Homer Folk School shares skills with community

  • By ANNA FROST
  • Sunday, October 16, 2016 8:22pm
  • News

Homer Folk School is here to stay and provide intergenerational learning of folk arts — from homesteading to maritime skills — to Homer and the surrounding areas, said folk school board member, as well as organic farmer and herbalist, Robin McAllistar.

“I am such a fan. I am so excited about this amazing thing that is being created. We’re hitting the ground running. We’ve got classes up. Our first year anniversary is going to be really telling,” McAllistar said. “I have full faith that this is the first day of Homer Folk School and it will be here for a long time.”

To say the topics the folk school teaches are varied would be an understatement.

In the next month, the folk school has multiple classes available to willing students. Beginning quilting classes are offered on Oct. 14-15 and 21-22, as well as a classes on carpentry basics and winter gardening on Oct. 22. A course titled “Change your tires, change your life!” teaches basic car maintenance — tire repair and changing, oil changing, wiper replacement and battery jumping — Oct. 23. The last weekend of October finishes with Introductory Musicking for those who wish to go further with music with acoustic instruments on Oct. 28 and Alutiq Kayak Paddle Making on Oct. 29-30.

Homer Folk School holds its classes at Ageya Wilderness Center, which has classrooms, a certified commercial kitchen, a shop, hi-tunnel gardening and yurts for lodging, according to homerfolkschool.org. The school had an opening day event on Saturday, Oct. 8 with activities, food, music and dancing throughout the day that attracted many families from the community.

Those wishing to teach classes at Homer Folk School can find information on the folk school’s website. The school will also have courses on how to teach classes for people with skills who might not feel at home at the front of a classroom, McAllistar said.

Putting the folk school together took about a year after a meeting at Ageya spurred action from several community members with a wide variety of skills McAllistar had been talking with organizations and people in Homer about opening a folk school after hearing about North House Folk School, located in Grand Marais, Minn.

“It was perfect. It accesses all the wisdom that’s here. It teaches and passes on the information for homesteading and maritime culture. It gives a venue for the newest innovation,” McAllistar said. “It changes the face of tourism. It’s sustainable and supports the community and the environment. North House is fabulous for the economy of (Grand Marais). It’s really a magical place.”

The Homer Folk School board members responsible for getting Homer Folk School off the ground are familiar faces in the Homer community,
including McAllistar, homesteader and musician Atz Kilcher, program director and co-founder of Ageya Wilderness Education Patty Dolese, business consultant Kevin Dee, holistic healer Nancy Lee Evans, retired entrepreneur Neil Wagner, and social entrepreneur Hannah Gustafson.

A previous attempt was made a establishing a folk school popped up in Homer in 2014 when Chad Jones moved from Grand Marais, Minn., to Homer and brought the idea of starting a folk school similar to North House.

The nonprofit organization would be called North Pacific Folk School, according to a May 2014 Homer News article titled “Group looks at potential for ‘folk school’ in Homer.” Kilcher also attempted to start a folk school out Fox River, but to no avail, McAllistar said.

While the plan did not take off two years ago, McAllistar said now is the right time for a folk school to flourish in Homer. Two other folk schools in Alaska — the Alaska Folk School in Talkeetna and The Folk School in Fairbanks — recently opened as well.

“The synchronicity of everyone together, it’s pretty amazing and I think its time,” McAllistar said. “This is ours, this is Homer’s folk school — Homer and the surrounding areas. It gets to be our community space. We’ll build adobe pizza space. We’ll have mentor talks around the fire.”

Anna Frost can be reached at anna.frost@homernews.com.

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read