Stockbridge — “Art is for everyone,” says Lucie Castaldo. As an artist and interim executive director of IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, Lucie brings art to nontraditional spaces and works to ensure that everyone in the Berkshires has equal access to hands-on experiences in the visual arts.
Celebrating – A 20-Year History with IS183 Art School
Lucie has quite a history with IS183, the Berkshires’ community art school. She attended art camp 20 years ago — a boundless experience for a child enraptured by the arts. IS183’s summer art camp was her “haven.”
Her first project, with faculty artist Karen Arp-Sandel, was a Rousseau-inspired watercolor resist paintings. Watching crayon wax pop through the watercolors was like magic—a moment she watches time and time again in the faces of her students. IS183’s summer art camps allow her to expand her creativity and skills endlessly: “I could make anything I dreamed up, there were no limits.”
Internships – Learning to be an Arts Professional
Lucie returned to IS183 as an intern in 2009. While studying art history and education at Mount Holyoke College (and taking every studio art class she could), she spent the summer assisting art camps, working alongside the very same artist who had taught her first art camp in the ’90s! The following year, Lucie returned as camp coordinator. She was bitten by the IS183 bug and immersed herself in the arts.
“It was amazing to work side by side with professional artists,” she says. Working with artists who teach and make art, as well as learning about a nonprofit, helped Lucie determine the direction she wanted to take as an artist, educator and arts professional.
She loved the variety of programs and people she had the opportunity to work with at IS183. As an IS183 intern and later a staff member, “I interacted with adults who are returning to the arts or finding art for the first time,” she says, “and I loved working with students and being involved in community projects.”
Learning Through Arts – An Innovative Arts Program in Berkshire County Schools
After her success as an intern at IS183, it was not surprising that she would return as a staff member. During her first position at IS183, Lucie was instrumental in shaping one of IS183’s signature programs, Learning Through Arts.
This year, as LTA celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Lucie reflects on what initially drew her to the program: “It’s a chance for kids to experience art without the confines of a rushed class period,” she says, “and to use it as a vehicle to explore subjects that might intimidate them during the school day.” In LTA’s Stellar Seeds curriculum, students learn about the impact of monoculture while collaging colorful, biodiverse, Warhol-style bananas.
“LTA is a program that allows kids to ‘try on’ different hats,” says Lucie. IS183’s LTA students exercise collaboration, problem solving, creativity and reflection–skills that the visual arts are uniquely posed to teach.
An Artist – Inspired By Architecture, Bones and Living Things
Lucie continues to grow as an artist. Her work is inspired by architectural ruins, bones and the diversity of living things. “I strive to use anatomy and architecture to define equality between all living things using the patterns that exist within us all to create work that, hopefully, humbles and unifies.” Her artwork has been exhibited throughout New England including the Eclipse Mill Gallery in North Adams, and the Colonial Theatre and the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield.
Her art is informed by her egalitarian and inclusive worldview: “Nobody is better than anyone else,” she says, “and beneath our exteriors, we all have the same bones.”
Leading IS183 Art School
Lucie now serves as IS183’s interim executive director. As she leads IS183 Art School into the future, Lucie continues to be guided by her belief that “we can and should be making.” The opportunity to view, appreciate and make art is a critical human need available to everyone that steps foot into an IS183 created studio space.