New artists arrive to Coleman Center

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sumter County’s Coleman Center for the Arts recently welcomed two new additions. Shana Berger and Nathan Purath made the long trek from the Midwest to the small Sumter County town of York Saturday to become an active part of the artistic movement that has swept through town.

Berger, 25, and Purath, 27, wasted little time in making an immediate impact on their new home. The pair has spent their first week traveling from Sumter Academy, to Kinterbish School and on to West End each day to teach art classes.

Berger and Purath were directed to Sumter County by some artists who need no introduction in the Black Belt.

“We were both students in the University of Indiana photography department,” Berger said. “Amy Horst and Richard Saxton had also been students there and they let us know about it. Amos Kennedy used to teach there too”

The Coleman Center’s newest friends have been in and out of the schools halls letting students do what they like best. Each day the artists in training have been given the freedom to express themselves on paper however they saw fit. Berger said when the drawings are completed they plan to put them on display.

“We are asking the kids to make drawings and we are going to print them on vinyl,” Berger said. “Then we will display them in the gallery at the Coleman Center. We will also have pictures of the kids there too.”

Berger and Purath made the 10-hour drive from Bloomington Saturday and said they have had a pleasant experience since their arrival.

“Everyone has been so nice,” Purath said. “The kids have been great to teach and have shown a lot of interest in what we are doing.”

Purath said the young artists have been well above the starting point they anticipated.

“They are way ahead of what we have expected,” Purath. “Everyone has really been excited and it has been a lot of fun.”

Berger agreed saying the children, and everyone around has gone above and beyond showing their hospitality.

“The kids have been very easy to work with,” Berger said. “The Coleman Center has also been very helpful in getting us set up with the schools. We were able to come in and go to work right away.”

Berger and Purath will continue to teach in the schools for the rest of the week. Both said they hope to have a positive impact on the people and town during their stay in York.