Rosybelle makerspace enters its second year | PostIndependent.com

Rosybelle makerspace enters its second year

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com

Rosybelle's list of accomplishments might look different from the average 1-year-old's. But she has a full community to thank.

The school bus-turned-makerspace marked its one-year anniversary this week by again fulfilling its mission: providing arts education to students of varying ages. Since its first trip to Crystal River Elementary School in Carbondale, the bus has served more than 650 youth, stretching from Aspen to Rifle.

"Seeing the joy in both students' and teachers' faces when they are engaged together in creative work on the bus is the best feeling in the world," said Rosybelle Program Coordinator Kat Rich.

The bus is a project of Carbondale Arts, and is funded in part by the Susan Gurrentz Fund for the Arts. The fund donated $20,000 in the bus' first year, and committed to $10,000 for the subsequent three years. Rosybelle's annual budget is $60,000-$70,000 annually, depending on maintenance issues.

"She's an amazing classroom," said Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly. "They get on this bus and are immediately engaged. I think it works, in many instances, even better than a classroom."

The bus is designed for efficiency, with plenty of electrical outlets and workspaces that fold down to allow more room for seating. Bright colors create an atmosphere that prompts creativity for many.

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The bus requires attention that differs from the average classroom. Regular maintenance includes oil changes and inspections.

Rosybelle was out of operation for much of the winter, thanks to a battery fire in December. Carbondale Arts staff knows they will need to adapt climate control practices when the cold returns.

"It's weird things, like how to store the paint in the winter so it doesn't freeze," Rich said.

"It amazes me now to see how the community really, really, really rallied, and how incredibly easily the whole thing came together," said Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly.

As the bus rolls into its second year, the staff expects to add more technological programming. Some students will learn Scratch animation, and Aaron Taylor will offer a compassionate film project this spring.

"There are a lot of interesting windows opening that I never foresaw," Rich said.

The program's first year highlights include:

• Free after-school programs at Crystal River Elementary School. Rosybelle debuted with these classes on April 11, 2017. The bus returned to the school for six weeks beginning in October, and the program again resumed this week.

• Summer partnerships that spanned Garfield County. Rosybelle visited the New Castle Recreation Center, where she also provided spring break programming; Access Roaring Fork's Boost Camp at Rifle Middle School; Stepping Stones Youth Center in Carbondale; Aspen Youth Center; and Garfield Apartments in Carbondale.

"It was so special, because this cool thing comes pulling up to your house," Kimberly said of the Garfield Apartments visit. Rosybelle returned to the complex in the winter for felt ornament activities.

• Art programming at the Carbondale branch library on early release Wednesdays

• A partnership with Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program. Rosybelle and Andy Zanca participants painted a mural at KDNK Carbondale Community Access Radio. They also produced radio pieces about public art.

• Programming at Kathryn Senor Elementary School in New Castle

• Digital film workshop at Carbondale Community School

• A site-specific sculpture workshop with Stepping Stones

• Participation in Roaring Fork School District's Capstone Program. This means high-school students can learn about arts education through firsthand experience.

• Beats lab music editing workshops for middle and high school students. This partnership with the Bohemian Foundation and the Take Note Colorado Music Initiative also left Rosybelle with turntables, which will continue to be used in future programming.

Rosybelle facts

Teachers: Eliza Rogan, Reina Katzenberger, Rochelle Norwood, Hamilton Pevec, Marge Dye, Shannon Muse, Jessica Meath, Elyse Hutchinson, Rodney O’Byrne, Chris Harrison, Louie Girardot, Eden Keil, Christy Sanzaro, Valerie Rose, Jay Phillips, Eden Marsh and Carly Rosenthal

Production and power team: Kevin Lundy, Bill Laemmel and James Gorman

Driver: Richard Vottero

Visit the bus during Carbondale’s family block party First Friday, May 4 from 4 to 8 p.m.

Watch carbondalearts.com for information about Rosybelle summer camps. Interested in volunteering? Email Kat Rich at kat@carbondalearts.com.