"The Beehive" art workshops for school-age children are coming to Dade County this fall. Sessions, which will be at the Dade Public Library, start Oct. 13.
Passionate art historian Toni Gwaltney, who taught art at Lookout Mountain Elementary for more than 20 years, established The Beehive as an after-school arts program there, and there it flourished until her retirement from the Hamilton County school system in 2017. Hundreds of students across generations participated in the program, which featured everything from painting and sculpture to creative drama.
One of Ms. Gwaltney’s favorite Beehive sessions featured the work of Alexander Calder and focused on everything associated with the circus. Students made miniature circus characters, from clowns to lions, tigers and bears, as well as miniature booths selling popcorn and tickets. The circus had three tiny rings at its center, and circus posters had been printed with large individual handmade plates.
Now Ms. Gwaltny brings The Beehive here to Dade as Saturday workshops at the library. Beginning Oct. 13, Beehive will feature a diverse selection of projects, always with an art history perspective. Drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and much more will be offered from season to season. Special holiday craft classes will be scheduled for early December. More information will be forthcoming closer to the holidays.
Beehive class sizes will be limited and students must be preregistered to facilitate ordering materials. Cost of each class is $10 and all materials are provided. There will be a Beehive booth at the Children’s Day event (on the Trenton square Oct. 6 from noon- 3 pm) where you may register or find out more information. Deadline to register for fall workshops is Oct. 10.
Registration forms are also available at the Dade County Public Library’s Hospitality Room, and one is included at the end of this article.
Toni Gwaltney is an artist and world traveler who hopes her rich cultural background and appreciation for all things expressive will inspire students of all ages. She holds a BFA from the University of Florida, where her focus was on medieval and Renaissance art. She worked as an assistant to the Episcopal chaplain and as tour director and graphic artist for a professional theater before coming to the Chattanooga area.
Most summers find her following her passion, sketchbook in hand: she has explored arts and culture throughout Europe, the Caribbean and parts of China. She returned this past June from three weeks in Portugal with a sketchbook full of paintings to be created. Her work can be seen through Oct. 14 at the Exum Gallery of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chattanooga as part of the Chattanooga Area Art Instructors' annual exhibit. But she is most excited now to share her discoveries and love for the arts with the students of Dade County.
For more information, Toni Gwaltney may be reached at (423) 667-3769 or online at facebook.com/BeehiveYoungArtists, where you can sample student work and stay up to date on the latest projects and opportunities.