Duke Energy Grant Funds Artists in Schools


 Mountain Arts Program artist in residence, Mickey McMasters, taught drawing techniques at Hiddenite and Bethlehem Elementary Schools during the month of February. The residency was made possible through a grant written by the Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center and funded by Duke Energy.


Drew Nowlin led Ellendale Elementary students in the art of mask and puppet making as well as drama. Nowlin’s residency was also made possible through grant funding from Duke Energy in partnership with the Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center.

Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center and Duke Energy Make Artists in Residency Program Possible for Alexander County Schools:

The Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center has begun a new program of making artists in residence available to Alexander County public school classrooms at no cost to the Alexander County Schools. This tremendous opportunity for students is made possible through a grant proposal written by Center Executive Director, Pete Woods and funded by Duke Energy.

Elementary students at Bethlehem, Ellendale, and Hiddenite enjoyed residency programs during the month of February. Mickey McMasters visited Bethlehem and Hiddenite Elementary Schools offering classes in drawing skills and mediums.

Drew Nowlin spent his residency with Ellendale students teaching the art of mask making, puppet making, and drama. Each artist spent four days at their respective schools; becoming a part of the community and helping students grow in their creative skills.

The program continued during the month of March with residencies by artists Sigrid Hice and Jeff Menzer.

Hice led classes in bookmaking and poetry at East Alexander Middle School.


Menzer’s classes offered recycled materials art projects at Stony Point Elementary School.

In April and May, the residency program will continue with local artist, Martha Burgin, teaching multimedia 2D art at Sugar Loaf Elementary School.

According to Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center Executive Director, Pete Woods, funding from Duke Energy has filled a vital need for Alexander County students, “Arts education is an integral part of comprehensive education and we consider it to be our privilege to help make learning opportunities more readily available to students in Alexander County.”

“The Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center exists to serve the people of our region and I can think of no higher service than connecting artists with our community, creating a space for everyone to grow and thrive in their creative expression,” Woods went on to say.

“We are grateful for the generous support of our friends at Duke Energy, without whom our residency program would not have been possible,” Woods shared on behalf of the Center.

Each of the artists chosen for the residency program is a certified member of the Mountain Arts Program (MAP) roster of artists. The Mountain Arts Program (MAP) places artists from the western region of the state in schools for programs ranging from single day visits up to full week-long residencies (up to five groups of students).  Students are given a hands-on, sequential arts experience. The Western Arts Agencies of NC (WAANC) reviews the roster of artists each year to maintain both educational and artistic quality and to add new artists to the roster as well. The current roster consists of over two dozen artists and encompasses everything from drama to pottery, creative writing to mask-making, visual art to music, photography to creative movement, and much more.