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North Country Arts Council/ Watertown Y form partnership


A new partnership between the North Country Arts Council and the Watertown Family Y will bring more arts education and programs to the area.

Elizabeth L. Hurst, the two agencies’ new part-time arts coordinator, said she’ll make sure of that.

“My goal is to make art feel accessible to everyone,” she said.

That includes offerings for both children and adults. Getting children excited about crafts and painting is simple, she said; it’s recruiting and retaining adult learners that historically has been difficult.

To meet the partnership’s January goal of the implementation of a full-schedule arts program, Mrs. Hurst said, she needs the public’s input on types of art classes, workshops, seminars and lectures they’d like to attend.

Since many people, including families with children, have busy schedules, Mrs. Hurst said, the Arts Council and Y will offer six-week sessions, one- or two-day workshops and a variety of measures to accommodate many people.

While the Arts Council has offered some classes and workshops, she said, it wanted to broaden its reach. That’s when the Y came in.

Executive Director Peter W. Schmitt said the Y offered limited arts programming. Its main focus is health and wellness. “We initiated it because we had a desire to take advantage of the professionals at the North Country Arts Council, and to get consistency in program and staffing,” he said. “Art is not our forte; it is theirs.”

Mrs. Hurst has a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

She said she gradually learned to love art since her youth, but never thought she was any good. As she got older, she said, she realized art is not about perfection, but the creativity of a moment.

“This is the job I’ve waited for,” she said.

While she said she likes to browse Pinterest for project ideas, and she enjoys print making, Mrs. Hurst dabbles in everything art.

Through her efforts, the council/Y partnership soon will bring a traveling arts series to the area, where people will both learn art techniques and socialize at various local establishments. To make the partnership successful, she said, she would like more people to teach a variety of arts programs. For more information, call her at the Fairgrounds Y, 755-9622.

Mrs. Hurst lives on Fort Drum with her husband, Ian, and son, Briggs, 2.

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