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

More in News

A cruise ship is docked in Seward, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Cruise passengers encouraged to test before docking in Seward

The request comes as new COVID cases are increasing in Alaska

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. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing restrictions that would hinder plans for a copper and gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. It is the latest in a long-running dispute over efforts by developers to advance a mine in a region known for its salmon runs. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)
Restrictions proposed in Pebble Mine fight

Critics of the project called the move an important step in a yearslong fight to stop the mine

Armands Veksejs, Hager Elserry, Dady Thitisakulwong, and Haewon Hong attend a farewell potluck barbecue in Nikiski on Monday, May 23, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A life in a year’

Foreign exchange students receive send-off in Nikiski

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Ninilchik River and Deep Creek to open sport fishing

Sport fishing will be open for three upcoming weekends

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, stands in the Peninsula Clarion offices on Wednesday, May 25, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Micciche will not seek reelection

His announcement comes a week after the end of the 32nd Alaska Legislature

The Boney Courthouse in downtown Anchorage, across the street from the larger Nesbett Courthouse, holds the Alaska Supreme Court chambers. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska redistricting board picks new Senate map after Supreme Court finds a gerrymander

The board could continue work and possibly write a different map for the elections from 2024 onward

A landslide blocks Lowell Point Road in Seward, Alaska, on Sunday, May 8, 2022. (Photo courtesy City of Seward)
Lowell Point Road to reopen Friday

Intermittent blasting work will continue next week

Members of the Kenai City Council participate in a council meeting on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Boys and girls clubs land donation postponed

The issue will be back before the body on June 1

Most Read