My Life at the MACC
The Office of the Director
My Life at the MACC
The Office of the Director
MACC Celebrates Seven Years with Director Barb Storm
(Edited February, 2017)
By Michelle Michaud
On any given day, Barb Storm, the Mountain Arts Community Center director, might be taking out the trash, hanging pictures, greeting teachers and students, or meeting with a boy scout. What you will never see or hear her do is complain. That’s because Barb Storm is a class act.
Just seven years ago, Storm began her time as an employee of the Town of Signal Mountain. But as far as employees go, her job, much like the head of public works, or fire and police, is vitally important to the health of our community.
Because, while fire and police and public works are expected from cities and towns where taxes are collected, a comprehensive arts center is not – which makes Signal Mountain very attractive to outsiders.
"Extraordinary communities understand the value of the arts,” said Dick Gee, former Mayor. “Signal Mountain is fortunate to have Barb Storm. Her vision and leadership has grown the MACC into a thriving arts entertainment community center enjoyed by citizens of all ages,” said Mayor Gee.
Seven years ago, when Barb took the helm of the MACC, it was a budding community center with precious little programming -- five music teachers, drama and art classes, housed in a leaky and crumbling historic grammar school. “Everything from the raccoons and the toxic waste in the attic, to re-roofing so that we don’t have to use buckets to catch the rain drips as they come through, the eves, repairing them so we don’t have critters come through anymore, to the cosmetic and painting and making it so you don’t have plaster falling all over the place and see through walls had to be accomplished to make the building more user friendly and safe.” said Storm.
And even though she wasn’t hired to do maintenance and repair, “that’s been 50% of my time at the MACC. And those improvements make a huge difference,” she said.
“Most people don’t care about the building improvements and such, it’s a building, you want to make it safe, but the building getting better has made it more user-friendly, and that people want to be here because it is comfortable and cool, and it smells good in the winter, it feels good.”
“We have come a long way,” she says, and everything she’s done in her past has made it possible to make the MACC what it is today. “The fact that I got my bachelors and my masters degree in music education, I taught for 30 years, I’ve been head of music departments and bands, head of the fine arts department for 9 years at the Atlanta International School, and that has also lead me to understand and grow an entire fine arts department, not just theatre, and not just fixing up an old building, but how to develop a good fine arts center.”
One of the first things she did as MACC director was to interview 10 contractors and architects who specialized in historic restoration. She settled on Dave Hammel from Raines Brothers and Bob Franklin from Franklin Architects, “I decided on the two most like-minded to share information. We came together to devise a long range plan, we prioritized things that needed to be done in the building then we budgeted.”
Barb says she still uses those plans today, “I couldn’t have done it without the staff that I have, the MACC board, Friends of the MACC, the Signal Mountain Playhouse co-owning everything in the auditorium, and the volunteers, Colleen Laliberte, Val Gibson, Lolly Durant, Lions Club and Boy Scouts. Everybody has helped so much.”
With so many improvements to the building, creative programming, and more teachers, it’s a wonder if Barb thinks she has finally reached her stride, “Yes, I’m very pleased, it is easy to have forgotten how far we’ve come. We’ve accomplished a lot in seven years. (For a list of all accomplishments, log on to SignalMACC.org under ‘about’ then ‘MACC Blog.’
MACC now has cooking classes, fitness classes, computer programming, a fairy garden, pottery and ceramics, dance, STEAM Classes and music classes like Singer/Songwriter, and private lessons for almost every instrument, including piano accordion and hammered dulcimer. MACC even has it’s own Art Gallery called Gallery5@MACC.
“Val Gibson is a fantastic art teacher and she has brought in people to do workshops, June Teuscher for landscapes, and Michael Field for portrait painting. Colleen Laliberte has expanded her program to include the Tennessee Center for Puppetry Arts,” said Storm. "Lolly Durant is a Master Potter, and she always enjoys sharing her talent and creativity!"
