Honoring the Legacy: The Carla Giuffrida Arts Loft
Carla Giuffrida was a huge part of the heart and soul of the Homestead School since the 1980’s as a school mom, classroom teacher, and as the creator of an amazing fiber arts program. She was only recently retired when we learned of her tragic death last December. For those of you unfamiliar with the life and legacy of Carla, you might want to see her video, Honoring the Path of Each Child, on the school’s website.
Carla Giuffrida taught as a lead teacher at Homestead for over 2 decades, then taught as an Associate teacher guiding new lead teachers in mastery of their role.
When the opportunity arose, Homestead offered Carla a full time position educating the children in what she loved most. Carla was an amazingly talented fiber artist and her passion and skill of the art were contagious. In her years of offering fiber arts instruction it was common to walk into any of our classrooms and find students busily knitting in between their other Montessori work and lessons.
She first created a Fiber Arts Room in the original farmhouse, in a room that overlooked Pete and Marsha’s Garden. The sunlight would shine upon the shelves with baskets of beautiful hand dyed wool and on the children as they worked on the looms with gentle music playing in the background.
When Homestead expanded to include multiple classes for Lower and Upper Elementary, Carla moved her Fiber Arts studio into the newly built extension off of the Quonset Hut. The newly constructed animal pasture and barn rounded out the charm of this fiber arts space. Carla was able to begin classes by bringing students out to visit with the sheep. She would then take the wool, freshly sheared, and work with the students on cleaning, carding, spinning and dyeing. Regardless of the location there was a magic, calm, and creative energy that filled the fiber arts room and it was by far a favorite destination on campus.
Honoring her Legacy: The Carla Giuffrida Arts Loft
When we decided to undertake a major remodeling of the barn this spring to create a large, heated space for a range of activities, almost simultaneously, everyone who knew her well as a friend and colleague said, “Let’s name the space for Carla!” The Barn was one building on the Glen Spey campus in which she did not hold a Fiber Arts Studio, so it was the perfect place for us to build a permanent structure in her honor.
When approaching the arts space from the upper playground and walking through the large barn doors, a visitor will be met with another twelve foot by twelve foot door, this one insulated. When opened wide, a grand interior will be revealed which will still showcase the oak post, beams, and bracing of the original barn. The heated space will house music and theater programs, and most fitting in honor of Carla, a giant wall loom to be attached on the high end wall. Conventional three foot exterior doors will be the usual manner of daily ingress and egress, but when plays, musicals or puppet shows are desired, the art space will become the stage and the giant doors will open to allow a waiting audience on the outside to see the production.
When he heard about this initiative, Carla’s son and Homestead graduate, Mauro Giuffrida Jr. shared,
“What Mom was able to do with the Fiber Arts program at the Homestead, and the joy she saw it bring to the children, might have been her happiest and most rewarding achievement. We would be honored to have her memory live on through the Art space.”
Homestead’s 2022 Annual Parent’s Fund will be for the Arts
Homestead will be holding a Silent Auction in the Glen Spey campus barn, the future space for the Carla Giuffrida Arts Loft during our Open House, June 11, 2022 from 9am-1pm. Community members are welcome to visit the campus and participate in the auction.
If you would like to directly contribute toward the Carla Giuffrida Arts Loft, you can donate through Venmo: @homesteadschool with a memo “Annual Fund-Carla” or a check to “Homestead School Sullivan” can be mailed to Homestead School, 428 Hollow Rd., Glen Spey, NY 12737.