Harnessing the power of creativity

TOSS is an arts advocacy studio in Morganton, NC. We seek to sponsor artists, provide young makers with mentors, and facilitate projects with community members and students.


TOSS began with local artists in Morganton seeking to bring arts education to students at an affordable rate. A pilot program, TOSSafter, was developed by Kathryn Ervin, Kirksey Lowther, and Hannah Thrower with the Burke Arts Council acting as a fiscal sponsor in the fall of 2015. Seeing the potential benefits and growing support this program fostered, the founding members incorporated TOSS with the State in the summer of 2018.


To harness the power of creativity, altering the landscape of opportunities for those living in the rural South.


To provide a structured, safe environment that allows artists and students to reach their full potential (physically, spiritually, mentally, economically). These leaders will become the next generation of creative entrepreneurs, revitalizing the rural South.

Core Values

Actualized Imagination-We must not only imagine impossibly futures to build them
Cross-sector collaboration-We must using integrated, systemic problem-solving strategies to overcome obstacles
Inclusivity- We are an organization that works with people not for or against them
Creative Capital-We must believe in the power of creativity to solve the socioeconomic challenges we seek to address

Student Studio Methodology

Our pilot program, TOSSafter, is modeled on Room 13 and the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy which elevates the process of hands on, collaborative learning: building creative capital through experience. We value student autonomy, giving our students opportunities to design and execute their own projects, giving them the tools and knowledge they need to help spark creativity. We think harnessing the power of creativity will allow us to develop a healthier community and more empathetic world.



TOSSafter is an afterschool program for students in k-12th grade. Students are trained in creative, critical thinking with the desired outcome being creative confidence manifested through unique projects students will be empowered to design by the end of the term. Students are familiarized with visual mediums such as painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, and photography and given the tools to design and exhibit their work at the conclusion of the term.
Hours: Monday – Thursday 3:30pm- 5pm
When Burke County Schools are in, TOSSafter will be operating.


TOSSair is a complimentary program to TOSSafter. Teaching-artists participate in a residency in which they work with students, make art, and donate a percentage of their proceeds to the TOSSafter scholarship fund. Teaching artists lead community engagement projects and exhibit their work with TOSSafter students.
Hours: Monday – Thursday 2pm- 6pm
When Burke County Schools are in, TOSSair will be operating.


TOSSworks is a series of workshops we host with partnering organizations for students in k-12th grade. Here, we allow students to experiment with an art medium in more depth. The workshops are designed around a central theme, which correspond to relevant issues in our community.
Hours: These workshops are held periodically through the spring and fall  


The TOSS internship program is a fourteen-week that provides high school and college students with mentorship and resources to learn and develop community art initiatives in Morganton. Interns are presented with information on current art advocacy initiatives, art historical examples, and guidance. They are assisted in developing a project in collaboration with studio directors, other students, and our community partners.
Hours: This program operates through the summer, spring, and fall


Summer camp is a culmination of our creative programming where students take the skills they have learned and apply it directly to a master-work, created over the period of a week and presented to friends and family at the conclusion of camp. Hours: Camp occurs in July over a two week period, Monday – Friday


TOSShunts are a series of creative events, curated for organizations and individual. These art scavenger hunts are designed by the TOSS staff and TOSSairs, and often involve student participation.