We’re progressing really well; the only thing hindering us at this point is time and money. Staff time, touch time, and the funding to be able to do what we need to do. “The best is yet to come,” said former Mayor Gee.
Gallery 5@MACC July Art Opening
For July 2015
By Michelle Michaud
Back in the day, if one dreamed of becoming an artist and wasn’t sure they had talent; one could answer an ad in a magazine that said, “If you can draw this, you can be an artist.” Usually it was a picture of an animal or caricature of a turtle or a pirate. The majority of people who sent in their drawings for currating received a form letter back offering art lessons.
Signal Mountain resident Dottie Swasey, at the age of 12, drew the ad’s picture of a horse, eagerly returned the drawing and waited and waited for a response. She never got a letter, but Swasey said instead, “They sent a representative to my house.”
It was that moment that Dottie knew she could draw and was indeed an artist. Years later in college, Swasey completed her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida in 1980, where she won several merit awards for her landscapes and figure drawings. Since that time, her career has been comprised of both painting and graphic design.
After graduating art school, Swasey remained in Florida another 21 years, returning to Chattanooga in 2001. “I missed the beauty of East Tennessee… the mountains, the lakes, and the changing seasons” says Swasey.
In July, Gallery 5 at the MACC (Mountain Arts Community Center) will hold a one artist show featuring the work of Dottie Swasey. “I’m very excited; this is only the second time I’ve held a solo opening like this.”
She also says it’s been many years since she has painted full time. “I worked for the City of Chattanooga for the past eight years. Working full time like that doesn’t leave much time to be creative and paint. But now I can paint all day if I want to.”
She says, at first getting back into the swing of things was tough, “I was pretty tight. My brush strokes didn’t come easily. Now they are more fluid and easier to do.”
Swasey said in 2001 she had Lasik surgery and can see very well far away, but has to wear reading glasses for close work, “But I choose not to wear them until the very end of a piece, otherwise I tend to get caught up in the details of the painting.”
Swasey’s predominant medium is acrylic, but she also likes to work in oil, watercolor and pastel.
Swasey’s love of Tennessee’s beauty is reflected in her work. Many of her landscapes depict water, weather it is a lake, river or mountain stream. The water gives movement and life to her landscapes. “I am drawn to water” she says, “and I hope it gives the viewer not only visual pleasure, but also evokes the sense of ‘touch and sound’ water gives.”
Dottie Swasey’s work can be viewed and purchased at the MACC beginning Thursday, July 2 with an opening reception from 5pm to 7:30pm. For more information, log on to SignalMACC.org or call 886-1957.
This week has been the beginning of our summer camps. Today (Friday) starts at 8:00 with the mighty Colleen Laliberte (of Skwalking Heads fame!) and her daughter Jessica (professional choreographer) whipping in the MACC parking lot ready for the kids to start showing up. And, when they do show up, they are already singing and dancing to the songs they are learning for "Seussical, Jr". It's pretty funny because they are all singing different songs... And there's a LOT of them, and they ALL have incredible energy...
35 singing and dancing kids.
Next, Chip Hancock flies in for his Summer Drummer camp. If you think the 35 children in the Drama Camp have high energy, you haven't seen drummer kids! Wow. And Chip is just a big kid at heart, and he is so passionate about kids, learning, and drums of all varieties. Currently, Room 8 is the drum room. We moved him from Room 3 which is right next to the office. Do I need to explain why? He has 4, yes, 4 (four) full drum sets in Room 8.
Remember, there are 35 singing and dancing kids all around and in the auditorium, and now 8 drummers drumming.
Next, in walks the incredible Mardi Leonard for her class called iCRE8. She has "stuff" ALL OVER her classroom. Mardi will never be caught without something she needs. She has enough "stuff" to equip a small army of artists. Then, add 7 very creative kids who want to start their projects NOW, and pretty soon there's glue and decoupage all over the kids!
35 singing and dancing kids, 8 drummers drumming and 7 kids creating.
