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Posted: Wednesday, December 14, 2016 5:00 pm
BY MILLIE ROTHROCK | Staff | 0 comments
A group of local artists and musicians have teamed up to create Rose Cottage School of Art, where children and adults can take art and music lessons.
The school officially opens in January, but local musician Adam Musick is already offering music lessons inside the green cottage at 570 E. Spring St., Wytheville.
The idea for the school bloomed after Spiller Elementary third-grade teacher and artist Jen Otey and her husband, musician Nate Montgomery, decided to move into a larger home. They put their cottage on the market, but it did not sell.
“I bought it with idea that when we moved out, I would turn it into a studio or school,” said Otey, who moved into the home with her son Oscar in 2010.
“My son and I read a book right before we bought the house about two mice that lived in a cupboard in Rose Cottage. When we moved in, my son requested that we plant roses everywhere … we did,” Otey wrote in an email “The house has been called Rose Cottage by me and Oscar ever since. It just seemed like the best name and it just came naturally.”
The art school “was something that was always in the back of my mind,” she added.
Otey later married Montgomery and when it came time to move, “life kept deterring us from selling,” she said. “So I said, you know what … let’s just do it.”
She called her friend Musick, who jumped right on board.
“It was a no-brainer,” he said.
“That’s just what I needed,” Otey said. “I needed someone to jump in with me. I needed a person to say, OK, I will do this with you.”
Eventually, Otey shared her idea with Spiller art teacher Wendy Pease and Patty Younger, the art teacher at Fort Chiswell High School. They both agreed to teach classes.
“I had wanted to teach art classes on the side, but it was hard to find the space to do it in,” said Pease, who prefers abstract art and mixed media.
“It looked like a great idea, and I just had to do it,” Younger said. She prefers realism and pencil drawings, but enjoys various techniques and mediums, including metalworking, carving and pastels.
Otey likes to work in oil and acrylic, but dabbles in “a little bit of everything,” she said.
Between them, the art teachers and musicians have decades of experience and are excited to share their knowledge with the community.
Otey, Pease and Younger will take turns teaching the art classes. Classes for younger children will offer a variety of techniques and mediums so they can explore what kind of art they like best. Those classes will be $15/hour if students provide the materials and $20/hour if the school provides materials.
Older children and adults can take more specialized project-oriented classes that will allow them to dig deeper into the various mediums and techniques over an extended period of time. The projects can range anywhere from two to six weeks. The small-group classes will be $25/hour.
Younger, who specializes in metal punch and copper embossing, plans to offer workshops once a month. There will also be paint nights available at the cottage or other venues; the cost is $35 per person and includes all materials.
Musick is offering lessons in acoustic and electric guitar, bass, pedal steel guitar and songwriting for ages 8 and up. He charges $30/hour, and discounts are available to senior citizens, veterans and persons with disabilities. He plans to have a music camp and clinics in the summer months.
Montgomery will offer lessons for drums, acoustic and electric guitar, hand drums, trap set drums and songwriting. His price range is similar to that of Musick.
In addition, Otey is scouting for regional artists to teach workshops at the cottage.
“I’m accepting proposals,” she said. “The idea for this place is not about me and my art and what I’m doing. It’s about the community and connecting with other artists. We want people to share what they are doing creatively. There is so much talent in this area and so much we can learn from each other.”
Pease said she is eager to reach children outside her classroom.
“I’m excited for the kids to have something above and beyond what they get in the school system,” she said. “I want to expose them to more and let them see what is available … and in a more laid-back setting, and with kids who want to be there.”
“As a kid growing up in Wythe County, I never had an opportunity like this,” she said. “The arts are struggling in public education across the nation, it is up to us and up to the community to make sure it doesn’t get trampled. We are losing our sensitive culture and the arts promote that.”
Otey said she is working to secure grant money so that all children can take classes at Rose Cottage. Eventually, the school wants to open its doors to home-schoolers, too.
“I’m hoping to find funding to help foster less fortunate children so they will be able to take summer camps,” Otey said. “We are trying to work it so that any child who wants to come, can come. I don’t want it to be elitist so only those who can afford to come, come. I want it so anyone can come.”
For more information about Rose Cottage, including available classes and teacher biographies, visit www.rosecottageschool.weebly.com or visit the Rose Cottage School of Art Facebook page. The email address is email@example.com and the phone number is 276-620-0303.
To reach Millie Rothrock, call 228-6611, ext. 35, or email firstname.lastname@example.org