Since 1980, Ann Gengarelly has been a poet-in-the schools throughout Southeastern Vermont and neighboring Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
She is Director of The Poetry Studio at her home in Marlboro, Vermont, where during the past twenty-five years she has offered after-school programs in poetry and art for students from kindergarten to eighth grade. The Studio also runs summer workshops that feature poetry, art, and bookmaking with a focus on the natural world.
Since 2002, Ann has taught studio creative writing classes for adults as well. Gathering together, participants ranging in age from their 20s to 70s create a rich and extraordinary community.
She has had the privilege to teach poetry workshops (2000-2010) on the Navajo Nation at Little Singer Community School in Bird Springs, Arizona. In many ways the indigenous practice of community—the inclusion of young people with elders—has informed the composition of her Studio classes.
Ann’s connection to indigenous ways began when, under the auspices of the American Friends Service Committee, she spent a summer working on the Cherokee Nation in the smoky mountains of North Carolina.
For seven years Ann was a Faculty Associate at Hampshire College where she offered courses such as “Creativity and the Young Child” and “Integrative Seminar: The Creative Process.” She has been a consultant for the Integrated Day Program at the University of Massachusetts. Using poetry as a model, Ann has designed and presented professional development workshops for teachers at Lesley University, Bank Street College, and the Antioch NE Graduate School of Education.
Ann holds an MA degree from Goddard College in creativity and education with an emphasis on poetry-in-the schools. She received an honorary degree for Teaching Excellence from Marlboro College in 1988.
She has published in numerous poetry and professional journals ranging from The Apple Tree Review and Birmingham Arts Journal to The Elementary School Journal (University of Chicago Press) and Literary Cavalcade (Scholastic Magazine).
In a recent conversation with one of her grandchildren, she found herself mentioning that in the past she thought she was going to be a social worker. The child responded: “But you are a social worker; you get people to express their emotions;” these words capturing the essence of Ann’s teaching, whether she is in a high school dormitory on the Navajo Nation or teaching among her gardens in Marlboro, Vermont.
Tony Gengarelly is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. His academic background and interests are varied. Along with survey courses in American Civilization and Western Art History, his teaching career has included literature, political science, modern and decorative art, and museum studies. He has also taught on the Navajo Nation and introduced Diné weaving and sandpainting, along with the Santero art of the American Southwest, to his college students. For the past several years his work has focused on the creative process and its social and cultural crosscurrents.
Tony is the founder and current Director of the Jessica Park Project at MCLA. Based on the career of Jessica Park, a visionary artist on the autism spectrum, the Project partners with college students and professors, museum curators, and educators to explore the subject of Outsider Art, which features artists who, as a result of circumstance and place, stand apart from the aesthetic and cultural mainstream.
Since 1999 Tony has taught art and bookmaking for The Poetry Studio’s summer workshops. He has been especially impressed by the “outsider” features of the young people’s art: its unfettered focus and originality; its direct communication of complex ideas and strong emotions through color and line; its use of visual language with creative and powerful expression.
Tony has curated individually or produced with his students over 40 exhibitions. Some of these have been featured at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art, MCLA Gallery 51, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Endicott College, Eastern Michigan University, Wheaton College, and the 94 Porter Street Gallery at MCLA.
Tony has written and published on a variety of subjects, including Political Justice, Early American Modernism, Native American painting, and Outsider Art. Most noteworthy are articles for the Mind’s Eye and Folk Art Messenger; also contributions on poster art for The Guide to United States Popular Culture (Bowling Green State University Press) and Maurice Prendergast’s applied graphic art for A Catalogue Raisonne (Williams College Museum of Art; Prestel Books). He has edited and written two books on the art of Jessica Park (Exploring Nirvana, MCLA 2008; A World Transformed, MCLA 2014). Other books include Art on the Spectrum: A Guide for Mentoring and Marketing Artists with ASD (KDP Amazon, 2020); Randy Trabold’s Northern Berkshire County (Arcadia, 2003); Distinguished Dissenters and Opposition to the 1919-1920 Red Scare (Edwin Mellen, 1996).
Tony holds a Ph.D. in American and New England Studies from Boston University and a MA from Williams College in the history of art.
Title by Ann and Tony Gengarelly
Poetry and Art by Young People from The Poetry Studio
Released: September 2021
A book of poetry and art by young people to inspire young and old to be in touch with their creative selves. A book for other young people, a book for educators, librarians, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles: anyone who wants to know what our youth are thinking and feeling.