The adult students of Val Gibson, our very talented art teacher, wander in at different times of the day. They are bringing their beautiful paintings in for the First Friday event from 5:00 to 7:00 this evening in Gallery 5. Paintings in hand, they bounce to the beat of the drumming and wind their way through the 35 dancers heading to the cafeteria for lunch. The exhibit quickly takes shape, and several artists have already sold some paintings!
35 singing and dancing kids, 8 drummers drumming and 7 kids creating, 5 artists setting up.
Brianne Hager of B's Sweets, with daughter/helper in tow, comes in to get the kitchen and cafeteria ready for her class next week. "Sweet Surprises" will be just that for 22 kids next week - a week filled with baking and decorating cake pops, cupcakes, mini cakes and cookies. I sure hope they share...
The balloons and signs are up for the Gallery event, the Drama kids are giving parents a preview performance, drummers file out after class, and people start filing in for the art exhibit and reception. Of course, I have to go test the food to make sure it is edible for the public!
As I walk the halls, taking in the sights and sounds of people who are totally engaged in learning and creating, I am thrilled to be a part of the MACC! It is in this re-purposed old school building that lives are enriched, friends are made, new talents are discovered and improved upon, ideas are hatched, and even careers discovered. If you haven't been here lately, you must come and just soak in all that's happening here. Maybe some of it will rub off on you!
MACC’s Fairy Godmother Magically Fixes Fairy Garden Wall
By Michelle Michaud
As the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC) prepared to install its Mini-metropolis last month, it became apparent the location was in need of some TLC. Enter MACC’s fairy godmother and board member, Judy Nowlin.
“We needed to make it a safe and attractive location for all the hard work that has gone into this project,” said Nowlin, a beautifully gray haired fairy with an engaging smile.
The raised bed on the Kentucky side of MACC’s building was falling down. After a lifetime of children using its stone walls as a balance beam or a place to rest, the mountain stone was showing its age, cracking and crumbling, but still smiling from years of usefulness. And now, with the raised bed’s new purpose of a community fairy garden (also known as MACC’s Mini-Metropolis) on the horizon, Judy felt like it deserved a facelift.
“I reached out to our volunteers and Kenny and Ruth Feagan, long time Signal residents and stone mason business owners. Kenny worked with me to get the walled garden area fixed for only the cost of the materials. Through their generosity, we were able to make the site safe and attractive for town residents to view,” Judy said.
Judy Nowlin is one of those people that shies away from limelight. In fact, getting her to agree to do a story about how she helped the MACC was tenuous at best. “To know Judy is to love her. She always greets you with a big smile and a warm heart. As a board member, she has been so active, so inspiring. And she brings ‘Cookie Lady’ cookies for board members each time we meet,” said Barb Storm, executive director of the MACC.
Judy has been a treasured MACC board member for only two years. And even though she works full time as a physician’s group practice manager, she still finds time to volunteer countless hours to MACC’s various projects.
“When approached by a work colleague about considering a Board Position at MACC, I felt that it would a wonderful opportunity to help develop this growing town resource. I wanted to help this town resource enable our adults and children an opportunity to attend classes, camps, free music presentations as well as assist Sandy McRea and the dedicated MACC Board with their work,” she said.
“Like last weekend, she wore boots and jeans at the MACC Hoe Down in the Town at Town Hall. She came straight from work, and stood on her feet all night serving popcorn and drinks to dancers never once complaining,” said Storm
It’s hard to find good people like Judy, said Barb. “I don’t know what we’d do without her. She takes initiative and gets things done. Like the stone wall for the MACC Mini-metropolis. She didn’t ask if it needed to be done; she emptied her pockets and paid for its repair without a single word.”
“It is my dream that every family and citizen on Signal becomes familiar with The MACC’s opportunities for entertainment and personal growth. I hope that each Signal Mountain resident will have a personal experience in this wonderful space. With the free concerts as well as festivals along with the range of classes and camps, MACC has something to offer everyone,” said Judy.
