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Keene Residents Energized by Keene State Art Courses

KEENE, N.H. 8/14/03 - Art can enrich people’s lives in numerous ways but taking arts courses at Keene State College through Continuing Education can turn your life around. So claim two Keene residents, who discovered that creating works of art can be personally and monetarily rewarding.

Bob Askey, a senior citizen, received a degree in art from Bowling Green University in Ohio but worked in a non-art capacity in advertising and is now semi-retired. "Forty years after college graduation I took an art class at Keene State, which rekindled my passion for art," he explains. "It gave me a new purpose in life, a new channel to explore."

Linda Bartashevich Felder received her bachelor’s degree in art from Keene State College in 1975. She continued an extra year at Plymouth State working toward her teaching certification in art education. After college Linda traveled to Springfield, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., and worked as a secretary and arts and crafts instructor for a few years. She later returned to Keene worked as a secretary, met her husband, had twin daughters, and later a son, and realized that almost two decades had passed very quickly.

"I always toyed with the idea of going back to teaching someday. Then I took a watercolor course at Keene State," Felder says.

She received the needed push from her watercolor instructor Peter Roos, an associate professor of art, who encouraged her to continue painting. This sparked her interest in education and lead to the process of teacher recertification. She has taught adult education classes at Keene High School in creativity and oil painting and is currently an art teacher at Fall Mountain Regional High School.

Roos also played a major role in Askey’s decision to become an artist.

"I realized I still had talent, unexercised talent," Askey recalls. "My family and friends always told me I had talent, but it was verification from Peter Roos and other Keene State faculty that encouraged me to improve my skills."

Askey found more than faculty encouragement in the classroom, he found that working alongside younger students encouraged his competitive side. "I found that this competitive thing took hold and I wanted to produce good things," Askey says.

He’s taken one art course each semester for the past three years and has honed his technical skills and learned some new ones. "Continuing Education taught me all the basic things I didn’t know or had forgotten and new skills such as etching and printmaking," he says.

Askey and Felder are now selling their artwork through tours and shows organized by the Keene Art Association. Both artists opened their home studios to the public during the association’s first art tour in July. Felder is a recent past president of the group which sponsors speakers, has workshops, organizes exhibits at Colony Mill Marketplace, Keene City Hall, Connecticut River Bank, Chesterfield Library, and Granite Bank of Chesterfield. The association also organizes Art in the Park, an outdoor community event and art exhibit at Ashuelot River Park on Saturday, Aug. 30.

Askey will display his work there. "Last year I exhibited work in Art in the Park for the first time and received a prize in oil painting," Askey says.

Felder has not yet committed to this year’s Art in the Park event because she is juggling bringing her girls to different colleges.

"I enjoy painting and hope to pass on my knowledge and enthusiasm to others to explore their own creative ambitions be it a hobby or career," says Felder, who hopes to continue teaching at the high school level and developing her own painting style.

Askey intends to continue his habit of taking one course each semester at Keene State and has enrolled in Roos’ Figure Drawing Studio, which meets on Wednesdays, Sept. 3-Nov. 19, from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Numerous other art courses are offered this fall; for a complete schedule visit www.keene.edu/courses. For more information or to register, contact the Keene State Continuing Education Office by phone at 603-358-2290 or 800-KSC-1909, by e-mail at continuing- ed@keene.edu, or on the Web at www.keene.edu/conted.

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1-800-KSC-1909
229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435