On Friday, September 25th Berea College Crafts Education and Outreach (BCCEO) participated in the 5th annual Walk with the Arts festival at Indian Fort Theater in Berea, KY. Walk with the Arts is an event that gives Madison County fourth graders a chance to spend the day with local artists, learning about their craft and participating in hands-on workshops. Among the various local artists, BCCEO brought ten student craftsmen to demonstrate and engage the fourth graders in learning about their different crafts and the history behind each one. Although the weather was rainy, that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm that the fourth graders had for experiencing all the demonstrations including weaving on a loom, basket weaving, pottery, wood turning, spinning wool and broom making. BCCEO demonstrators worked with over 1,000 fourth graders at Walk with the Arts and had an incredible experience.
Cassidy Franklin, a broom maker and weaver said “They all asked great questions and absorbed all of the information I spouted at them about the demonstrations, the craft program at the college, and the college in general. I hope that each child carries at least one memory from this experience with them and that it helps mold the person they will become. If we’re lucky, perhaps some of them will even join our craft program in the future”.
Walk with the Arts was also a learning experience for the BCCEO demonstrators. Each student craftsmen had to be creative in engaging the kids by letting them touch the different materials, asking thoughtful questions, and most of all being enthusiastic and excited about art. “Sure they were filled with lots of questions, but they were interested in listening as well. I am usually nervous to put myself out there and do this type of thing, but talking about my craft and answering questions with these kids it just felt right”, said broom maker Jennifer Salyer.
Duncan Blount, student potter says “It’s events like these that invest in Berea’s future in Art. And it’s events like Walk with the Arts that let students investigate expression, question their future, and shape who they want to be.” Walk with the Arts was an amazing experience, one in which BCCEO hopes to be involved for many more years to come.