Always thinking about someone else she added, “I am especially proud of our new effort called “MACC KIDS” where MACC has partnered with the Signal Mountain Social Services. This program allows donations to Signal Mountain Social Services, marked for “MACC KIDS,” to provide classes and camps for Signal Mountain poverty level children,” she said.
Nowlin is a long-time resident of Signal Mountain. All three of her children attended school at the Signal Mountain Elementary, now called the MACC. She is vested in its success. And the Town of Signal Mountain is lucky to have her as its special friend.
Little Root Swears in Mayor; Opens Tiny Town
By Michelle Michaud
Earth Day, 2015, the perfect day to hold the grand opening of Signal Mountain’s newest tiny town– Little Root, located just outside the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC).
“Do you solemnly swear to uphold the office of mayor to the best of your ability?” asked the Honorable Judge retired Mickey Barker. “I do,” said Ella Saunders, Little Root’s first12-year old mayor. “Do you promise to protect its neighborhoods and streets to the best of your ability,” he said. “I do,” said Ella. “Then, by the power vested in me, I declare you, Ella Saunders, Mayor of Little Root with all the powers the title holds. Congratulations Mayor Saunders,” said Judge Barker.
The crowd of Little Root Residents, wearing lime-green t-shirts and eating ice cream, erupted in applause. Beach Boys music played in the background and parents and dignitaries admired each child’s dwelling – designed, built, painted, and placed in a raised bed next to the MACC.
“The grand opening event was the culmination of an ArtsBuild Grant and months of hard work and dedication on the part of more than 45 students, several adult volunteers, and MACC staff,” said Barb Storm.
“I’ve never seen students have so much fun learning in so many different areas of discipline in such a short amount of time. It’s really something to be proud of,” she said.
But no one was more proud than the students themselves. Since January, the students engaged in STEAM, or Science Technology, engineering, Arts and Math to make a fairy town of sorts better known as MACC’s Mini-Metropolis. The name change occurred as students wrapped up the class with a lesson in civics and public service.
“The students got together and renamed their town Little Root,” said Michelle Michaud, MACC staff and program manager. “Then, we taught them about elected office, asked them to decide who their candidates would be, taught them how to campaign, and required them to write and present speeches,” said Michaud.
“Dear Fellow Engineers,” began one candidate. “I promise to keep the town safe from intruders and clean and tidy,” she said.
“Then we held an election complete with ballots and voting booths,” Michaud Said. “It was a true delight to witness these children experience voting for their candidate with all the seriousness that evokes.”
Ella Saunders won the election with 51% of the vote. Tally Pierce, 8 year old mini-metropolis student, certified the election results.
“My child had the best time in the class,” said Ruth Farrimond, Grace’s mother. “She just comes home after every class raving about how much fun she had that day.”
“We took a hands off approach with the students and gave them a lot of leeway to imagine how their fairy’s home would look, where it would be located and how it would function within the town,” said Lolly Durrant, program director.
Durrant was also quick to say it was an exhausting process for the adults in charge, “Oh yes, it wore us out. Letting their minds be free to create anything their hearts desired, then helping make that come true.”
Some of the structures turned out to look very normal, and others looked unconventional and far out. Town Hall looked like a stump with twigs attached, but on the other side of town was a pet hospital with a dolphin painted on the side.
“I had the best time working with these kids,” said Andrea Phelps, Little Root volunteer and professional artist and designer. “You never knew from one class to the next what we were going to be doing because it was all based on what the kids accomplished the class before. So we were constantly adjusting our timelines to accommodate the student’s needs,” said Phelps.
Michaud said the fairy garden installation is interactive. Town residents are encouraged to visit and bring brightly colored objects to place in the garden, “Fairies like brightly colored and shiny objects.”
“Watch for new and exciting classes at the MACC! This is just the start of many offerings that will incorporate the STEAM principles. We will also apply for more grants to help us offer these kind of multi-disciplinary classes,” said Barb Storm.
