School of the Arts celebrates 50th anniversary Submitted: 07/21/2013
RHINELANDER - Children may run out the door on the last day of school, but many adults can't wait to go back to school - even if it's just for a week. "I come to the School of the Arts and I just get so inspired that I do most of my writing right after I leave again," says Shirley Babcock, a School of the Arts participant. This is Shirley Babcock's sixth year at the School of the Arts. She takes mostly writing classes.

After her first time at the school, she had her short story published. Now, she's working on a novel. "I really encourage people to go. I didn't think I could write. But I had a lot I wanted to say. And I was encouraged," she says. This week marks the 50th anniversary of Rhinelander's School of the Arts. The University of Wisconsin started the program in a number of communities. But today, only the Rhinelander School of the Arts remains. "Originally the concept was to take the resources of the University under the Wisconsin Idea, and bring it to the boundaries of the state. And so to come to a rural area, and find that they could bring writing and cultural events and opportunity to work with the folks that are living locally here," says School of the Arts Director Lynn Tarnoff. James Williams Middle School hosts the program. This year, students can choose from 59 classes clustered into 6 different tracks. "We have art and folk art, culinary arts and nutrition, digital media, mind, body, spirit, performing arts including music, and some of our most well-known classes are in writing," Tarnoff adds. This year's school of the Arts session opened Saturday and runs through Wednesday. Students traveled from eight different states to attend the courses. One couple even traveled from Austria. Shirley Babcock understands why people would travel from far away. "It gives us all a chance to really get to see what these experts, you know who are teaching, what they can do, what they can tell us, what they can teach us, and for the city, itself, it's wonderful because we have this influx of people," Babcock says. Those people hope they can share ideas and inspire others.

Story By: Lauren Stephenson

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