TOSS is an arts non-profit serving artists, students, and communities in the rural South.


TOSS began with local artists in Morganton, NC, seeking to bring arts education to students at an affordable rate. An initial pilot program, TOSSafter, was founded and 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 support this program fostered, the founding members incorporated TOSS in the summer of 2018.


We seek to alter the landscape of opportunities for those living in the rural South, by harnessing the power of creativity.


We envision a growing network of artists and students connected to the resources they need to reach their full potential physically, spiritually, and mentally, through the arts. These practitioners are the next generation of creative entrepreneurs, revitalizing and sustaining our communities.

Core Values

We have the great privilege and responsibility of building our collective future
Cross-sector collaboration
We use integrated thinking to overcome great obstacles
We are an organization that works with people not for or against them
Creative Capital
We believe creative solutions will solve the largest socioeconomic challenges of our time

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 provide the tools and knowledge needed to help spark creativity, but we value student autonomy, and design opportunities to for students to conceptualize and execute their own projects. We believe harnessing the power of creativity grows healthier community and a more empathetic world.



TOSSafter is an afterschool program for students in k-12th grade. 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  


TOSStern is an internship program, approximately 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, TOSSairs, countless volunteers, and students.

Hours: These events are held periodically throughout the year