Allison Parker was in her last semester of art school at Savannah College of Art and Design and decided that she loved realistic painting, and switched majors. She was supporting herself waitressing and on a scholarship that did not cover the additional classes. She said she realized art school is not just a place to learn, but also a great place to find a community of creatives who will help. Even in New York City she found that other artists are very giving and helpful with opportunities and helping each other succeed. “I asked around, and someone I knew in the field of motion graphics/animation passed my name around. A few months later unexpectedly, a SCAD graduate in New York City wrote to me and asked if I could provide realistic historical illustrations for a public TV documentary about the city.”
Read more about Allison
Parker says the group was looking for a student with inexpensive rates. She says her rates might have been low, but the pay of $350 per image was enough for her to finish school. She illustrated seven episodes for them with five to ten paintings per episode, using real paintings, a lot of art history references, and a digital tablet. She had to do a lot of back-and forth editing with the art directors to get the scenes right for the show. Sometimes this meant staying up all night for very tight deadlines. The television show staff. worked in the City Hall building on the 32nd floor, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and Chinatown. She was invited to attend the NYC Emmy awards, and they were surprised to win an Emmy for Graphics. This allowed her to realize, “I’d always been shy, and afraid to ask for help. But I would not have won an Emmy Award for Design if I hadn’t gotten past my shyness, and let the people in my network know that I was looking for work.
She said the experience taught her not be shy, and to ask her network and friends for help, and get my name out there even if you didn’t feel confident, yet, about my work. She also recommends to get a good website, and say yes to everything in the beginning even if you don’t think you have the perfect skill set. Just try and adapt so you can learn new ways to use your art.
Parker also notes the most important thing. “Be open and friendly to other artists. Not competitive. Be willing to help them because they will also help you. A lot of artists close themselves off because they are insecure about their work or afraid of their ideas getting ‘stolen.’ Don’t think this way or you will never move forward!”
Her biggest motivation is to bring the training she received in New York City back to the South and smaller towns, so people have the opportunity to learn those skills. She notes that most academic art training is concentrated in large cities, and she wants to bring the opportunity to learn traditional skills to other places. She has much to share. In addition to receiving her B.F.A. in painting and illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she studied classical drawing and painting in New York City at the Grand Central Atelier; the Art Students League; and Chelsea Classical Studio. She also worked as an illustrator and instructor at Chelsea for nine years before moving to the Tri-Cities. She currently teaches drawing and painting at the McKinney Center, the Kingsport Art Guild, and the Root Studio School. She is a recipient of the Hudson River Fellowship, the Joseph Hartley Memorial Award for oil painting, and the Anders Larsson Toich Foundation Classical Scholarship. Allison’s work is online at: www.allisonparker.net .
Beverly Thomas Jenkins was born and raised in Texas, and moved to East Tennessee in 1980. She grew up in a family that engulfed her in the world of art at a very early age. Her father, an artist for over sixty-five years, encourage Jenkin’s creative ventures throughout her life. Everything she has done has had an artistic flair to it.
Many know Jenkins and her husband, Herman, as the founders of Jonesborough’s “Main Street Café”, which has been a favorite eatery in downtown Jonesborough for over thirty years. While there, Jenkin’s artistic side shone through, from the creative menu choices to the fresh, beautiful ingredients that made the food a beautiful presentation.
Read more about Hannah
While she began creating mosaic work in 2007, she recalls her original passion for the form began in 1963, when her parents created a 7×4 foot mosaic table, which became their dining room table. “Here was this big, beautiful piece of art, and it function as the thing we ate our food from. Looking back, I realize, I like making art that you can use, just like my father and mother did.”
Jenkins especially likes to use found objects, bringing new use to pieces that have perhaps lost their original use. She has created works from broken heirloom dishes and cups. She also works with Venetian & Mexican Smalti, stone, marble, pottery, metals, found objects, art glass, and more.
Perhaps her love for Venetian style mosaics was influenced by her love of travel. Jenkins and her husband, Herman, have taken numerous trips to all parts of the globe, and these travels further inform Jenkins’ work.
