Artist in residence moves students

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Sunday, November 16, 2014 12:42pm
  • NewsSchools

Standing before a packed gymnasium in black socks and a blue Soldotna Elementary T-shirt, Homer-based artist Eddie Wood plucked at the bowl-sized thumb piano cupped in his hands.

Over the soft musical notes, Wood told the staff and students the story of his two weeks as an artist in residence at their school Friday. Wood said he showed up at the school on a Sunday afternoon. Principal Teri Diamond, and music teacher Tor Dahl, helped him unpack his car full of marimbas, drums and shakers, he said.

“Two weeks is way too fast, fast, fast,” Wood said. “I am done and I am sad, sad, sad. But I will be back.”

Once Wood moved his instruments into the school’s music room, he settled down in his home away from home with Hamilton Hunt’s family.

Then the real work began. Wood met with each class three times throughout his two-week residency. He then had to make the hard choice of which four classes would perform with him in front of the school.

Benjamin Stephens’ fourth-graders named the “Green bean wiggle machine,” Erin Radcliff’s fourth- and fifth-graders named “Call and Respond,” Sheryl Hingley’s fifth-graders named the “Rocking Manners” and Shaya Straw’s third-graders named “So Random” danced and played Wood’s plethora of percussion in a final performance. Wood said he is the first artist and residence to spend time at a Kenai Peninsula Borough School District school north of Ninilchik. He was requested at Soldotna Elementary by Debbie Harris, who connected him with Diamond.

Diamond had been trying to bring an artist in residence to her school for some time, Wood said. It was no easy task, he said. The biggest barrier to putting an artist in local schools is finding funding, Wood said. The percussionist storyteller’s trip was sponsored through the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, which received funding from Alaska Council on the Arts, he said. During the final performance many students created their own solos, Wood said. His only guidance was “respect yourself, and respect your instrument,” the rest was all their own doing, he said. Wood said some of the students really took off with the music such as Daniel McCorrie.

“Everyone can do it, but like basketball, skiing or making an omelet, some pick it up faster,” Wood said.

Wood said teaching students is one of his major passions. He said it shows students how to pursue and explore personal interests and introduces them to different art forms that may open their minds to other possibilities.

 

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Fatal collision near Anchor Point closes highway for hours

Troopers received a call about the collision shortly after noon

Members of the Soldotna Elks Lodge #2706, including Exalted Ruler Robert Dixon and Secretary Shannon Woodford (third and fifth from the left) stand with purchased toys and clothes for donation to local children at the lodge in Soldotna, Alaska, on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna Elks to donate toys and clothes to local kids

Yearlong fundraiser brings in more than $13,000

Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Portions of the Kenai bluff can be seen eroding below Old Town Kenai in this undated photo. (Photo by Aidan Curtin/courtesy Scott Curtin)
Infrastructure dollars flood peninsula

Federal infrastructure bill makes available more than $232M for peninsula projects

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna bumps vote on use of accessory housing as short-term rentals

An accessory dwelling unit is a subordinate, detached dwelling unit located on a lot or parcel with an existing residence

Foliage surrounds the Soldotna Police Department sign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Foliage surrounds the Soldotna Police Department sign on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Law enforcement to host women’s self-defense class in January

Within 48 hours of the course being advertised, 120 women had signed up to participate

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Local hunter credits community members for Thanksgiving rescue

Glover said he didn’t even strike out from his home to go hunting

In this July 13, 2007, photo, workers with the Pebble Mine project test drill in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, near the village of Iliamma. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
EPA proposes restrictions to block Pebble Mine

Mine developer Pebble Limited Partnershi called the EPA’s decision a preemptive veto

Architect Nancy Casey speaks in front of a small gathering at this year’s final Fireside Chat presented by the Kenai Watershed Forum on Nov. 30, 2022, at Kenai River Brewing in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Building with the environment in mind

Kenai Watershed Forum’s Fireside Chats conclude

Johni Blankenship signs her name after being sworn in as Soldotna City Clerk at a city council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blankenship sworn in as Soldotna city clerk

Blankenship comes to the City of Soldotna from the Kenai Peninsula Borough

Most Read