Two Waters Arts Alliance is probably best known on the Key Peninsula for the art shows and other special events it produces, such as the art show currently on display at the Key Center Library.
But, according to Lakebay resident Kathleen Gray, one of the organization’s primary missions is to ensure that arts education thrives in Key Peninsula schools.
Gray is TWAA’s new director of Artists in Schools.
“My job is to create links between schools and artists in all of the arts,” Gray said. “Here on the Peninsula we have lots of visual artists and we also have writers and musicians. I’m looking forward to tapping into our own resources and letting artists know that there’s a chance for them to teach in the schools and work with kids. Arts education is really our prime mover.”
Gray, who has a Masters Degree in Art Education, is a fairly new member of TWAA.
“I hooked up with Two Waters about two years ago,” she said. “I had been doing some private art classes and was also teaching at Key Pen Parks. That’s how we got connected.”
Gray calls herself a fifth-generation Lakebay-ite. “My husband and I inherited the land we live on about seven years ago,” she said. Prior to that, she taught art in public and private schools for 27 years.
“My background is in interdisciplinary art. I’ve taught art with geometry, art with religion and art with Spanish. I think art is related to just about every other subject,” she said. “There are so many different ways to learn.”
She retired from teaching “about the time that art got axed from school curriculums all over the country,” she said.
Last summer Gray developed a design curriculum that she hopes to implement in the Artists in Schools programs. It incorporates the elements of design that all artists use, not just for paintings, but also for everyday objects. “Everything is based on design,” she said.
She also hopes to start a community-wide mural making program. “We would need the whole community and many other organizations to come together and work together on that. Even the kids would be included,” she said.
But those projects will take place sometime in the future.
Right now, Gray and her Two Waters colleagues are putting the last-minute touches on a special program that includes art projects tied in with two performances of “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea,” based on the book by Jules Verne. The play will be presented by the Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre first at Vaughn Elementary for Peninsula school children and again on Nov. 14 at the Civic Center for the entire community, Gray said. Both performances are free.
Two Waters artists will work with school kids to create steam punk goggles and books made from paste paper to tie-in with the story.
“Jules Verne was from the 1800s when steam punk was a really big thing,” Gray said. “So we’re using art to tie in with history and theater and literature. It’s really an exciting thing.”
Meanwhile, Two Waters’ third annual juried art show continues through Oct. 30 at the library. “We have 30 artists in the show,” said Sue Stuhaug, TWAA secretary. There are all kinds of subject matter and different mediums.”
“We want people to come in and see the show and vote for your favorite for the Peoples Choice award,” added Beverly Bier-Pederson who juried the show.
For information visit twowaters.org.