Her talent and passion has led to numerous commissions. Her work is found in many private residences around the world, and is in several public collections, including the Boston Children’s Hospital, as well as several hotels in California.
Jenkins recently studied under Italian mosaic artist, Giulio Menossi, and recently was asked to teach a mosaic workshop, herself, in Europe.
She is a member of Tennessee Craft, SAMA, CMA, BAMA, and the Arts & Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville, Tennessee.
Her new love and passion is her grandson, Henry. The pair of them can be seen taking leisurely strolls in Downtown Jonesborough.
McCluskey took a short time off from music, as he served a mission in Japan, and then spent time teaching English to Japanese children at a school in Osaka, Japan. Whole there, he became fluent in the Japanese language, and developed a deep appreciation for the culture.
Read more about Brett
McCluskey located to Jonesborough in 2013, and has since become very involved in the music landscape of the region. He has worked as accompanist and music director with the Jonesborough Repertory Theater and Johnson City Community Theater, serves as a community mentor with the Tusculum College Jazz Band, and plays with the Aaron Jaxon Band, Time Further Out, and for other musical events.
Each spring semester, the hallways of the McKinney Center resound with the sound of the Bucket Drumming class, a popular course among youth and adults taught by McCluskey. “I wanted to make the class open for 5th grade through adults, because I found a lot of parents or grandparents want to take the class with their kids, and it’s something they can do together here and at home.” Says Brett McCluskey, who teaches the twelve-week course, and continues, “Drumming is such a great group activity. It demands teamwork and cohesiveness, it increases your focus because you have to listen to what is going on around you, it energizes everyone, and in this class, everyone gets a chance to make their own pattern, and to respond to the patterns the others are creating. Which is really the key to communicating.”
In addition to this work,McCLuskey also composed and directed music for the play I Am Home, and also serves as accompanist and music director for the Yarn Exchange Radio Show.
I discovered I was an artist during elementary school. I was in about the third grade in Olive Branch, Mississippi, where I grew up. I used to sit and draw things around my house. I was fascinated with the details of organic things. I continued drawing. My middle school art teacher was very encouraging to me and taught me how to improve my drawing skills. My parents also encouraged my artistic endeavors and I continued to draw and paint through high school. I eventually chose to pursue Bachelors Degree in Fine Art at Delta State University and became a working graphic designer for ten years.
Read more about Donna
While I was in school, I found inspiration by studying great masters such as Edgar Degas, Anders Zorn, John Singer Sargent, and Joaquin Sorolla. Studying the techniques of others helped me develop my own craft. By observing the various techniques, I was ably to apply what I learned to my own style and interpretation.
Everyone is creative. I think most people have the ability to be artistic. Studying art, and art education is like studying any skill or craft. The education moves one from being artistic to being an artist.
I love working with students, and helping them become artists. Helping them learn the skills they need to paint and draw on their own is a great feeling. I know they are learning something they can take with them, and move forward with and grow.
We teach life-long lessons in these classes, and I love to watch the progression of my students. I can imagine the joy they feel when they become stronger and more proficient in creating their art work, because I feel the same way. I encourage them to continue painting and drawing every week, not just because it is part of their class, but because the more they do, the better they get, and the more they grow. Even more than that- I think because they will get joy out of it.
I paint every day and I’m am grumpy when I don’t get to do that. I explore still life on a regular basis but I love portrait and figure painting most of all. I love spending time getting to know someone and bringing it out on canvas. People are an endless source of fascination for me.
I would say that a mountain top moment for me is when someone really connects with my work. Putting a piece of artwork out into the public is a risk and when it speaks personally to someone it is the greatest feeling in the world. I know I’ve connected with someone, and they feel connected to me, too.
I believe art is an important way of creating connections that are meaningful. It is an important tool for communication. I learned that in graphic design, but it applies to so many other things, as well.
“His name was Mr. McGowan, he was my most special art teacher. It was the end of the school year and all the teachers were saying goodbye to their students. Mr. McGowan walked up to me and said, ‘I’m really not supposed to do this, but I want you to have this because I want you to keep painting.’ It was this little cheap, ninety-nine cent blue tin box of paints.”
