The artist at work: Pat Williams of Forkland
Pat Williams is the eternal optimist. When flood waters completely washed through her art classroom in the Forkland Community Center, she got to work to be ready for the next school year.
The Forkland Community Center has a long history of fostering creativity in the residents of the area. Marjory Ellis taught children and adults at the center for at least 40 years. Williams has been teaching for about 33 years and a third teacher, John Gorley, conducts classes for mostly adults.
While the numbers of students vary from year to year and from summer to school year, Williams will have anywhere from 10-20 children, ages 2-15 participate in her classes. She offers programs for homeschooled students as well as preschoolers.
After the recent flooding caused significant damage to the center, Williams has had to cancel her programs for the remainder of the summer. She is, however, not deterred from getting ready for the next batch of creative kids.
Volunteers have helped to scrub and clean the floors, walls and art supplies which were salvageable. Williams has taken the undamaged items to her home during the process of reclaiming the art room. Most artwork was already sent home with the students, but some of the classroom display pieces and her own artwork being prepared for exhibit were fortunately arranged on a shelf just inches above the flood level.
Williams illustrated the height to which the water rose in a closet which is used to store materials and equipment. The greatest losses were classroom storage cabinets, work counters and paper supplies.
Williams’ teaching has always benefited from her tendency to use what is available, encouraging her students to create from ordinary materials easily found or acquired.
Williams’ art career began as a result of taking her own children to the Forkland Community Center many years ago. She started out assisting the teacher, became interested herself and signed up for an adult class conducted by Marjory Ellis.
As the years passed, she took on the role of instructor and began to expand her own experiences with drawing, painting, block printing and weaving. She participates in the Plein Air Artists of Central Kentucky group and the Gathering Artists.
As a member of the Gathering Artists, Williams publishes the group’s monthly newsletter. She also publishes the Forkland Community Center Newsletter, and is a regular participant in the Arts Commission’s Gallery Hops and other special exhibits.
Williams and her husband Greg have made the Forkland community their home and workplace for the last 40 years. The center art classes are an example of what keeps the Forkland community so close-knit and active.
Whether it is the school children and their parents or the adults who come for Open Studio in the evenings, art encourages participation in Forkland activities throughout the year.