Ukulele Festival Hits Bright Chord at the MACC
On the heels of weeks of bad weather and snow, a fanciful ukulele festival emerged at the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC). Novices with their tiny, brightly colored guitars, streamed into the MACC, bright eyed with the promise of learning the century-old Hawaiin instrument.
“How many people are absolute beginners, this is your first time with a ukulele,” said Butch Ross, MACC’s resident ukulele instructor and the festival’s clinician. “We’ll call beginners folks that haven’t been doing this very long.” About nine students out of 20 raised their hands sheepishly.
“And anybody else that is more advanced… either you are more advanced or you haven’t been paying attention,” Ross jokes and everyone laughs, blowing off anxiety and nervousness.
“So that’s good, when you do something like this and it’s open to everyone and I’m the only one that’s teaching it’s a little hard to gauge what you’re going to get. So this is going to be classical finger style ukulele and we’ll start with Bach pieces,” he said with more laughing to follow.
“I just want to get the blood pumping…so what we’re going to do though is we’re going to start with basic chords. I always think about these things like a tractor pull, it starts out easy and works its way to something more complicated,” said Ross. “There will be three workshops, first workshop will be on chords, the second on strumming and picking, and the third will be on chord progression. We’ll learn the rudiments in the morning,” he said.
Students may not know they are partaking in a long-held tradition dating back to the nineteenth century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art said, “The instrument was probably introduced to Hawaii in 1879 by Portuguese settlers from Madeira who brought with them a small guitar called the braguinha.
The 'ukulele found favor in the court of the Hawaiian king David Kalākaua, a champion both of customary Hawaiian music and musical innovation. Under Kalākaua's patronage, the 'ukulele was adapted to accompany hula dance performances, transforming the more sedate tempo of earlier types of hula into the more lively rhythm characteristic of many hula performances today.
A ukulele festival at the MACC may seem kitchy and fun, but it’s a part of a broader movement of Ukulele Festivals around the nation. According to Wikipedia, “After the 1960s, the ukulele declined in popularity until the late 1990s, when interest in the instrument reappeared. During the 1990s, new manufacturers began producing ukuleles and a new generation of musicians took up the instrument.”
“Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole (now deceased) helped re-popularise the instrument, in particular with his 1993 medley of "Over the Rainbow" and "What a Wonderful World," used in films, television programs, and commercials.
YouTube also played a big role in the popularity of the ukulele. One of the first videos to go viral was Jake Shimabukuro's ukulele rendition of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps. The video quickly went viral, and has received more than 12 million views.”
MACC’s festival brought people from as far away as Walker and Bradley Counties. Sherrie White came from Old Fort near Cleveland. “Yeah, you can tell, over the years you find more and more people playing,” said Sherrie.
The communal nature of a festival seems to attract Ukulele players, “I’d much rather do it like this, then one on one, You have to have a certain mindset to be attracted to it” said Sherrie. “Everyone gets along so well, everyone chatting, people who play ukulele enjoy showing other people how to play. I didn’t care how bad I was playing, it was just a lot of fun. It sounded good overall,” she added.
Students ranged in age from 9 years old to 65. Once again, proving this unassuming instrument has broad appeal.
“The goal of today is to teach you guys how to fish,” said Butch Ross. “ I want you to take private lessons from me, but I also don’t want you leaving here today saying you feel like you don’t HAVE to take private lessons from that guy so he can explain it all to me again.”
MACC 2015 Camps Feature STEAM Classes
When it comes to summer camps, most parents like to sneak in some educational content while showing kids a good time. The Mountain Arts Community Center thinks the same way with its new slate of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) inspired classes.
Choose from any number of camps that will motivate and invigorate your child so that this summer will be one to remember.
Lego Camp – Kids will engineer and build their own personal tiny robots. This is an honest to goodness instructional class, using Legos that your kids will love.
Clean Water Camps -- Mary Beth Sutton leads your 9-15 year olds through local creeks where they will use science to hunt for critters, get wet, and become clean stream investigators.
