Stephanie Flintoff says she is not an artist, although one might well disagree. Creating something beautiful and learning new skills and techniques are part of her daily life, whether it’s quilting, gardening, photography or something entirely new. Inspired by a teacher she had in third and fourth grade and throughout middle school, she is now giving back to today’s students what was given to her, by bringing arts into the lives of students in Key Peninsula Middle School through TWAA’s “After School Arts” program.
Stephanie manages the After School Arts program, providing a variety of opportunities for students to experience and explore different media and techniques taught by Key Peninsula artists. She encourages students to try new things and use their imagination. Some students have attended every session for three years, obviously enjoying the activities! This year TWAA is seeking funding to expand the program from 1 to 2 days each week.
Last year, an exhibition of the students’ art at the Key Center Library provided an opportunity for her students to invite their families to share their experience. Years ago, while attending an exhibition at a children’s art museum with her parents, Stephanie remembers that seeing her own painting in the exhibit gave her a sense of achievement. She hopes her students continue to have that opportunity.
Stephanie knows that middle school students must find their own direction as they grow into adulthood. When her own daughter, Molly, found her mother’s art supplies in the attic, they opened up a new world for her—a world of creative accomplishment that has continued at college. Molly attended the After School Arts program for three years. With gratitude, her mother and grandmother became involved as volunteers for TWAA. They would love to have another volunteer to assist the teachers. Asked what she would wish for, if she could expand After School Arts, Stephanie said that she would like to have two days a week when students could have an open studio, with art supplies but not always with a teacher, so they could just create and learn who they are.
FEBRUARY 2018 VOLUNTEER OF THE MONTH: Stefanie Flintoff