housing. Most of the artists at the Craft Center are working on a BFA in ceramics, fibers, glass, wood, or metals. In addition to educational outreach, the BFA degree programs and the craft certificate, the center also offers diverse summer and weekend workshops that are open to the public.
The program has been benefitting children for over 10 years and continues to provide a unique field trip opportunity to students. This program is funded under an agreement with the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Tennessee General Assembly, the William N. Rollins Fund for the Arts of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and the Highland Rim Chapter of the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists.
In addition to the field trip program, the Craft Center hosts several events for the public. The weekend after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, 30 and Dec. 1, the public is invited to shop, make, and experience art at the Appalachian Center for Craft. There will be artist demos, free pictures with Santa and a free card making station. Mini workshops in glass beads and silk marbled scarves will be offered for $20 for adults and money raised will support the Educational Outreach Field trip program. The Center strives to reach out to many segments of the community through these events and field trips. If you’d like to know more visit the FACCT website www.facct.net or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.