Teacher wants to 'give back' with his artwork
Sculpture could be
By Anita L. Sherman
Local art teacher and sculptor Gary Colson was honored at the 18th
annual New Teacher Recognition Dinner sponsored by the Fauquier County
Committee for Excellence in Education.
Using a grant from the committee, Colson spent two weeks this
summer at the Tout Quarry on the Dorset Coast of England studying stone
Tout Quarry is run by The Portland Sculpture Trust and its instructors are
descendants from a long line of stone masons and quarrymen who have
inhabited this region for centuries.
"I was able to study stone carving with the people who've spent their
lives doing this," said Colson.
"The rebuilding of
in the 1600s, mastered by
architect Christopher Wren, was done using stone from this quarry,"
continued Colson, who noted that the site is now used exclusively as a
historical and instructional site where workshops are conducted not only
for stone sculptors but artists and botanists alike.
"The quality of light and color is amazing. Some of us were carving,
others painting and others were studying the plant and flower life.
"The entire Dorset Coast of England is a geologist's dream, but
in particular is a paradise
to a stone sculptor. From its breath-taking coastal cliffs to quarry
depths, the natural focal point on the four-mile island is limestone.
has been inhabited for
centuries by stone masons and quarrymen and their descendants are happy to
pass on their knowledge of this potentially dying art form of stone
Colson, a native of
, has been teaching in
for 10 years. Four of those
have been at
, where he teaches Art 1 as
well as advanced placement art classes.
"When I was in school I was going to be the next great painter, the
next Picasso," smiled Colson amiably.
The decision to take a 3D Design class was a turning point, as it exposed
him to sculpture. "I found that I was very successful at it and it
has become the focal point of my energies."
Colson prepared for his trip by forming a clay model of the sculpture that
he planned to work on in stone.
Using principal Mike Wine and one of Grace Miller's kindergarten students
as models, he created a work that he entitled "First Steps."
"Actually there should be parenthesis after that it's about big
people helping little people," Colson said.
Colson's finished stone sculpture recently arrived in the
where he is completing the
"It would be the icing on the cake for me to be able to give this
work back to the community that enabled me to go and study in
," noted Colson who hopes
to have the piece displayed permanently in Warrenton.
Kristi Anzivino, a long-time director on the Excellence in Education
Committee, is enthusiastic about helping Colson achieve this goal.
"It is very gratifying to have these teachers return and share their
experiences. I am happy that
wants to do this and
hopefully we can make it happen," Anzivino said.
Other fellowship award honorees
Colson was honored at the Committee for Excellence dinner along with 10
other teachers who received fellowship awards from the committee.
Phyllis Bailey, a teacher for 26 years at
, went to
to observe a
"jump-start" program for incoming ninth graders.
Helen Lathrop, a
biology teacher, organized a
five-day water study teacher training program.
Nicole Hutt, who teaches French at Fauquier, attended a five-week
"Summer Institute in
for Teachers of French."
Two teachers from Cedar Lee Middle School, Christina Beavers and
Laura Karhan, took a 10-day trip to Egypt to explore the "Historic
Legacy of Egypt and the Nile River." They teach history at the school
cooperatively and their experience will directly help them address the
history Standards of Learning.
Lin Wiltse, a special education teacher from Bradley Elementary,
along with Deborah Massie, a speech-language pathologist, attended the
Lindamood-Bell International Conference in
Cynthia Siira, a special education teacher at
, was able to take a ODU
Teletechnet course at
on teaching students with
· Two fourth grade
, Pamela Graves and Elizabeth
(Lisa) Webster, were not able to attend the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher
Institute for Elementary School Teachers held in July, as it was
over-subscribed. However, the committee has agreed to send them next
Since the program was initiated, grants in excess of $120,000 have
benefited more than 100 teachers.
The committee wasn't able to fully fund several of the grant requests this
year, and its members reached out to the community. Lyndy Hart was
instrumental in helping with shipping costs to bring Colson's sculpture
back to the
, and C. L. "Boots"
Ritchie underwrote the entire cost of sending Beavers and Karhan to
Anita Sherman is the education writer and may be reached at email@example.com.
©Times Community Newspapers 2003