Art Teacher Awarded WFEE Study Grant

Teacher broadens her knowledge and the art curriculum at McCall Middle School.

It's been a long and rewarding career for art teacher Laurie Schmidt. It statred when she was just a toddler with drawing and using paints.

Never wavering in her interest, her path was clear. She attended Massachusetts College of Art and went on to receive her graduate degree from Rhode Island School of Design.

In a recent interview she expressed her graditude to the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence for providing her the opportunity to attend the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts where she studied Metal Forging,Fabrication and Finishing.

The metal working class ran from August 17-29 on Deer Isle off the coast of Maine.

"It was an inspiring location," said Schmidt. "I worked from early morning until nightfall seven days a week engaged in both routine and experimental exercises before crafting my formal projects."

Schmidt also made various utilitartian pieces such as flatware as part of her study of European silversmithing.

"I plan to incorporate several of the techniques learned into studio lessons with my students," explained Schmidt. "Thanks to WFEE we have the hammers we need to apply pressure to the the heated metal we forge. I'm hoping other benefactors can help us purchase used anvils."

What keeps the 25 year veteran teacher enthusiatic and inqusitive about the experience of art?

"My students constantly inspire me with their visual wisdom and their imaginative solutions to a wide range of assignments," said Schmidt. "Art class is a place they can be themselves. I engourage them to think 'out-of-the-box,' rather than fit a mold."

"Through their art work and learning I encourage creativity and confidence in themselves. I see myself as coach, guide and counselor," added Schmidt.

Schmidt intends to share her experience with her colleagues in the art department.

"It was rejuvenating and productive. I got to visit other classes in session expanding my exposure to clay work, wall paper design,glass blowing, and mixed media sculpture and space design."         

A practicing artist in her own time Schmidt participates in area group shows. Her jewelry is currently prepresented at Possessions Gallery in Melrose.


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