Trash Formation Creation Camp – Ages 6-10 will use problem solving techniques to transform trash into keepsakes. Join our GREEN machine where kids create and help the environment at the same time.
Fun with Clay-- grades K-8, Lolly Durant’s projects include pinch, coil, slab and wheel throwing. All creations will be bisque fired and glaze fired and safe for food usage.
Film Camp – this class puts your child behind the camera as the movie director, in front of the camera as the actor, and beside the camera as production crew--everything they need to know to produce their own short films.
Kids Art Camp -- ages 7 and up, Val Gibson teaches the Secrets of Drawing.
Music Theatre Camp – Come along on a fantastical journey with crazy, silly characters from your most favorite Dr. Seuss stories. Join Horton the elephant, and the Cat in the Hat on a whimsical adventure through the magical world of Dr. Seuss.
Puppet Camp -- This camp provides two weeks packed with fun and creativity as kids sculpt with papier mache, sew costumes, paint, create voices for their characters on a professional sound track recording and MORE!!
Martial Arts for Beginners -- ages 6-12, Mark Johnson guides your child in the fun and exciting world of martial arts with no uniforms required.
Summer Drummer Days -- grades 4 and up, Chip Hancock teaches the basics as well as master classes. Explore percussion instruments, Marching Band tenors, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, and Cymbals. Also learn Rhythm, reading music, fundamentals and grooves!
Mountain Dulcimer Rhythm Workshop—geared for adults, Butch Ross walks you through basic strumming techniques and explores advanced rhythms, syncopation and odd time signatures. You’ll be surprised at what you can do.
The Art of the Signer Songwriter –
Women’s Chorus – this community women’s chorus will meet on Thursday night beginning in June and through July 16, including a final concert.
Make this summer one to remember by getting your kids off the couch and into a meaningful class they will remember for the rest of their lives. Call 886-1959 or click SignalMACC.org to register on line.
MACC Hosts Hoe Down at Signal Mountain Town Gym
By Michelle Michaud
Lasso this date, March 13, 2015 6:30PM-8:30PM. That’s the day the whole family can enjoy a high stepping, knee slapping, toe-tapping ‘Hoedown in the Town.’ Don your Western wear and enjoy a couple of hours of energetic family dancing featuring caller Jason Rorex.
“We are thrilled about this event,” said Barb Storm, executive director of the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC). “We wanted to do something that benefited a wide range of ages and abilities. A family hoedown fit the bill,” she said.
Storm said the Hoedown is intended to be a fund raiser for the MACC. “It’s going to be an enjoyable event that won’t cost a lot to organize like other events we’ve held in the past. The Hoedown in the Town will be a lot of fun, needs very few volunteers, and has the potential to grow in popularity each successive year,” she said.
Jason Rorex says the dance will appeal to ages 5 to 95. “My hoedowns are easy to learn. They are from beginner to advanced. It’s a good way to expose kids to dancing. Maybe they have never thought about dancing or that they could dance and it’s a good way to expose them to easy dancing and they may later decide they would continue.” Rorex has been calling dances for more than 11 years. “I started calling at Camp Vesper Point in Soddy Daisy as a way for the camp to save money,” he said. “At the time the director was wanting to save money so he got a few veteran staff members to call hoe downs.”
Jason was eight years old when he experienced his first called dance as a camper, “I always enjoyed the line dancing guy and found myself mimicking him when we had our hoedowns at camp. From a very early age it fascinated me.”
“Basically after I left camp, I started getting a few calls to do line dancing here and there nothing big, but about 5 or 6 years ago the new camp director at the camp talked to me about coming and calling their ho downs up at camp. That was a big start for me looking at this as a business,” said Rorex.
Now Jason does private parties and schools. He did Thrasher Elementary’s 5th grade Hoedown last month, “I could really feel the energy in that room. Those students were great and I really enjoyed myself,” he said.
What can you expect from a Hoedown at the town gym? Rorex says, “They can expect a lot of fun, a lot of family friendly fun. That’s my number one goal I provide.”
