Centre students find education, employment opportunities at the Community Arts Center

Learning beyond the classroom

By KATE SNYDER

Community Arts Center

When you walk into the Community Arts Center, there is a new friendly face to greet you. Abby Quirk-Royal has joined the Arts Center team as an administrative fellow. This newly-created position gives a recent college graduate the opportunity to spend a year learning the ropes of working for a non-profit. 

The administrative fellow coordinates the Arts Center’s visitors’ services program and provides administrative support to the program staff.

Quirk-Royal is 2017 graduate from Centre College with a double major in mathematics and English and a minor in creative writing. With a degree in math, working for an arts organization might not seem like an obvious career choice, but for Quirk-Royal, it’s the perfect fit. 

“Being trained as a mathematician has taught me a lot about problem-solving, which is a really important skill for my job,” she says.

Quirk-Royal is also no stranger to the arts. As a young child, her aunt taught her the art of basket-weaving and it’s a hobby that Quirk-Royal has maintained throughout her life, even achieving national ranking for her skills. 

“The patterns and orderliness of basketry appeal to my math mind,” says Quirk-Royal. “To weave a basket, you have to think ahead and do a lot of calculations.”

In addition to her administrative duties, Quirk-Royal is working on compiling a comprehensive history of the Arts Center’s building using archived news articles from the library and online sources. She even located the announcement of the original congressional allocation of funding to build the post office in the early 1900s. Her research will ultimately be used to create a publicly-available brochure explaining the building’s history.

But her job isn’t all computers and old newspaper clippings. During Rainforest Adventure Camp, Quirk-Royal joined the team of camp instructors, teaching campers the art of origami and assisting during a reptile visit.

Quirk-Royal isn’t the only Centre student to spend her days at the Arts Center. She is joined this summer by education intern Sally Ann Finn, a rising sophomore from Bardstown. With an extensive background in childcare and a fondness for the arts, Finn was drawn to the opportunity to work with children during the Arts Center’s summer art camps. 

She says, “It’s fun to see children’s creative thought processes. There’s no right and wrong answers in art and so I love to see what they come up with for each project.”

Finn has been helping to plan the activities for arts exploration camp and is the designated project “guinea pig,” testing activities to make sure they are age-appropriate for the kids. Finn’s own arts interest is music — she plays the cello in the Centre Orchestra.

“We are excited to collaborate with community partners to connect our students to the world outside of Centre,” says Mindy Wilson, assistant director for the college’s Center for Career and Professional Development. “Our long-standing partnership with the Community Arts Center has not only allowed our students to gain experience in the world of non-profits and the arts, but also has the added effect of teaching our students about the Danville community.”

Together, Quirk-Royal and Finn are bringing a new program to life this summer. They are organizing and hosting the Arts Center’s first-ever “Night at the Museum” sleepover. 

Quirk-Royal says that what started as an out-loud musing — “It would be so cool to sleep here” —quickly evolved into a fun-filled overnight experience, with plans in the works for an art scavenger hunt, exploration of the building by flashlight, and glow-in-the-dark art projects. “It’s going to be so much fun,” says Finn. “I think I’m as excited as the kids are.”

IF YOU GO  

Night at the Museum

6:30 p.m. Aug. 11 to 8:30 a.m. Aug. 12 

$40 per camper (rising 2nd through 6th grade).

Registration fee includes evening snack and light breakfast Saturday morning.

Register online 

ON EXHIBIT 

Expressions in Color – a three-woman group show featuring artwork by Donna Fogacs, Sarah Wiltsee and Barbara Lockhart

10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Exhibit reception 5-7 p.m. Friday 

COMING UP

• Lunch with the Arts: Scott Erbes, noon Wednesday, $7; more info online 

• Take Flight Art Camp, 9 a.m.-noon July 24-28, $100/per student, 2nd-6th graders 

• Starry Night Studios: Sunny Side,7-9 p.m. July 25; Funny Little Flowers, 2-4 p.m. Aug. 6 (artists 6 and up); $28/each, register online. 

Register online at www.communityartscenter.net

Sally Ann Finn, education intern, with Allison Gardner, Ruth Dove, and Ava Gardner pause to draw pictures in their nature notebooks during Bookworms Arts Camp this summer.