EDITOR’S NOTE: Waldorf School 8th graders are preparing to present the results of year-long projects on topics of their choice, ranging from glassblowing to sportscasting. Each has been working with a mentor, including The Sopris Sun’s John Colson, who coached the author of the story below. Folks are also invited to hear the students share their experiences at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, 13 and 14 at the school.
By Laney Devers
Sopris Sun Student Intern
For the past 40 years, art has played a vital role in Carbondale Arts director Amy Kimberly’s life in one way or another, so it was clear it would play a large part in her new, ambitious project of converting an everyday school bus into an art studio as well.
Kimberly and her team plan to have the “mobile maker’s studio” running and in schools, practicing all different media of art by later this spring, primarily targeting the Roaring Fork School District and teaching K-12 classes.
Carbondale Arts (CA, formerly known as CCAH or the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 that is “committed to fostering creativity, collaboration, and community in order to help shape Carbondale and its surrounding areas into a unique community with a vibrant and healthy economy,” according to a statement from the organization.
Kimberly told The Sopris Sun that her effort to create the Rosybelle traveling classroom was inspired by writer Dave Eggers, who had started a reading and writing after-school program run out of the back of his building, which is located in San Francisco, Calif.
Kimberly said she didn’t think the format of clients coming to the educators would work in such a rural area as Western Colorado. That’s when she had the idea of going mobile.
Carbondale Arts is taking the lead, in cooperation with other nonprofits such as KDNK radio, Jazz Aspen/Snowmass, Access Roaring Fork, Scavenger Industries, school teachers in the Roaring Fork and Garfield school districts, and the Garfield County Libraries.
Funded largely through donations, grants and online fundraisers, the bus itself is expected to cost around $65,000 overall while the after-school program is anticipated to cost roughly $60,000 a year.
Just this week, CA announced it has received an unspecified grant from the Susan Gurrentz Fund for the Arts, named for a portrait artist who reportedly died in 2011 but was a well-known participant of the Roaring Fork Valley’s artistic community.
The grant, according to the CA, will sustain the Rosybelle programs for four years.
Named Rosybelle after former Carbondale Arts executive director, Ro Mead, the bus is expected to provide a classroom to youth of various ages in a variety of media.
As Amy Kimberly stated, “we expect to work often with the RE-1 district as well as some RE-2 schools such as Rifle and New Castle ”
For now the plan is for the exterior of the bus to be decorated and the interior heated and equipped with five work stations offering room for around ten participants at a time. Completion is expected by mid February and for the bus to be in schools by the spring.
Those interested in being part of the program can donate to “Rosybelle” along with a number of artistic projects at carbondalearts.com.