OSWEGO TOWN, NY – Chris and Nancy Zollo are spending their retirement years doing what they love best: working with and teaching children about art.
Their Cherrywood Studio in the Town of Oswego offers summer classes for children of various skill levels in a variety of mediums.
Cherrywood Studio is a multi-use arts facility nestled in a wooded setting and perfect for sparking creativity.
Cherrywood houses a gallery, studio space available to artists, a kitchen, and an arts and crafts area for children.
The transition to the studio was an easy one for the teachers who have a passion for working with children.
Chris Zollo retired from Kingsford Park Elementary School in Oswego after a 35-year career teaching art.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t want retirement to stop me from teaching children about art,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Chris said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe hold many special programs over the summer that allow them to learn about art in a way that is both fun and instructive, and gives kids a lengthier period of time to work and explore things.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Cherrywood opened in 2001 and offers broad-based programming to fit the desires of children with varying interests from woodworking to pottery.
Paint, clay, printing, and wood are just a few of the mediums used in projects of a studentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s choosing.
Students range in ages from preschool to high school levels.
Studio hours are Monday-Thursday during the summer between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Fridays 9 a.m. – noon.
Students may arrive at their convenience for a 90-minute session.
Parents are welcome to stay and relax in the gallery, participate in the activity, or drop off and pick up.
Parents of preschoolers are asked to accompany their children.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe want to make these art opportunities as accessible as possible for children and parents with busy schedules,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Chris said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe have set up a flexible schedule to accommodate them.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Summer programming for children at Cherrywood is now under way.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe offer a range of activities for different skill levels and interests,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â he added. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œFor example, some prefer two-dimensional rather than three-dimension art, such as sculpting and clay work and we tailor our teaching to their skills and interests. WeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re also trying to offer things like cooking and needlework, which are some of the more traditional things people donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t necessarily associate with regular art classes.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
ChrisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ wife, Nancy, is a retired elementary school teacher who taught in Hannibal for 30 years.
She has been painting for 18 years.
Although she enjoyed her work as a teacher, she also enjoys the added freedom of the summer class atmosphere at Cherrywood.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œChildren have the opportunity to work at their own level and on their own ideas with their own initiative,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Nancy said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œKids within school settings are sometimes blocked in by required curriculums.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Nancy said children can explore aspects of art such as ceramics, which is often not available at many schools.
Art that is not offered in the conventional elementary school setting, such as canvas painting and printmaking, is also available.
Cooking classes and quilt making are featured as well.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe want to explore a lot of different arts and as many hands-on opportunities as possible,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she said.
Cherrywood is located in a unique setting on seven acres of heavily wooded land.
The Zollos are planning to feature environmental classes in the near future to take advantage of the surroundings.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI think parents are looking for a wide range of activities for their kids,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Nancy said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThey are looking for places to keep their kids involved and gainfully occupied in a wide range of areas and we can offer that here.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
She noted that children tap into their creative instincts in a non-regimented setting at Cherrywood.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s so much different from a school setting,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â she noted.
In addition to the childrenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s classes, Nancy handles several classes for adults during the summer.
She teaches tole painting in the evenings. Tole painting is a folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden utensils, objects and furniture.
She also teaches stitchery and offers painting courses during the school year.
A loft for visiting artists, a well-stocked kitchen for the culinary arts, office space for literacy lessons, and a gallery section conducive for events such as birthday parties, baby showers, business and dinner meetings, and art openings are also available at Cherrywood.
Chris and Nancy met at SUNY Oswego, where they were both pursuing education degrees in the mid-1960s.
They have been Oswego Town residents since 1976.
For more information about Cherrywood Studio, and registering for summer classes, call 591-5455 or visit www.cherrywoodstudio.org