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FAMA holds workshop with Brad Tisdel

Fine Arts Magnet Academy recently hosted Brad Tisdel from the Sisters Folk Festival in Sisters, Ore., who came to help FAMA instructors and supporters learn more about how he organized the Americana Project in Sisters, which brings school and community together through the arts.

The all-day workshop was attended by Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton, high school art teacher; Bob Hemenger, musician and resource teacher; Dan Burch, high school music teacher; David Hamilton, principal at Pagosa Springs High School; Linda Echterhoff, Pagosa Springs Arts Council president; Caroline Colie, Acoustic Trails president; Sean Downing , English teacher, musician and songwriter; and Joanne Irons, FolkWest board member and member of the local school board.

Tisdel shared with the group the timeline of how Sisters Folk Festival began and then branched out to discuss the Americana Project, the fund-raising to support this endeavor, the Songwriting Academy and other events to complement music and the visual arts in the Oregon community.

Pagosa Springs has many similarities to Sisters, Ore., and the hopes to utilize some of what Brad Tisdel brought to the workshop brought wonderful energy to the group. Partnerships already being formed with FAMA in the community include the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, Ruby Sisson Library, Music Boosters, FolkWest, Music in the Mountains, Pagosa Springs Youth Center, Square Top Repertory Theatre and Elation Center for the Arts.

FAMA received a two-year implementation grant, stART, from Colorado Council on the Arts for implementing a new arts program. Last year, the program received money for planning.

FAMA will host follow-up meetings and invite supporters to join the roundtable collaborative effort. An October fund-raising event is in the planning stage at the Pagosa Springs Youth Center as is an Empty Bowls event for November.

For more information about FAMA or how you can support the arts through school and community, e-mail Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton at If you would like to learn more about the Americana Project visit