Meet Kathy Guo, Work-Study Participant
Kathy Guo (she/they) arrived at Snow Farm in early May, one of two work-study students for the 2021 spring session.The first workshops of the season were underway and the campus was bursting, in bloom and creative energy.
Kathy completed an art degree in 2019 from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She moved from Baltimore to Western MA shortly afterwards and was finding her way in a new place, without the structure of being in school, during a pandemic. It was isolating. She was looking for the makers, and community, and she found them at Snow Farm.
"Meeting all the people who come to Snow Farm - the instructors, the artists, the students - that was the best part of the experience for me," Kathy said. "I had so many fascinating conversations and made connections that I'll hold on to in the future."
Work-study participants work in many different areas of Snow Farm operations. Kathy said she did not expect how physically demanding and tiring it was. Some jobs, like serving drinks in the dining hall, were adaptations to Covid containment.
"I'm an introvert," Kathy said, laughing, "I'd rather clean six studios by myself than talk to every single person on campus before lunch." But, she added, she could see that with a small staff, everyone at Snow Farm worked hard, and that made it easier for her to work hard, too.
The big payoff in the work-study program is taking workshops, and Kathy said that each of the seven workshops she took offered something different and valuable. In fact, she could not name a favorite. "In the Boxy Tee class with Cal Patch (Kathy is modeling her tee above), I didn't learn a lot of new skills, but the people in that group were awesome. I had an absolute blast learning to make paper as a complete beginner with May Babcock and really enjoyed the play and exploration. I loved my class with Sam Myers (Glass-on-Glass Mosaics) just because Sam is so great." In addition to these workshops, Kathy also took The Art of Kumiko with Matthew Kenney, Sculptural Steel Furniture with Holly Mailey Kelly, Creature Creation with Trisha Moody-Bourbeau, and Etching for Jewelers with Lauren Beaudoin.
"I was really touched, " Kathy observed, "by teachers who stayed in their studios, helping students until PM."
Kathy is a multidisciplinary artist so workshops in a wide range of materials and topics were great for her. She enjoyed learning in an environment that was more fun and relaxed than school, less-stressful than when being graded. When the work-study session ended in late June, Kathy left to start a job as a studio manager at Smith College. Congratulations, Kathy! See you again soon!