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The Student News Site of Oakmont Regional High School

The Oakmonitor

Mass Cultural Council visits Oakmont art classrooms in Ashburnham Showcase

On September 15, 2023, the town of Ashburnham had the opportunity to show off its cultural assets that make the town unique. The town had different representatives that consisted of Senator Jo Comerford and Elena Cohen, Lizzy Kaninskas, Nolan King, Hanako Brais, Bethann Steiner, and Executive Director Michael Bobbit from the Massachusetts Cultural Council to come and look at different arts in the community. From someone who is immensely interested in art and culture, this is huge for our community. This acknowledgment and time taken into this visit could change the community in the near future.

Veteran Oakmont art teacher Mr. Greg Barry said, “The Massachusetts Cultural Council was invited by Senator Jo Comerford, and Ashburnham Select Board member Rosemarie Eldridge-Meissner to come tour Ashburnham and all our cultural assets/institutions (Oakmont Visual Arts Department, Ashburnham Historic Piano Museum, Stevens Memorial Library, Cushing Academy Arts, Creative Connections Gift Shop & Gallery and New Dawn Arts Center) with the purpose of helping Ashburnham become a “cultural district”. This would be a major declaration for the town to become recognized and receive specialized funding for the arts which will further our cultural distinction and economic development.” Both Mr. Barry and fellow art teacher, Mrs. Therasa Barry, are prominent supporters of the arts in our community. They support and teach young students to express themselves through art. As one of their art students, I see how much art has impacted their lives. They want to share that love with others and creating Ashburnham into a cultural district can do that.

I asked some of my fellow classmates how they felt about the representatives visiting our classroom and what they thought of the visit. Senior artist Hannah Peer, said, “It was not only powerful but empowering to have so many individuals gathered together on the matter of the arts. We were all there because we all had the same passion. We all want a greater appreciation for the arts, and in this case, it meant the artist community coming together and showing what Ashburnham has to offer.”

Another one of my talented senior classmates Reneé Caisse said, “It was funny that they thought we were intimidating because we thought the same about them too.”  To have such experienced, passionate community members be in the same room surrounded by original art was so special.

Hydeia Hamilton, senior artist, summed it up well: “It was warming to see the reactions of professionals to high school artwork!”

My experience with this visit at Oakmont was eye-opening. I’ve never had so many people look at my artwork – not as just a painting but with meaning. They knew how much work was put into my pieces and appreciated it. Many of the people were taking pictures and asking questions.   


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About the Contributor
Kenzie Correa, Reporter
Mackenzie Correa is a third year member of The Oakmonitor. She is a senior in the class of 2024. Here at Oakmont, she is involved in not only The Oakmonitor but, Peer Leaders, SADD, NHS, and The Forum. She is also a member of the Oakmont field hockey and lacrosse team. When she is not playing sports or at school, she is working in customer service at Wachusett Mountain. In her spare time she likes to read, paint, ski, and spend time with friends and family.

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