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Art school looks at past success, plans for future

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By Shaina Stockton, Staff

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts in Galax review its progress over the past year and looked ahead to a new woodworking studio at its most recent board meeting.
For the school’s first year, 2011-2012, the school showed an overall growth of 173 percent. Documents shared with the CCSA board showed a significant rise in numbers in most of the categories, including Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) hours, outreach and on-demand usage, the Empty Bowls project, The Galax Art Guild and facility usage.

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It was noted that two categories that were not established until 2012 contributed to the steep increase in activity, including the Oldtown Pottery Studio and the Youth Art Guild.
The only decline noted was in accumulated student hours, which decreased from 2,218 in 2011 to 1,771 in 2012.
By receiving several donations and support from the city, the school is now looking forward to its expansion through the woodworking studio, which is already being planned by the board.
In April, CCSA’s annual fundraising gala helped raise more than $9,000 to benefit the new building, with ticket sales accounting for more than $5,500 and auction items donated by many local artisans making up the rest.
There were a total of 55 items up for bid, and several of them sold as high as $200.
Board member Karen Simpson added that expenditures were less than $1,000, making this year’s gala “the most beneficial yet.”
The building phase of the woodworking studio, located off South Main Street downtown, began after CCSA was awarded a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The grant required a local match of $75,000, which was raised with the help of several local individuals and families.
Although the studio is well on its way to becoming a reality, more money still needs to be raised.
Those who are interested in donating to the cause can visit chestnutcreekarts.org, and click on “Support the Arts” to make a donation.
Donations can also be sent to CCSA, PO Box 417, Galax, VA 24333, with a note specifying that the donation is for the woodworking studio. All donations are tax-deductable.