When asked if one has to wear Western clothing, Jason said, “That is optional, but I personally say it is fun to wear the western gear for the experience. That’s what makes it fun seeing everyone dressed up in western gear and having fun.” And if you’ve never been to a hoe down, don’t despair. Callers teach the participants the dances – kind of like organized chaos with fun music and easy dance steps. Once the crowd gets going, there will be smiles all around. “I do line dancing and group dancing and I even do couples dancing so if a husband and wife want to dance together, or father and daughter want to dance together or son and mother,” said Rorex.
“There will be some times where there is a break to catch your breath. I don’t want to kill people. My whole thing is I give breaks at certain points throughout the night so people can enjoy the dancing,” said Rorex.
Tickets for the event are $10 adult, $5 children, $25 maximum for a family. For more information about the ‘Hoedown in the Town,’ visit SignalMACC.org or call 886-1959.
MACC’s 3M Class Huge Success
By Michelle Michaud
Every Tuesday for the last six weeks, children from all over Signal Mountain have streamed into the Mountain Arts Community Center (MACC) with bright eyes to lend their ideas, their dreams, their unique perspectives to build a tiny town called the MACC Mini-Metropolis, or 3M.
Kids as young as 5 years old, Carson and as old as 74, Bob McElhaney, have met in the MACC’s cafeteria for this secret society, of sorts. At these meetings, area professionals coached the kids about planning, architecture, writing, construction, landscape architecture, among others.
The kids had the freedom to imagine the components of their town, design their personal dwelling and with the help of older children and volunteers, build and construct their dreams.
“I decided to go out of the ordinary. I saw a bunch of people were making homes for small humans and I was like, why can’t there be fairies?” said Grace Elliott, Nolan Elementary, 11, 5th grade. “So I decided to make a store where they make hand crafted wings that you can attach to your back that can be an alternative mode of transport.”
When asked what she thought about the class, “I think it is a little crazy, it’s definitely interesting, I’m glad my mom signed me up.”
Just down the table, a boy with long golden locks, danced around the room with a happy smile, “I’m Preston Tate!” He’s a 4th grader at Thrasher who designed a tall witch tower to watch over the town, “It has a door on it and when you open it up there is nothing in side but a big hole and it blows out wind that allows you to go to the top tower and if you are a fairy that doesn’t know how to fly or a gnome, then it will push you up but if an Ork breaks in, then the Ork will just sink down into the bottom of it.”
Some kids are a more subdued, “I think it (the class) is a little crazy. But I can work with it. It’s been fun,” said Koty Pearse, a fifth grader at Thrasher. “I’m building Town Hall. It’s gonna be a giant stump with three logs on top and we’re going to put moss on top as a roof and for the bottom we’re going to get six columns that looks like the White House with side by side doors.”
Angie Landrum, a volunteer, wasn’t prepared for how energetic the class was, “It’s a little crazy,” she said with a smile and a hot-glue gun in her hand. “I wanted to help with this because it involved gardening. I love gardening and I love kids so I thought it would be something that would be fun to combine the two. I’m looking for ideas for my own yard with my grand son so I thought I might come away with something fun to make for him?”
So crazy must equal creative. After the first meeting, kids never sat down again. And either did the older kids like Bob McElhaney, a master wood worker living at Alexian Village,” Everybody got into building their own little building. It’s just been great,” he said.
Bob was in charge of making the kids’ dreams become reality. He took their drawings, matched them to available materials and for some kids, even put together a kit for which he then helped them assemble. “Well, you can see all kind of ideas… they make something and do something else with it, but that’s okay that’s what the kids do.”
Kids wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the help of an Arts Build grant that was written and submitted by MACC board member Judy Nowlin and Lolly Durant.
Session two of MACC’s 3M is beginning now. 3M students will take their work outside and prepare the site, build mountains, trees, zip lines and roadways. The class will culminate in a grand opening complete with ribbon cutting and the election of a 3M mayor. For more information contact the MACC on line at SignalMACC.org or call 886-1959.
