It’s a typical Friday at Tennessee Tech University's Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, with more than 80 excited high school students arriving, ready for a new experience.
The students arrive around 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 is a nonprofit organization that supports the Appalachian Center for Craft and provides wonderful hands on field trips for students in grades fourth through 12th.
This November, Webb High school students attended the Craft Center for an unforgettable hands-on learning field trip.
This was Walker Valley High School's first year to experience the Appalachian Center for Craft’s Focus on Fine Craft Outreach field trip.
Each student chose 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.
Art teacher Amanda Wilson, organized the field trip after spending time at the center last summer during an art educators professional development workshop.
Wilson said of the experience, "I just wanted to thank you (the Craft Center) for the amazing opportunities provided for both my students and I. I was lucky enough to spend 12 days this summer studying with other art teachers at the Center and I have already directly included several new methods and projects into my art classroom."
The Craft Center provides workshops for adults, teachers, and students on a regular basis.
“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 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 bachelors of fine arts in clay, fibers, glass, metals, and wood. The program is unique in that it is one of the only accredited craft degree 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 bachelor of fine arts in ceramics, fibers, glass, wood, or metals.
In addition to educational outreach, the bachelor of fine art 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.
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 acc.friends@ yahoo.com.