Portrait of an artist-in-residence

November 24, 2010

Over the past few falls, we’ve enjoyed having artists-in-residence at Gould, made possible each year through a grant from the Quimby Family Foundation.

This is year was no exception.

If you were to ask Eric Ziner, a metalwork artist from Dear Isle, ME, who got more out of the opportunity to teach, work, and create while here in Bethel over the past trimester – him or the students – without hesitation he’d answer that he learned more.

“They can do more with one thumb than my whole high school career. You can quote me on that,” he told me when our conversation shifted from work in the Art Cottage and the blacksmith shop to today’s student, mobile devices, and instant access to information.

You can be sure the students learned a lot from him as well. Here are some sights and sounds from his course.

Ziner is an accomplished artist molding steel into beautiful representations of the natural world. He was a good fit for Gould. Art and the natural world are two things we like to think we do particularly well here. And, paired with blacksmithing teacher Lauren Head, the two were a formidable duo for the students.

“I could offer skills while Lauren could offer ideas and design concepts. She made sense out of what it was I was doing. It was a really successful collaboration,” said Ziner.

You believe him when he says his experience here changed his life and that teaching could be a very real next step for him after 20 plus years of running a gallery and a farm.

He becomes very thoughtful when he talks about his new found passion because of his time spent at our college prep high school:

  • “Every bend required thought and that became a story for (the students).”
  • “Kids had to overcome their fear of the process. There are sparks, fire, electricity  – all the things they are told not to play with.”
  • “The job was not to create a lot of art but to make art that was meaningful for them and to learn the process.”

It is heartening to know that the Gould community has had as much impact on Mr. Ziner as he has had us and our students.

We all look forward to seeing him again when he returns to visit campus later this year.


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