Building community around art in HopeSweetland Center to open January 2013
Hope — Lindsay Pinchbeck has been running Sweet Tree Arts for several years at various local libraries, children's museums and schools and come January, her art program will have a new, permanent, home in Hope.
Pinchbeck and her husband Chris are building Sweetland Center, a complex located on the corner of Camden Road and Church Street at Hope Corner. The center will offer pre-school and after-school programs as well as programs for adults.
Pinchbeck, who grew up in Scotland and came to Maine to attend Colby College in Waterville, has been teaching art for 15 years. She first came to the Midcoast to teach photography at Maine Media Workshop and loved the area so much, she kept coming back, she said. She also taught photography at Riley School and earned her masters in education at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.
If all goes as planned, the center also will offer a master of education program through Lesley University. Pinchbeck said she needs at least 14 people to sign up for the program by Thanksgiving in order for the university to agree to host the program in Hope. Quite a lot of interest already has been generated about the program, she said.
The masters in education program is a hands-on arts integrated program that is geared toward current educators, Pinchbeck said. The program meets one weekend a month for two years and will happen entirely on the Hope site.
"It's not a done deal, but if by Thanksgiving we have 14 people or if close to that, we will open," Pinchbeck said of the Lesley program.
The program shows teachers how to integrate storytelling, dance and other arts-based curriculum into other subject areas like math and history.
"I think this is a creative community to benefit from it," Pinchbeck said, adding that local superintendents are supportive of the program and there may be district reimbursement available for teachers.
There also will be teacher enrichment programs available at the center.
"It's how to bring community together. It doesn't have to be around art, but art is a nice vehicle to do that," Pinchbeck said.
Once complete, the building will house two large classrooms and two artist studios available for rent. It's been suggested the upstairs classroom be turned into a printmaking studio, Pinchbeck said, though that plan isn't confirmed at this point.
The six-week pre-school program is a Carnegie science class that introduces children, along with their parent or caregiver, to various science tools and concepts. Ideas in physics, biology, chemistry, earth and ecology, astronomy and weather are all explored through the arts and many hands-on activities, according to Pinchbeck's website, sweettreearts.org.
The after-school program will bus students from Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville to the center. Pinchbeck said she plans to have adult mentors to link children to local artists and crafters. She also has recently written a grant for a project for fifth- to eighth-grade students that involves working with Midcoast Solid Waste in Rockport.
Pinchbeck is working with Hope Elephants to help develop curriculum and with the owners of Hope Spinnery, who are planning to offer more movement workshops and retreats at their new open space.
"My goal is to make this a connecting resource to what's already out there," Pinchbeck said, adding the center will give children the opportunity to learn skills from artists and by their involvement in community projects.
There also will be adult programs and open studio time. Pinchbeck is looking for artists that might be interested in offering workshops as well as renting studio space or classroom space to teach their own workshops. The center will be available to rent for other events and gatherings as well, she said.
In addition to the art center, her husband will operate a bagpipe-making studio on the site and he hopes the center will be a resource for Celtic music and bagpipers in the state, she said.
Educators interested in learning more about the masters in education program, can contact Pinchbeck through her website.
The center is expected to open in January and is being built by Pat Finlay and Jason Glick of Finlay Timber Frames, located in Hope.
Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.