Wednesday, October 18, 2006

There?s a new space to create in Hailey

The Center?s expansion will improve art classes

Express Staff Writer

Children and parents enjoy The Center?s new classroom Photo by Willy Cook

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts' new Castellano-Wood family classroom in Hailey reflects the achievement and importance of The Center's desire to improve its presence in the south valley. A family fun day on Sunday, Oct. 8, gave parents and their children the opportunity to tour the new classroom.

Festivities including live music, a barbecue and art projects for children as well as the ability to poke around in both the Ezra Pound/Roberta McKercher house and the new classroom.

An interesting history of the Ezra Pound/Roberta McKercher house compiled in a hardbound book by Kristine Bretall, director of marketing for The Center, was on hand for those touring the home. In addition, posted on the walls throughout the new classroom building were facts and quotes about The Center's role in the local community.

The project started last June after the Ezra Pound/Roberta McKercher house had been transferred into the hands of The Center. It was made possible through proceeds from The Center's annual Wine Auction, and it was named for the generous support of Theresa Castellano-Wood and Benjamin Wood for the success of the growing Wine Auction,

"It was a great moment of what else we can do here," said Bretall.

After looking over plans to decide upon the architecture, the property was large enough to either add on to the house or build something new.

"The restored Pound/McKercher was so beautiful, the best plan was to add a separate structure," she said.

Architects Marc and Jill Corney of Red Canoe Architecture in Hailey designed the 1,200-square-foot classroom to look like a rustic barn and, surprisingly enough, learned after their planning that an old barn once stood on the property in the same location.

The classroom features a loft for private space for teachers to work with students one on one and for visiting artists and guests to have a place to work away from group settings. The Center will also install 10 Mac computers for digital photography with printers housed downstairs. In addition, printing presses have been ordered for printmaking classes.

Special design features have been added to the classroom such as flat file drawers for projects and a built-in audiovisual system for presentations.

"The most important aspect to the classroom is, now kids have space. In the past, they have always been sharing space where it has been tough to keep continuity and not worry about losing work," said Bretall.

The classroom's proximity to the elementary school in Hailey will allow kids to walk to The Center for after-school classes. Accommodating 30 students with design details such as drains in the floor and sinks that children can use at their height will make the classroom extremely functional for everyone. In addition, double-glass doors will allow access to the property's large lawn, creating a great indoor-outdoor space.

"With more occupied space, we will be having a gallery exhibition adjunct show in the house. It will give kids a chance to see art in addition to making it," Bretall said.

The Center plans to do a low-key but fun coffeehouse music series in the house this winter. For more information about classes and upcoming programs, call 726-9491 or visit

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