PERMIT • I
P E N L A N D
PENLAND SCHOOL OF CRAFTS ■ PENLAND NORTH CAROLINA 28765 FALL 1992
TIME TO MOVE OH
H unter Kariher has been closely in
volved with Pen land School for fif
teen years and has now decided it's
time to move on. He first came to Penland
as a wood instructor in 1977 and continued
to teach three weeks each summer for eight
years. In 1985, he joined the staff full-time
as Assistant Director with responsibility
for the studios, the Visitor's Center, the
Supply Store, the budget, certain aspects
of the program and supervision of all the
buildings and grounds. Then in 1989, he
was named Director.
One of Hunter's early decisions as Director of
Penland School was not to hire an assistant
director, but to reorganize the responsibili
ties around the strengths of the existing staff.
This meant that he continued to carry most of
his former duties and added to them program
development and supervision, fundraising, and
all the tasks that make up day-to-day administration.
Hunter and I sat together in his pristine office, now
cleaned out and just about ready for his departure, and
chatted about the past fifteen years and why he had
decided to leave. He talked about the kinds of change
that had taken place during this period and his sense that
Penland School is quite stable, and that he himself is
ready for a different pace and some different priorities.
'The School is in a good situation now," he said, "thanks
to the partnership of the Board and the collaboration of
the staff. Last spring the Board adopted a Five Year Plan
which can be a guide to the next director. Personally,
I've missed working with my hands. I think that being so
close to all of this studio work has made me eager for a
situation which will allow more time for that. I want to
be able to set up a small studio wherever I go next. At the
moment. I'm not sure where that will be, but I am
investigating several options."
During these past fifteen years, the curriculum at Pen-
land has expanded from six studios to fourteen. The size
of the student body is about the same today as it was
fifteen years ago with the result that class size is smaller
and the student-instructor ratio is much more favorable.
Hunter established a system of stu
dio coordinators who work closely
with program planning and then
serve as the liaison for the instruc
tors during the summer. These coor
dinators are in a position to be advo
cates for the needs of their studios.
A BALANCING ACT
UPGRADING THE FACILITIES
To support this change, there has had to be extensive work
on the studios including new construction, renovations and
rehabilitation. A capital campaign launched during Verne
Stanford's tenure raised almost enough money for the
construction of the NorthLight Building. Now completed,
it houses book arts, drawing, papermaking, photography
and printmaking in addition to a great-room for exhibi
tions, public gatherings and audio-visual presentations.
Some studio spaces were reconfigured and additions were
built to others so that every studio has been upgraded,
including new equipment. There are still major needs, but
the planning process is completed and new construction or
further modifications to studios are included. Housing has
been the major priority and the long range plan for facilities
calls for continuing renovation of all housing.
Another major portion of the work accomplished in the
past three years is underground and not visible to the
student body. The water and septic systems have been
redone and much of the plumbing has been modernized.
Programmatically, Penland has a strong curriculum that is
responsive to the changing needs of the student body.
Hunter commented that he feels it is
the responsibility of the director to
maintain the balance, to see Penland
as a whole. This, for him, has meant
balancing studio needs with housing
needs as well as responding evenly to
all the disciplines. It has also meant
careful attention to community rela
tions which includes the local popu
lation as well as the art community.
Balance is also essential in striving for fiscal health,
which has been perhaps the major turnaround in the
recent past. While Penland will continue to need to
raise money for capital improvements for the forseeable
hiture, there is now a healthy endowment for scholar-
shipsand the School's financial stability makes it unnec
essary to borrow during the leaner winter months.
Enrollment overall is at about 90%, but in general
classes during the summer are full.
Hunter is not sure just what is next for him, but he does
have some immediate plans. He is putting a camper on
the back of his truck and leaving for an extensive cross
country trip visiting friends and seeing places that have
interested him for years. 'The best part is," said Hunter,
"1 don't have a 'long range plan' and will just go when and
where I feel like it."
For the meantime, Ann Kariher will be living in Spruce
Pine and will continue in her position on the office staff
of a physician in Asheville. Two of their daughters are
in Greensboro, where Heather is a freshman at the
University of North Carolina and Gretchen is an RN at
Moses Cone Hospital. Their youngest daughter Shan
non is a freshman at Mitchell High School. B