Pamela O’Connor, one of Community College of Vermont in Rutland’s coordinators of academic services, feels strongly that “art needs to be part of people’s lives. Historically, it provides a sense of time and culture, but on an individual level, it allows you to get in touch with yourself. It’s meditative.”
Driven by this personal philosophy and backed by the support of CCV’s state-wide administration for the arts in Rutland, the art offerings have increased from two courses to seven during O’Connor’s eight years at CCV
With two large art rooms on the second floor of the new CCV building at the corner of Wales and West Streets, and a fleet of highly skilled working artists, CCV is able to offer such hands-on-and-get-messy courses as drawing, pastels, stained glass, jewelry making and ceramics. Recent purchases include a PMC fused glass kiln, professional jewelers’ flex shaft, stained-glass grinders and other tools for jewelry and glass work. With three pottery wheels and a large kiln, the Ceramics I class, has been very popular. In fact, Ceramics II is being offered for the first time next semester. A color-theory class scheduled for spring has secured funding to paint a mural on an as-yet-unnamed downtown wall. There are graphic design and photography courses on the roster.
As an art instructor, O’Connor believes drawing to be “foundational to any art you pursue,” and is a strong proponent of making art available to more people. Often, she has taken students to the Clark museum in Williamstown, Mass. Each time she makes the trip, she says, she has at least two or three students tell her it is the first time they have visited a museum. For some, it is the first time they have ever left Rutland. O’Connor feels this experience affirms the value of art and art education. “They are able to see themselves moving forward in their lives by seeing themselves and their potential in the world.”
Additionally, on a community level, O’Connor sees CCV’s art courses, public workshops, and the mural project as integral to Rutland’s so-called Renaissance, where many organizations are “stepping up onto the same plane.”
“CCV is honored to be a part of Rutland’s creative growth. We provide a positive outlet and contribution to our evolving community,” she says.
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Workshops offered in Rutland, Vermont at The Writers’ Room at Allen House. Also available for trainings and guest speaking. Visit my Blog, Wisdom Within, Ink for thoughts on writing to an authentic life.
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