Kids need a kiln: Whitefield Elementary School’s new art teacher, Hollie Hilton, has hit the ground running as far as making positive changes in art instruction at the school. I learned recently that Hilton started up a DonorsChoose fundraising campaign for a digital kiln for her students.
“Children love to create with clay! Our rural K-8 school needs a kiln!” she writes at donorschoose.org. “A high-quality automatic digital kiln will provide the opportunity for the children to develop their skills with ceramics for up to nine years! Students will also be able to use a special paint called glaze, which can be used in many different ways, including making the clay (ceramic ware) safe to drink and eat out of.”
Hilton writes that she left an inner-city teaching job to come to Whitefield, which she describes as an “amazing town … with rolling hills, farms, vegetable stands, and friendly country stores …
“I have learned in my first few months that the people of this rural community not only support the arts, they are dedicated to the education and welfare of their children.”
I would like to suggest that the people of Lincoln County are great arts supporters as well, and that they take a moment to seriously consider donating to Hilton’s very worthy cause.
Hilton continues: “Scientists and engineers stress the importance of creativity in a child’s education. Using a kiln to fire clay not only provides opportunity for the learning of the artistic process, it teaches lessons in science, technology, English, and math …
“I feel strongly about the emotional benefits of manipulating clay. Students that have been sitting all day need a hands-on activity that is calming, relaxing, and meditative. Having an amazing piece of art to take home makes it extra special. From bobbleheads, hot cocoa mugs, jewelry boxes, or creating a mythical creature, the opportunity for unique projects with a kiln is limitless! Please help give our students the opportunity to develop their craftsmanship skills in the art of ceramics.”
Hilton’s fundraising campaign, which has a goal of $4,278, runs through March 28, 2018. Hilton will only get the money for her project if it is fully funded by donations by that date. Go to donorschoose.org and type in “Ms. Hilton Whitefield” to learn more about donating to her “Earth – Water – Air – Fire – Children Creating with Clay!” campaign.
Dapkins does kids books: Ahh – the incredible Mr. Dale Dapkins! Readers know I have gushed about him before. The work this artist has shown at Kefauver Studio & Gallery in Damariscotta has consistently been eye-catching, top-notch, and whimsical, the latter a feature that Dapkins seems particularly adept at.
So, I was most happy to receive an email the other day from Dapkins, who happens to be in Florida until Maine starts to warm up again.
“I don’t know if you remember me,” he starts out. How could I forget?
He goes on to say that he recently wrote and illustrated a few children’s books that are available at Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta. The titles and cover illustrations are true to Dapkins’ playful form.
“Maine Moose Dill Pickle” features a photo of a hand puppet of a furry moose over which Dapkins has drawn a wacky purple mouth and piercing eyes gazing lovingly at a jar containing one large green pickle. “I make ’em myself! They’re delicious!” says the moose.
“The Lobster Boat” pictures an owl and a pussycat riding off toward the horizon in a boat called “The Hard Shell.” And “The Homeliest Angel and the Last Honey Bee” reminds the reader on its back cover that Dapkins is indeed a celebrated author: he won first prize two years in a row in Key West’s Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, and last year, he took first prize in the Tennessee Williams Short Story Contest.
(Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. I love to hear from readers.)