MACC Offers Fresh Slate of Classes for Winter Enrichment
By Michelle Michaud
Every season, the MACC changes its slate of offerings to reflect the season, its student’s needs, and teacher’s offerings. This winter is no different and boasts a rich selection of music, art, drama, and more.
Winter semester begins the week of January 12, 2015. We encourage registration no later than 1 week before your class begins to ensure you get a spot, and to make sure the class will make. You can register online. Payment is due no later than the first class session. Top of the list is MACC’s Mini-Metropolis, a fairy garden experience, geared toward ages 9-18. (Please see the Mirror Article in this edition outlining the special class.)
In addition to the popular “Acting for Kids” offered to grades K-8 on Tuesday nights, there are plans in the works for a Puppet Festival with guest performances and workshops in 2015. Plans for the Puppet Festival are on-going and special guest appearance dates will be announced on SignalMACC.org soon.
High school aged students interested in theatre production will love MACC’s new offerings:
Contemporary Scene Study for High Schoolers: Come learn the nuances of acting with scenes from stage and screen!
In this class we will be taking an in depth look at scenes from age appropriate modern plays, and some of your favorite movies. Breaking down scenes and themes, and learning to partner with your fellow actors, is one of the basics in acting.
Intro to Stage Combat for High Schoolers:
This class with use the skills learned in the scene study class and build on them to learn the art of stage combat. In this class we will focus on hand to hand combat. First you must learn how to knap and prat fall before you can sword fight, young grasshopper. Pre-requisite: Contemporary Scene Study for High Schoolers
Intro to Technical Theatre for High Schoolers:
Have you ever seen a play and been curious about anything other than the acting? Have you always wanted to be involved with theatre but are too shy to get on stage? Well, then this class is for you! In this class we will learn about stage managing, set design, costume and prop design, lighting and sound design.
Advanced Technical Theatre for High Schoolers:
The subject of this class will be decided bases on interest from the Intro class. Pre-requisite: Intro to Technical Theatre for High Schoolers, or a letter of recommendation from high school theatre teachers.
Senior citizens have more options than ever for staying fit. Four days a week, Aimee Zukowski teaches, prods and encourages everyone to become strong and healthy.
Kay Turner comes back with Piloxing – a perfect blend of boxing moves and palates. This regime works your entire body and is fun to boot. Kick and hit your way to fitness coupled with floor work to keep you limber and strong. Kay also offers Total Body Strong. Both classes are a sure way to get fit in the New Year.
If one of your new year’s resolutions is to learn a new instrument, then the MACC is your destination. If it’s an instrument, then the MACC probably has a teacher to teach it. No instrument is too strange. Our teachers are true musicians and play professionally. In many cases we have more than a few teachers to choose from in any given category.
Val Gibson teaches almost every age how to draw and paint. Her studio on MACC’s back hall is an artist’s wonderland of creative work. Even the smell of it invokes creativity. Drop by to look around and see what’s going on. You’ll fit right in as you set your canvas on an easel and begin to paint for the first time.
Have you ever thought about pottery? If you’ve never tried it, then Lolly Durant is the teacher for you. Supportive and kind, she gently leads you through slab building or throwing on a wheel. You’ll be hooked because anyone can create useful objects of art for your own home or as gifts. Lolly will be offering a 2 day family pottery workshop on Feb 20 and 21. She will teach how to build Gnome Dwellings. The family can work together on this project and learn slab building and wheel throwing.
NEW SCULTPING CLASS WITH ADAM KIRBY – learn how to create something out of a block of clay with your hands and various trimming tools. Language classes begin in January. New Dance classes begin with Rachel Clark. She will be teaching Ballroom Dance 101, and Modern and Musical Theater Dance. Make 2015 the year you finally put yourself first. Learn something new, meet new people, get out and enjoy the arts up close and personal at the MACC. Log on to SignalMACC.org for more information or call MACC’s staff at 886-1959