February 27, 2016
McGraw spreads art through community
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Tammie Whitson, who owns Cold Brook Farm in Marathon, teaches McGraw Elementary School second-graders about fiber arts Thursday, addressing the different shapes and textures of wool.
McGRAW — Second-grade students are working with community artists through a $1,500 grant that art teacher Jen Morse recently received through CNY Arts.
The grant is titled, “I Felt That,” involves local artists teaching a different style of art to the students.The students are creating a landscape made of wool, dying it to create varying colors for the scene.
Morse and local artist Kathy Beale applied for the 2016 Decentralization Program grant through the nonprofit group CNY Arts.
The group helps fund arts and cultural organizations and individual artist through access to grants, capacity-building assistance, education and training. Beale, a retired teacher from LaFayette, spends retirement as a felter. She helped Morse apply for the grant in October.
Beale is the wife David Beale, the former executive director of the Cultural Council of Cortland County. Beale said he had encouraged her to apply for the grant.
The Decentralization Program is a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by CNY Arts in Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego counties.
Thursday was the first of the series for the grant, and students worked with local shepherd Tammie Whitson to learn the different shapes and textures of wool. Whitson owns Cold Brook Farms in Marathon, and has worked with sheep to produce natural-colored fleeces.
She brought in the fleeces for students, explained where wool comes from and how it is turned into clothing.
“I think many of them were impressed by how time-consuming the process to make clothing is,” Whitson said.
Whitson said she was thrilled to introduce students to the idea of working with local producers to acquire 60 ounces of roving wool. Beale and Morse could have gotten the wool from the Internet but instead showcased local venders.
There will be two upcoming class sections of an hour each for students to create their original wool landscape paintings, Beale said Friday.
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