Read more about Ginny
Wall has taken that story from her childhood and strives to inspire her students in the same way. “There are those people, all along your whole life. Those little bright people, they might not even know they are encouraging you that much. But, as a teacher, we want to do that to our students.”
While Wall talks about her beginnings with art, she continues, “I think it was a God given gift. I really didn’t know that much about watercolor except I was really drawn to it and I really liked it. And of all the mediums, that was the medium that just really attracted me because it’s more spontaneous. It doesn’t have to be transparent, but for the most part it is a transparent medium. If you make a mistake you don’t get to paint over the top of it.”
Wall has painted the cover of books and magazines, she was the president of the Santa Rosa Art Association and has spent over twenty years taking part in fine art shows and exhibits. But that’s not all painting is about for Wall. “It’s not so much mastering the technique, it’s more sharing and teaching that I enjoy the most. I have gotten to a level where I understand the medium so well that I can share it with other people. And then they can have their own ah-ha moments!”
Wall not only helps her student’s artistic abilities grow, she also strives to be a light to them. “People go through difficult times,” Wall explains. “So, teaching is never just about teaching a subject. You’re always finding out about people and their trials. If they’re doing something that they love to do, it’s helping them somehow.
One lesson Wall teaches is to embrace change because through it you can grow as an artist and a person. “One thing I wanted to say about changing is that seasons change in life, you know?” And so, it’s a good thing to be able to just say, ‘I’m going with this, it’s okay’ and give yourself permission to change. That idea of allowing yourself to change is important. And when you feel the winds of change blowing, you wait until you know where they’re blowing. This journey of art has been a lot of changes.”
Full-time Staff and Faculty Member
Hannah Justis has been stationed at the McKinney Center full time as the AmeriCorps Vista since November 2017. Hannah was raised in Kingsport, TN and received her fine arts degree from the Honors College at East Tennessee State University. During her studies, Hannah’s exit show and undergraduate thesis focused on the physical progression of creating artwork as a meditative process of managing anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
Read more about Hannah
During her degree, Hannah studied abroad twice, once in London and again in Nottingham England. It was through theses travels that she developed an interest in curatorial studies and the development of organizing the artwork that she was exposed to. In the process of earning her undergraduate, Hannah has worked various jobs including four years of custom framing, as well as involvement with both the Kingsport and Johnson City Art Guilds.
Here at the McKinney Center, Hannah’s AmeriCorps service responsibilities comprise of working with all Town program staff to help ensure the effective use and programming of the McKinney Center and Jonesborough’s Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts. The main goals of her position are to offer administrative support, assist in providing educational opportunities, and deliver capacity building activities to help the McKinney Center gain greater visibility and sustainability, as well as serving education needs of local k-12 students and the community. On a typical day, Hannah can be seen working at the front desk, providing customer care to visitors, hosting tours of the building, assisting with art exhibitions, teaching art classes, keeping record books, assisting other faculty members, and overall providing support to the McKinney Center Director.
With her background in the arts, Hannah provides an artist’s touch to her position. She often finds herself creating various marketing material promoting the many activities the McKinney Center provides, as well as serving as an instructor. Hannah has designed original McKinney Center artwork in the form of promotional stickers and t-shirts.
Hannah’s mission as an AmeriCorps Vista through the Appalachia CARES program is to create strong, sustainable communities by investing in people, housing, ecotourism, and conservation of natural resources. It is the goal of the Appalachia CARES program for the stationed AmeriCorps’s member at the McKinney Center to engage youth and community members in community-based service-learning activities that address genuine community needs. The McKinney Center stands devoted to welcome and bring together all members of its community and in her service, Hannah stands to provide an artistic edge to encourage the friends of the McKinney Center to promote active creative citizenship within the community through the resources the center offers.
