October 27, 2012

Maine native new NCCCA education coordinator


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Autumn ArtQuest, Kids Clay and Literary Arts classes are new offerings at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts.

The classes were programmed by Emily Owens, who has been the education coordinator at the center since August.

A Maine native and experienced educator, Owens previously taught social studies at a Connecticut high school. Her husband, Brendan, is a North Country native.

“We loved the area and wanted to return back,” Owens said.

She holds a master’s degree in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is an advocate of integrating arts into education and education into the arts. 

The center recently hosted an artist-teacher meeting and open house.

“I really support the mission of bringing arts and arts education in our community. It’s a great opportunity to bring different classes, work with artist-teachers and bring their programming to the center, to local schools and to community organizations. I’m thrilled to be here,” she said.

A workshop for National Novel Writing Month in November was held recently. The workshop was led by Amanda Kaufman, a graduate student at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“We’re trying to grow the literary arts here at the center. We have a Kids Clay program on the weekends. The program is for kids as young as 4. The clay studio has been a success for our youth,” Owens said.

The instructor is Jen Shutts, and the class is held at 1 p.m. on Sundays.

Shawn Parrotte leads a garage-band program 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“Students work in a collaborative setting with an instrument,” Owens said. “It’s a structured jam session. They work on their skills and work with group members.”

Deb Canneman leads the theater program, which meets at 9 and 11 on Saturday mornings.

Families can experience arts adventures together at 1 p.m. every second Sunday of the month.

“Every month has a different theme,” Owens said. “For two hours, families come together and create a project with one of the artist-teachers.”

Shawna Armstrong came on board as the center’s new gallery coordinator.

“She joined us a few weeks ago. She’s coordinating the program in our gallery and off-site gallery. She’s a graphic designer by trade.”

The center has four classroom spaces, a music studio and community space used for gallery and theater projects.

“We want to grow and bring the arts directly to other organizations in this community,” Owens said. “All of that is a work-in-progress right now.”

Email Robin Caudell:

TO LEARN MORE For more information on arts programs available at the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts, go to, call 563-1604 or visit the center at 23 Brinkerhoff St., Plattsburgh.