The Ashford Hollow foundation has provided arts in education programming for more than forty years. Using the facilities of the Essex Arts Center, the Sculpture Park, and going into schools and community centers, the Foundation has had the pleasure to deliver arts programming and opportunities not offered by anyone else. Working with participants varying in age from K through 12 to collegiate students and adults, the Ashford Hollow Foundation has the pleasure of exposing them to new techniques and possibilities.
Some of our programs include:
Metal pouring (casting) is a challenging and exciting process that makes a 3 dimensional object by pouring molten metal into a form(mold). It is a stunning event to watch as molten metal glows red while being poured into an open face mold. Using a mobile foundry, the Ashford Hollow pour team cast metal live in front of an audience at several community events each year. This is also an opportunity extended to students. Using sand carving blocks made at the Essex Arts Center, students carve open face molds that are then poured live at their school or community center.
Monumental Metal Sculptures
Sculptures associated to the Ashford Hollow Foundation can be found all over Western New York. Artists from the Essex Art Center have commissioned work in many local parks, area attractions, and local businesses. The Foundation also offers a very unique program in which students work together with our team of artists to create a large-scale sculpture for their school or community center. These students are given a theme and proceed to each create their own sculpture on a small scale in metal. The students are then challenged to work together to combine their individual works into one piece. This collaboration is then made large scale and placed permanently at their school or community center.
The Ashford Hollow Foundation prides itself on offering innovative programming and utilizing non-traditional spaces for educational purposes. Using both the Griffis Sculpture Park and the Essex Art Center’s Studio for Youth, the programming offered by the foundation brings participants into a professional working artists setting and asks them to participate as artists, not students. We offer programs to in-need communities and have built our curriculum to teach leadership skills, creative problem solving, social skills, and community building. The innovative arts experience is in many ways a catalyst to instill these vital skills in the lives of our participants and the community as a whole. All of the foundation programs include professional level metal working and casting. These programs are the only ones of their kind in the United States. To lead the programs the foundation employs a number of highly qualified and talented artists and educators, culminating to provide an experience in the arts unlike any other available.
The Studio for Youth is a professional studio space for young artists to explore the sculpture medium. For decades this space was used to cast and fabricate hundreds of metal sculptures by Larry Griffis Jr. When Simon P. Griffis took over as the Ashford Hollow Foundation Director, he dedicated this space to teach the youth of Western New York what his father taught him. Today, hundreds of children (and adults) get a hands on experience with plasma cutting and welding in our sculpture studio at the Essex Art Center. We provide weekly classes, one time hands-on school sessions, studio visits, and workshops.