Browning, who teaches several classes at the McKinney Center, including charcoal portraits and beading, did not stop her pursuit of perfecting her art in grade school. In high school, she had an art teacher, Paul Rupert, who realized Janet’s talent. He allowed her to work separately from the rest of the art class, introducing her to more complicated medias and methods. “When I saw the effort he was making to help me become a better artist, it led me to pursue the arts as a living.”
Read more about Janet
After her studies, she taught art in the public school system for seven years, before founding ArtSmart Inc., which is an after-school art enrichment program that later became KidSmart. This program operated in eight states and employed over one hundred teaching artists. “This program was able to reach so many more students than I would have ever been able to reach in just one school. The program allowed me to share my love and appreciation of art to a much wider group of people.” Browning says of her impactful program.
Browning also owns and operates Hands Around the World, a store on Jonesborough’s historic Main Street that sells art from around the world that Browning purchases during several trips each year.
“My other love is travel, where I get to discover more about the cultures of the world, especially traditional ones.” She says she has always been interested in people- their culture, their lives, their faces- and Hands Around the World helps her share the art from these cultures with people in this community.
“The best is when I get to mix both my love of travel and my love of art.”
She explains that because of her willingness to experiment with forms, styles and glazes, that no one else has the colors she have, because she is only one who makes them, stating about her work “I never get bored. I’m always developing new techniques.”
Read more about Jess
Now that she has made a name for herself, she is devoting time to pass her knowledge on to others wanting to learn the skill, and share in the excitement of creating art. She shares this knowledge in classes that she teaches at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough.
Parks’ philosophy on teaching the craft is, “I like to develop my own methods and teach that, and also let students know how many ways there is to make something. I want them to learn from me, and I want them to learn from others, as well, just like I did. It’s important to expose yourself to different potters, because we all do things differently. I encourage my students to learn what they can from each one, and then then develop their own style and method.”
Parks also says she wants to help get everyone out of the box, and to help them have as much fun with the tactile experience as she does.
She also believes in helping others develop their skills so they can become more empowered, and says, “I feel like sometimes you don’t fit in with different groups, but you can always come to my class, there are no grades, and you leave with something you didn’t know you could do, and that’s empowering. Even if your pot blows up in the kiln, I feel like we all get something out of it.”
Parks says that in her class, there are no failures, and believes, “I am not afraid to fail, it doesn’t scare me- it inspires me, and even if it blows up in the kiln, I know I’ll have gotten something out of it to inspire the next big idea.”
“Everyone in my family is known for something.” He acknowledges, and talks about his grandfather, Marion C. Edens, who was at different points the head football coach, basketball coach, athletic director, and director of admissions for Tusculum College.
Read more about Jonathan
“They were artists, but didn’t call themselves that. They went about their lives creating. I feel like I am the same way. When I found music, I realized that’s I would create.”
While he focuses on his music and carves out his own field of expertise and experience, Edens is also careful to learn and carry on the crafts of those who came before him.
“Tradition is important to me. I think it is an important responsibility to carry on tradition. My mom knows how to weave. I’m trying to get her to give me some lessons on weaving. I think we each have a skill, and with that an opportunity to share that knowledge with someone else. I think that’s why I finally decided to start teaching. What is meant to do with all of this knowledge one has accrued if not to pass it on?”
Edens likes to challenge himself to learn new things, and to also learn new ways of doing what he is good at. “As a guitarist, I really struggled with jazz. I realized that I could become proficient at the art form of guitar, if I could learn and master Autumn Leaves. It took time, but I mastered it.”
He explains that while he played with ease other forms on the guitar, he found his challenge in jazz. “Jazz is a horn player’s idiom, or piano player’s, but with guitar, the pedagogy is the least developed. The placement in context with other instruments is not as well established- which I think is one reason guitar took off with other forms of music, like bluegrass, country, and rock. It didn’t have to compete with other instruments.”
He says that in struggling and learning that song, he also became more proficient at patience and determination, and that these skills are important in creating art. He wants to instill this in his students, along with learning the music.
“Whether you are a beginner learning something new, or a proficient player, learning a new way of doing something, and getting past that learning curve opens up those new worlds. Discovering the excitement of that is something I love to teach.”
