Deep Roots for the Creative Soul
I love the name Artistree. It reminds me of old growth—a place where the intrepid artist can explore wild ideas and beautiful realities in a firmly rooted community of people who endeavor to express themselves creatively. Maybe this is why Kathleen Dolan (Artistree’s visionary founder) chose this name for the community arts center and gallery she opened in Woodstock a decade ago.
Artistree’s public mission describes the organization as “a non-profit committed to making creative expression and its appreciation accessible to our community.” They do this by offering arts and crafts classes to people of all ages and abilities. Whether you like to sing, dance, play instruments, bend yourself into a yoga pretzel, draw, paint, sculpt or test your eyesight with needlepoint; Artistree is designed to provide resources to help you express yourself creatively. They even offer a class that uses pastels as a path toward personal growth.
(If you will indulge my tree metaphor a little longer), the people who work with Artistree seem to become grafted to the Artistree trunk like sturdy branches that enhance the beauty of the whole. For example: Annette Compton, a well known local artist who recently succumbed to cancer, was a regular teacher. Annette was a gifted painter who developed quite a following at Artistree and her death did not end her contributions to the arts center. Thanks to her mother, Trish Compton, Annette’s legacy continues to support the center she loved in life through a scholarship program. According to Kathleen, one of the goals of Artistree is to “make it so that nobody is turned away.” The contribution left behind in Annette’s honor helps achieve this goal.
Artistree has been stimulating minds young and old in Woodstock since 2003 and will be celebrating their ten-year anniversary by moving to a new location in South Pomfret. By the end of the summer of 2014, they will be located in a dramatically renovated dairy barn directly behind the Teago General Store. Kathleen believes the new space will be “a much more accommodating space for art classes.” You might even say it has been a treemendous success..or then again, you might not.