As statewide COVID restrictions decrease, Galway Public Library is using its new library building and 13-acre property to schedule summer programming.
“We’ve been waiting for years to have the new library, so we have more space and the ability to do a bigger program,” said Debra Flint, director of the library.
One such program is a “Color Your Summer” outdoor art series, which will run throughout July. The series includes three one-week workshops. Each workshop will take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
According to Flint, when the new library building opened in September 2019, staff made a long-term business and event plan. “The community wanted more educational and entertaining programming. They could learn things while having fun, ”she said.
While the library was planning this outdoor art series for summer 2020, its first summer on the new property, it had to postpone it until summer 2021 due to COVID restrictions.
Registrations for the “Color Your Summer” workshops opened in early June and are open to adults and children over eight years old. Registration is free for children, while adults will be charged $ 10 per workshop week, which will be donated to external sites where certain sessions will take place, Flint said.
Each class has a ceiling of 15 students.
The first workshop, Fun with Pastels, will take place July 12, 14 and 16 with local Galway artist Carolyn Justice.
Longtime Galway resident and retired writer Mary Cuffe Perez is the instructor for the second workshop, “Writing Your Own Nature Story,” July 19, 21 and 23. Perez worked closely with Flint to develop the framework for the Outdoor Art Series, and wrote the grant for the program.
The library received a community grant from the Saratoga Arts Council and the New York Council on the Arts for the series.
Perez said she plans to use a fantastic children’s book she wrote, “Gnarlys of the North Woods” as a model for her nature history class. She will be holding classes at the Galway Library and Into the Woods Farm, to help her students integrate the natural world into their stories.
Perez also said she was thrilled to teach both kids and adults a class – “I never write to kids or talk to kids. There is a wonder in children and adults that it will touch.
Galway Library Senior Clerk Sarah Best will teach the final workshop, Introduction to Belly Dancing, July 26, 28 and 30. Best regularly teaches art classes for children and adults, and she has been teaching belly dancing for 11 years.
“I wanted to bring [belly dance] in the community as a fun way to be healthy, to try something new and to acquire a different kind of art, ”she said.
In addition to the three-week course, there will be a culminating art festival at the Galway Library on August 7, for participants and instructors to showcase their work.
While Flint brought together library resources and community members for the Outdoor Art series, Julie Pasieka, Youth Services Coordinator at the library, created a Story Walk on the path behind the library.
“I had used the trails behind the property myself and had always thought they were so beautiful. We’re a very community-driven library, and I thought having a Story Walk there would be a great opportunity for the community, ”Pasieka said.
Pasieka has selected Brooke Smith’s book “The Keeper of Wild Words” for the Story Walk, although she plans to update the trail with a new book seasonally. Pasieka said she and her two young sons spent a few weeks reading many nature-themed books in the library before deciding that “The Keeper of Wild Words” was the best fit for the trail.
She estimated that the trail can be walked in 10 to 15 minutes and that the 62 pages of the book are glued to posts, evenly spaced on the trail.
“I think [the Story Walk] will serve the community by getting families out of nature and getting exercise, while they learn by reading history. It combines several things that will benefit families and children, ”said Nyrelle Horton, a Galway resident, who helped Pasieka clear the track for the Story Walk.
The Story Walk is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
For Flint and Pasieka, the support of the Galway community has been essential in the success of their summer projects. “It really has been a community effort to make it happen,” Pasieka said.
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