Engineering Imagination

Greetings from our College Street studio!

A new term as begun for our TOSSafter students! There is still room in our k-1 and 2-3 grade classes. Register here, today! Interested in sponsoring a student to attend our studio? Find out more here.


September has kicked our year of art-making into high gear. This fall, we are focusing on two themes: Engineering our imagination and personalizing our creative expression. Stay tuned to hear more about how we are accomplishing this. In the meantime, enjoy a few progress shots of our studio hour below!

TOSS Teachers

KIrksey Lowther has been the most creative team member thus far this year, giving birth to her second son, Peter Merrifield Lowther! Congratulations Lowther family! This has hardly kept her from making other art creations, you can follow her on instagram @kirksey.lowther. We miss her in the studio, but are so excited about this new member of the family!

Hannah Thrower, amid leading our 4-12 grade classes, has started her school year teaching art at New Dimensions, participated in downtown Morganton's Tour d' Art, hosted a printing class at OSuzannah's, AND just bought a house with her husband, Brandon. She is awesome!

Kathryn Ervin, back from her residency in Maryland, is jumping back in as TOSS' k-3 teacher. She started her graduate studies through Fuller Seminary this fall and is working with a non-profit consultant, Grady Powell, in Greenville, SC, on a community engagement project. She has been really enjoying a collaboration with the Burke Literacy Council leading a weaving workshop for the participants of Project Flower.


As always, thanks is due to the Burke Arts Council for their love and support!

We would like to say a special thanks to Burke Primary Care, Don and Susan Haugen, and Dotty Ervin for sponsoring TOSSafter students this term. Thank you so much for making creative opportunities available for everyone!

Thanks is also due to Teresa Reep, and Dan and Cindy Kuehnert for their generous donations this month. We love our new shelves!

A shout out to our fierce volunteers, Melinda Davis and Samuel Kuehnert. Thank you guys for all your help!


Many thanks and much love!

The TOSS team


World of 3-D

First week of SUMMER ART CAMP!! It was a blast! Here are some pics!!!

September in Full Swing

Summer is Ending

The final weeks of summer camp swept us off our feet! During the sixth week of the TOSS and Burke Arts Council art camp we visited downtown studios, which included; Jenluma Clayworks with Jenny Mastin, Hamilton Williams, OSuzannah's Yarn on Union , Portrait Artist- Frances Hairfield , and West Union Art Studios with Melissa Dunn . Each artist had a unique project for the kids to make while visiting. Not only did we get to see where local artists create but we also got to experience what it was like to work in their studio.  During the tour week we were honored to be featured in The News Herald! Read article here.

The last week of Summer Camp was The Talent Show week. What an amazing way to see the variety of skills and interests our students have. The talent ranged from musical performances and fashion shows to acting and a dog obstacle course show.

TOSSafter is gearing up!

If you missed our open house, August 23rd, do not fear! TOSSafter will begin on September 12th so there is plenty of time to sign up your student.

Did you hear about our deals and discounts this year? 

  • 10% off if you pay up front for a whole year
  • Buy tuition for one child get the second 30% off
  • Reduced rates are available for eligible families
  • Lottery based scholarships available for eligible families

Visit our website for more information about TOSSafter and how to apply.


What will the students be learning this fall?

At TOSSafter, we strive to introduce the students to as many skills and mediums that we can. As the students learn these skills, we encourage them to take that knowledge and use it to problem solve and create beautiful works of art.  Here are a couple of topics we plan on covering this upcoming fall semester.

  • Exploring Self - Art as self expression
  • Exploring Nature - Art as observation
  • Art Applied - What other disciplines use art?


Young artists in need of Sponsorship

One mission of TOSS is to provide art to as many children in Burke county as we can. We launched a scholarship campaign in order to do this.  A scholarship will provide one student in need, with tuition for the whole year. If you are interested in becoming a donor or to find out more information about our scholarship fund please visit our website:  or email us at .

Special Appreciation to our Sponsors

 We want to to thank the individual and buisness sponsors that have already donated generously toward our scholarship fund:

John Ervin Law Office, Nancy Taylor, Terry Platt, Susan Pollpeter, Anne Ervin, Perry Beeson Dentistry, Wells Fargo Advisors, and Frances Hairfield

Thank you all for supporting the arts in our community. 


Reaching Out 

Hannah and Kirksey have been running around to different open houses, reaching out to students in Burke County. We have really enjoyed seeing different schools and meeting enthusiastic kids and parents.   

The TOSS  studio teachers  spent some time at the Mt. View Recreation Center's Community Day spreading art throughout the community.

The Anticipation of August

TOSSafter will Soon Begin Again!

If you are anything like us, you might be surprised that it is ALREADY AUGUST. As we begin to wrap up summer camp here at the studio we can no longer hide our excitement for TOSSafter to begin, September 12th. We are thrilled to announce open enrollment and will direct you to more information about applying here.

Open House Dates

We are hosting two Open House events before TOSSafter begins-one for parents/guardians that are interested in the program, another for businesses, and individual sponsors who wish to become advocates for TOSSafter. Join us! 

Sponsor's Open House: Tuesday, August 16th, 6-8pm

TOSSafter's Open House: Tuesday, August 23rd, 6-8



A few changes to our team have occurred over the summer. TOSS is dedicated to recruiting knowledgeable teachers and artists and will be welcoming two members to its team this fall: a Studio Director, Hannah Thrower, and a guest Artist-in-Resident (soon to be announced). Hannah volunteered with us during the last few months of TOSSafter. She has jumped into the full swing of things, teaching art camp this summer as well as making art in our studio. Her bio is on our website here. We are so thrilled to have her as a permanent part of the team this upcoming school-year.

As Hannah steps into the program, Kathryn will be taking a hiatus this year to complete a residency she was awarded through the Trinity Fellows Academy in Maryland. This time will have a positive impact on her ability to serve in Morganton. She will be paired with art professionals while working towards a research project centered on community arts. We are sad to see her go, but excited for her opportunity. 

Recap of Summer

A TOSS newsletter wouldn't hold much interest if it didn't include a glimpse into the heart of what we do. The following are pictures from our summer art camp and a peak into the summer activities of Kirksey, Kathryn, and Hannah as they made art over the summer.

Summer Camp

TOSS Studio Activities

Made in May

It's hard to believe but we have concluded our first year of after-school art, which began in September with a vision to create a working studio for artists and students in Morganton. When Kirksey and I began this journey, we couldn't have imagined the joy and beauty we would witness in working with each of our incredible students. We have been profoundly blessed by this time. 

A partnership which has made TOSS possible has been the Burke Arts Council--  many thanks to Deborah Jones for walking with us in this venture--and numerous sponsors such as the Huffman-Cornwell Foundation, The Mull Foundation, The Grace Episcopal Church Foundation, and the Burke Women’s Fund. The TOSS program will continue this fall with a few changes to the program to allow for growth and professional development. I (Kathryn) will be completing a fellowship in Maryland from August 2016-May 2017 which will equip me with art managerial and public art development training. Kirksey will continue the after-school program with the assistance of an incredible artist and educator (whom we will soon formally introduce). 




TOSS studio hour

We have been making SO many beautiful, wonderful, ponderous things in the studio. I had to share them all (almost all).