Full-time Staff and Faculty Member
If you were to ask Corriere who had deeply molded her life, she would say her dear friend, Jo Carson. Carson taught Corriere a forever lesson about deep listening and letting go. That’s a story Corriere carried throughout her life.
Read more about Jules
She explains that in that moment, “I got it, right then!” That attachment and ego didn’t have a place in the work that she was about to enter into. She really needed to be ready to listen to the community, but also needed to be brave enough to write difficult stories.
Enduring difficult and trying times is an age-old part of life. And Corriere is certainly no stranger to that; when she was just a young mom Corriere was diagnosed with cancer. And it’s then that the playwright finally grasped the true meaning and value of a community. “I didn’t even tell my parents, I don’t know why. I can tell people now, but not in the midst of going through it I couldn’t— maybe I didn’t want to give it power through speaking those words. Maybe I didn’t want to claim it. No one around me had it and I wasn’t going to burden other people with it. I was going to beat it. When I got through to the other side, I finally claimed it and said ‘This is what I’ve been going through and this is what I have.’”
This trial provided growth for Corriere and revealed to her why humans aren’t solo creatures. “I see my illness and coming out of it as shifting from one paradigm to another, almost like a rite of passage, realizing that we are part of a larger community for a reason. To help each other through our human existence. We have each other to do that. I started doing playwright work at the same time I got cancer, and it helped me to be more dedicated to help heal communities and helping communities listen to their hard stories which can also be seen as illnesses. I realized through my illness and my work, we can handle anything, together, if we share honestly, and listen deeply to each other.”
Reflecting this, Jules recently began working on the Jonesborough Story Initiative program, in which she is training community members in story collecting, writing, and in the adaptation of local stories for various artistic expressions- including plays, books, videos, photographic exhibits, and more. She believes in the power of local stories and personal narratives, and the healing effect it has on individuals and communities.
“As a child, my mother and father both made crafts and did local crafts sales, especially wood crafts. I was always around that, and I’d make things alongside them to take to the crafts sales also.” She describes how as still a toddler, her parents would allow her to help with base coat painting, as well as helping to set up and tear down the shows, giving her real view to a working artist’s life.
She grew up seeing a value in creating things. Her mother sewed a lot of her clothes and made their Halloween costumes. She remembers, “That was a privilege I had in my upbringing. I was exposed at a young age to the creation process.”
Read more about Kara
Bledsoe stepped away from doing art in high school, because of those critical pressures. She enrolled in environmental studies in college. The school offered an open studio, where a student could buy a bag of clay and just work on a wheel. In a short time, Bledsoe found her way back to creating art projects. As she helped others in the studio find their vision, it became clear that her path in life was to become an art teacher.
“I teach pottery wheel and hand-building. But to me, the most important thing I teach is confidence building, and allowing the students to get the confidence they need to create something they have in their mind.”
Bledsoe believes that especially in younger years, children need to get the sense of self-satisfaction from completing a project and fulfilling the vision that started in their heads, and being able to follow through and make a finished work.
“Starting from scratch like that, children get a sense of not only completing the project, but they get to see how sometimes an idea can change, in order to make an even better piece. That’s an important element of learning, not just in art, but in life.”
Bledsoe, who teaches pottery to youth at the McKinney Center, earned her BFA with a concentration in ceramics from East Tennessee State University, and spent several years teaching the after-school art program through the Johnson City Arts Corps. She has had a solo art exhibit with the Johnson City Area Arts Council, as well as several group art exhibits throughout the region. She was also a member of TACA.
“I’d say my favorite thing about the work I do is that contagious moment when I feel kids getting excited about their project, and then at the end of class, everyone has their object they created. There is such a sense of joy and satisfaction, and that is where I get my satisfaction in life, too.”
Hitchcock comes from a long line of artists. She grew up in New York with parents who worked at the Corning Glass Center, and a sister who was an accomplished potter. A young Hitchcock reminisces on visiting the Corning Glass Center for school trips, recalling that as the instant when her love for art first blossomed.
