On Thursday, September 14th, the campus of Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1) in McMurray transformed into a hub of artistic wonder as it hosted the Rural Arts Collaborative (RAC) Fall Institution. This event, which ran from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, brought together educators, artists, and supporters to celebrate the fusion of art and education and pay tribute to RAC's Founder and Manager, Carmelle Nickens, for her enduring commitment to the organization.
The Rural Arts Collaborative Fall Institution owed its success to the generous support of its sponsors, including the Benedum Foundation, Chevron, EQT Foundation, Fayette County Cultural Trust, Grable Foundation, Hillman Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Community Foundation of the Alleghenies, Community Foundation of Fayette County, and Intermediate Unit 1.
Guiding the day's events was Michele De La Reza, co-founder of Attack Theater, who masterfully ensured a smooth flow of activities and kept the energy levels high.
The event served as a vibrant canvas, showcasing the rich tapestry of arts from across Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Local educators had the opportunity to immerse themselves in various artistic mediums, including clay sculpting, watercolors, and the magic of sound effects in productions. Bricolage PGH presented their collaborative works with IU1 McMurray students, and Calvin Stemley, a talented RAC artist, serenaded attendees with captivating jazz music played on his saxophone throughout the day.
Educators eagerly engaged with the artists at their stations, gaining insights into how to integrate these creative projects into their school curricula. The event fostered a lively exchange of ideas, empowering educators with innovative approaches to enhance their students' learning experiences.
A delightful interlude in the day was a mouthwatering lunch, catered by Hog Fathers BBQ from Washington, PA, providing a delicious break and fostering connections among participants.
As the event concluded, attendees departed with a newfound passion for the potential of artist residencies in their schools. IU1 expresses sincere gratitude to all participants, sponsors, artists, and educators who made this day of inspiration possible.