Three Wellsville Teachers Chosen for Mountain Arts Workshop

WELLSVILLE — Three Wellsville teachers have been awarded full scholarships to spend a week this summer learning traditional Appalachian arts and crafts at Arrowmont, a nationally acclaimed center for the arts in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Tracy Kosek, a teacher of fifth grade language arts, is to learn techniques in coiled basketry. Lisa Smith, who teaches fifth grade science and social studies, will pursue her interest in heirloom jewelry-making in a metalworking class. Christa McIntosh has chosen painting, a mixed media class using watercolor and collage. She teaches fourth grade mathematics.

Legacy: Appalachian Arts for Appalachian Teachers, scheduled July 14-20, is a relatively new program of Arrowmont, offering instruction in traditional arts, crafts and culture. All teachers, not only arts teachers, were encouraged to apply. Eligibility was limited to teachers in designated Appalachian counties of Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Each applicant had to write a letter of interest describing why they wanted to participate.

“We are honored to be chosen for this, and very excited to learn new things we can bring back to our students,” said McIntosh.

“Each of us wanted to bring back a different craft,” said Kosek. “I collect baskets, and I’m very interested in how they are made.”

In the workshop she chose, teachers will learn how to make a “closed coil basket using rope and yarn, then progress to open coiling with long leaf pine needles and waxed linen thread,” according to the class description.

Lisa Smith’s interest in art was stimulated by her late uncle, John Soldano, who taught art classes in Wellsville and Southern Local school districts. “He taught adult art classes at the former Jefferson Technical College when I was a teenager. I went along to help him and really liked it.”

Soldano passed away five years ago, she said.

“Jewelry speaks to our heritage, tells stories, and reminds us of loved ones and significant moments,” is in the description of the class Smith will join. Participants are encouraged to bring small objects they would like to incorporate into their jewelry designs.

The three teachers will make themselves available to Wellsville’s two arts teachers, as well as find innovative ways to use there new skills in their own academic disciplines. Incorporated in the week are general sessions “by noted educators who will discuss infusing arts across the curriculua.”

Legacy is modeled on Arrowmont’s highly regarded arts workshops. “An immersive experience, Legacy is an opportunity for teachers to learn a new craft, enhance teaching skills, and time to recharge, grow, and reflect,”according to the Arrowmont literature.

Arrowmont is located on 13 wooded acres in downtown Gatlinburg at the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.