Read more about Karen
When Hitchcock is asked to dot the moment in the timeline of her life when she decided glass fusion was her true passion she would say, “When I began teaching at Rochester Arc and Flame.” Those students and experiences provided her with life-lasting inspiration that delivers her daily motivation.
One of the things that drew Hitchcock to Tennessee would be the lower cost of living and one of the cleanest lakes in the world, Watauga Lake. However, one of the things that keeps her in Tennessee is the McKinney Center in Jonesborough. Hitchcock’s first experience with the McKinney Center demonstrated the friendly and welcoming nature that Jonesborough is filled with. Hitchcock happened upon the Art Glass gallery on Main Street, amidst searching for a piece for her kiln. There she met Steve Cook who pointed her in the direction of the McKinney Center, but not without displaying true Southern hospitality. Cook first took her to Earth and Sky chocolates, so she could experience their delightful masterpieces.
When Hitchcock walked into the McKinney Center she explained what she was searching for and a staff member knew just where to get it, and offered to pick up the piece for Hitchcock, considering she was heading to the kiln parts store. Hitchcock was blown away by the kindness.
“I was like Wow! I’m not used to that. Up in New York it’s not really like that.”
That simple encounter snowballed into Hitchcock being part of Fine Art in the Park, a fine art show the McKinney Center holds annually, and then becoming one of their art teachers. You can find Hitchcock at the McKinney Center working with glass while sharing that passion with her students, and hopefully, she says, living up to the standard of care and thoughtfulness that brought me here.”
Grogg, who earned her Master of Arts Education in Education from Tusculum College, took a master class and earned a certification in the Zentangle method during a five-day intensive in New England, with the founders of the form, along with 109 other teachers from across the world. A large group of teachers from Taiwan attended, in order to learn the method, so they could use it with their autistic students as a way to help them create and focus, and experience the victory of completing a piece of art.
Read more about Kay
Grogg also mentions the calming effect that Zentangle has on her students. “It has a sort of Zen-like quality, it is very relaxing.”
In describing how it works, she says it is a sort of metaphor for life. “You start with a pencil with no erases, just like in life you can’t go back and fix mistakes, but you can adapt, and make different choices. The teachers in this method say there are no mistakes. You just go in a new direction.” In helping students discover new directions after a perceived mistake, she helps them discover that they can continue to work on and develop the piece, without going back, and end up with a small masterpiece that incorporates the mistake into a new design, based on that “new direction.”
She says many of her students, both adult and teenagers, use it to relax and meditate, and describes the ease of the form as one stroke, one line at a time.
In her one-day workshop at the McKinney Center, Grogg starts students with a 3 ½ inch square tile. They do a series of these tiles, and at the end of the class, put them together like a mosaic.
She says the biggest take away is that anybody can do this. A person does not have to be an artist to do it. But for those who are artists, she says that they report to her that doing Zentangle helps them to expand their creativity.
“I think it will benefit somebody who wants to do some kind of art, but doesn’t feel artistic. It gives them a lot of confidence, because they leave with something beautiful, of their own creation. “
She described a student from one of her classes. He told her he could not draw, and couldn’t even make stick figures look good. At the end of the class, he was amazed and said, “Wow! I can do this! Look what I did!”
To Kay, helping people discover their creativity is the best part of her job.
“I bring hip hop with me wherever I go. What I mean by that, is that hip hop is about more than just the moves There’s five parts to it, part of it is the moves, it is also the history, the DJing, the MCing, and the graffiti art.”
He points to one of his tattoos. “My tattoos are art that I have drawn- that is the graffiti. Everywhere I go, I share the history, and learn more. And I’m always dancing.”
Read more about Glasper
He counts as his early mentors the Steppers for Christ in his church, City Youth Ballet, and especially Susan Pace White and Tom Blessing, who helped develop his classical skills and techniques. He also recounts Eva Taylor, who was over the Johnson City Recyclables and Urban Art Throw Down, which helped connect him to the Umoja Festival and Little Chicago.
