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Art school recruiting, training new instructors

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By April Wright, Reporter

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts is accepting reservations through Friday for area artisans wishing to participate in instructor orientation.

All area musicians, artists and crafts people are invited to participate on Jan. 22 from 5-9 p.m. at Crossroads Institute on East Stuart Drive in Galax.

Dinner will be served by Squealers Barbecue (including vegetarian entrees) promptly at 5 p.m., with comments from Dr. Oliver McBride, Crossroads executive director and board member for CCSA, about the scope of teaching opportunities for anyone who has mastered their art form, but may not have thought about sharing that mastery with others.

In addition to networking with experienced instructors, participants will have the opportunity to network with fellow artisans, discuss what is working and what is not working with them, share trade secrets and generally learn from their peers.

After the dinner and networking hour, the evening will be arranged in 40-minute sessions in which participants may attend each of three break-out exercises focusing on marketing and self-promotion.

A gifted English teacher has been retained to give participants guidance in writing an intriguing bio and course description.

Chuck Riedhammer, tourism and economic development director for the City of Galax, will assist in snappy ways for artists to promote themselves and their classes.

Assistants will be available to help with basic computer skills and teach potential instructors how to easily save work in a professional manner. Participants are also welcome to bring a jump drive to copy their work.

CCSA has hired a professional photographer to capture each participant's best image for their portfolios. The school will use this professional image to promote classes for the school through its Web site and printed materials.

Participants should bring their instrument and/or art form, or dress as they would to perform/create their art work.

CCSA will also burn CDs for all participants.

The evening will wrap up with a short question-and-answer session, and a brief introduction to the second skill development meeting that will cover such topics as teaching tips, syllabus writing, how to structure/format a class, down-time activities, how to time the length of a class and many other possible subjects.

The evening is free and open to all.

A reservation is required no later than Jan. 9.

For more information or to reserve a place, call CCSA at (276) 236-3500 or e-mail penny@chestnutcreekarts.org .

This preparation for area artisan-instructors is sponsored by The Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Housing and Community Development, which awarded CCSA a Seed Capacity Building Grant.

Building the capacity of area artisans and encouraging opportunities to enhance their income stream is vital to the mission of the school and the grant.

A collaborative project with the City of Galax, Chestnut Creek School of Arts preserves and promotes the cultural heritage of southwest Virginia by fostering artistic and individual growth through classes in visual and performing arts, heritage and contemporary craft and traditional music.

For more information about CCSA, please visit www.chestnutcreekarts.org