“I studied hard with all of those groups. I practiced, I listened, I learned. Because dance wasn’t just something fun for me to do. It’s who I am. You can go to school to be anything or learn something else, but if you don’t have a passion, you can grow tired of it. Dance is something I want to keep learning, not just movement, but history, and turn it into a lifelong pursuit.”
Part of this lifelong pursuit is the dance group Universally Complicated Freestylers, which he co-founded with Mark Flowers in 2009.
He takes his work as a dancer seriously. More than a hobby, he says, dance can bring people together, that it is a universal language.
Glasper explains, “People can speak to each other without saying a word. Dancing to music, whether you feel like you know how to dance or not, you are moving because the music makes you feel something. Slow, fast, salsa, jazz, funk, classical, lyrical, it makes you move some way. My joy is helping people connect those moves to their own spirit.”
He said he didn’t always know he would become a teacher of dance and movement. But the more he became skilled in his craft, the more he wanted to share it with others. Glasper also points out there is much more to learning dance than just the moves. There are life skills being taught that will help them grow and mature. In dance and choreography, there is a process of active listening, always big in communication. There is listening and repeating back. He immediately knows if his students are listening when they repeat back the moves he teachers- or not. Critical thinking skills are combined with learning basic movement. Students learn a pattern, take it, then think about how to make it better and make it their own. Behavioral skills are in play, as student discover when it is the best time to add or take away a movement, the right time to ask questions, and when to defer to another dancer.
“I want to become more like that song, ‘Man in the Mirror.’ As I got older, I began to understand what the song said, not just how it made me feel. It was that message of wanting to make the world a better place by being the person I am. Behind the dancing man is a man who cares about the world and the people in it, and the next smile, the next advancement you can make.”
Glasper’s philosophy of teaching is that we all have a chance to make the world a better place. Or not. And we each have a special skill to do that. He believes his is dance. “And that’s what I am doing every time I teach it.”
Read more about Larke
This has been Foster’s philosophy ever since, as she explains, “I am still in that discovery period…..always learning to be an artist. I learn along with my students…..as any teacher should strive to do.”
Foster looks to her life experiences as inspiration for her art. These include world travels, as well as loving relationships with her family and children, which provide a focus for her work. She happily explains, “I would live out of a suitcase if I could. New places, new people, languages, food are all highlights when I travel. But they are nothing compared to the chance to see the world’s Art and Architecture in person. Museums are my very favorite places in the world. I have goals to see them all!”
Foster travels with a camera and takes many photos that later find their way on to her canvases. These take forms especially examining light, shadow, doors, windows, and passageways.
In approaching a new work, Foster describes the process as like looking at a million piece puzzle. “There is always an overall goal when I begin, but the journey is full of problems to work out and explore. I like for the painting to evolve and change as I work on it.”
Though Foster has been featured in numerous art exhibitions, she points not to her accomplishments as her greatest moments in art making, but remembers more some of her “failures,” and how especially in those moments, she, learned so much from examining what she did wrong. “I remember some of the first failures. One was an attempt to create a plastic blow up sculpture from mylar when I was an art student in college. It was such a disaster that It took me years to realize what a learning experience it had been.” She goes on to say how she uses experiences from her own life to help teach her students. “I’ve used that example many times to remind students and myself, that experimenting is really the life of creativity. Sometime the results are amazing, sometimes they fail. It is the effort that matters.”
Art plays a large role in Foster’s life, but she looks to her family experiences and her own personal growth as her greatest achievements. “Being a mom to my sons, watching them grow up and become amazing ,talented kind young men, and being present to hear my grandson’s first cry- those are the high points of my life.”
Ever inspiring with her own travels, Foster points out that perhaps her mountain top moment was hiking for four days on the Inca Trail in Peru for her fiftieth birthday, to arrive at the Sun Gate of Machu Pichu at sunrise.
Experiences like these have shaped Larke Foster into the creative force she is today.
Read more about Pamela
In my classes, I want to share my passion with my students. I want to bring them ideas that they can try, but that they can take and make their own. I want to teach them techniques that will allow them to express themselves. I spend a lot of time developing projects that I think my students will be able to understand and make their own, so they can have the skills necessary to continue creating on their own, once they leave my class. It’s important to me that they find a way to express themselves.
Being able to express myself through different mediums has become a passion I feel is God given. Where I find contentment is allowing the deep things of my heart to become tangible through the medium of clay. I studied under a local master potter, Ed Lockett, who’s encouragement was all that I needed to move forward into the world of beautiful dirt – Clay. Beautiful dirt allows me the opportunity to say what only my hands can express. What a joy, what a peace, what a blessing! I hope my students are able to find the same joy.
One of the highlights of my work with clay happened when I had a booth at the Blue Plum Festival. It was such a high point for me. My pottery sold at the Blue Plum Festival. Individuals came back the next day to buy other pieces they saw in the booth. It was wonderful to get a thumbs up from the community for something I have been blessed to be able to do.
Far from keeping her art to herself, Squibb says she thrives on being able to share her knowledge for art and her talent with others who would like to make art. She goes on to say, “I like to make the art classes I teach non-threatening, but challenging in a way that a student can develop to their best degree in that talent.” Squibb’s offerings through the Mary B. Martin Arts programming at the McKinney Center provide a variety of choices for anyone interested learning, or learning more about a broad range of mediums.
Read more about Sharon
When not teaching art at University High School or at the McKinney Center, Sharon Squibb can often be found on stage at the Jonesborough Repertory Theater. She often designs and paints the set backdrop, but she is also an accomplished singer and performer. She once performed a one-woman show in New York when she lived and worked in the city as an editor with Doubleday Books.
She believes art has an important place in every person’s life. Her philosophy is, “I like to make an environment where students who always wanted to try art, but hadn’t had a chance. To make an environment that is inviting, so they feel welcome and also they feel able. At the same time, I want to have high standards with regard to art curriculum, so when I teach they are getting the best education. And I want my classes to be friendly and enjoyable.”
Terry Countermine’s bright smile is the first thing students are greeted with as they arrive at the McKinney Center. The passion and joy he finds as a teacher are evident.
“I think what brings me the most joy is being a part of something that creates happiness, smiles, laughter and memories. When I’m teaching the ukulele class, I can see the faces of students, young and old, as they play a new chord or sing a new song. As they learn, there is a joy that spreads across their faces. There is a sense of accomplishment that helps them to want to learn more.”
He has been married to his best friend, Sandy, for forty-three years, and the two have resided in Jonesborough since 1990, when he came to teach at East Tennessee State University.
Read more about Terry
Terry Countermine retired as a professor from ETSU, but his retirement was just the beginning of a new teaching experience as he began sharing his love for music in the McKinney Center’s Ukulele Class.
Music has always held an important place in Terry’s life. While he spent his years at ETSU as a computer science professor, he has also been seen regularly at local events for nearly three decades, playing in the Jonesborough Novelty Band, with proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity. In the past twenty-six years, he and his bandmates have raised more than $50,000 for the Habitat for Humanity organization.
In addition to his service to Habitat for Humanity, Terry Countermine has also served for eighteen years as an Alderman for the Town of Jonesborough. As Alderman, Terry has been working to create a more livable, enjoyable community.
Terry brings his leadership skills and excitement for teaching and sharing music in the group Ukulele Class. He appreciates the group setting for creating music, explaining,
“I have always loved music and being a part of a group who forget about the individual and become part of an assemblage of people who are all striving for a common goal – to make music that brings joy.”
This happens in the musical groups he is part of, as well as in the classes that he teaches, and also other groups. He points to the many ways each member of the community can be part of a bigger vision, sometimes through music groups, and sometimes with other organizations with a common goal. Working together, whether musically or not, is something Terry always appreciates when he sees it:
“The people of Jonesborough inspire me as I see leaders and volunteers working on many varieties of projects to make our little town the special place that it is.”
Help your community by fulfilling McKinney Center's mission.
ABOUT THE MCKINNEY CENTER
The McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School is a multi-use facility providing arts education through Jonesborough's Mary B. Martin Program.