Sunday, March 8, 2015

Friends of ReMe on Ocracoke

Jean here.  Grab something refreshing to drink; put up your feet; and let me tell you about some of my favorite folks on Ocracoke.

In October, when we were on Ocracoke Island during our ReMe Retreat, Amy Howard was kind enough to join us for an evening of storytelling.  She shared many of her own memories about growing up on Ocracoke, and she also shared the most riveting details about the history of The Island.  It was magical for all in attendance.  

Amy is a direct descendant of the original residents of Ocracoke Island, and she comes from a long proud line of Islanders who honor their history by sharing their stories.  Luckily for us and for Ocracoke, Amy is also the Executive Director of The Ocracoke Preservation Society (OPS).  

The OPS is dedicated to preserving Ocracoke Island's rich historical and cultural heritage.  They have a must-visit museum on The Island, and Amy and the other folks from The OPS maintain an active presence on Facebook that allows us to feel a part of things all year long. 

An aerial view of the OPS Museum. Photo 'borrowed'
from their Facebook Page.

During our visit, Amy shared news of The OPS's Annual Art Auction, she invited each of us to participate, and she distributed canvases to all who were interested.  The OPS and Amy are near and dear to our hearts, and participate we did!  Friends of ReMe arted their hearts out to contribute to the OPS.  

I was fortunate to be able to attend the auction in person this January.  What an experience!  The museum was packed to the gills; there was lively laughter and conversation; a frenzy of bidding on all of the amazing artwork; and a friendly competition or two as folks vied to take home their favorites.  By any measure, the night was a huge success, and I'm so grateful to have played even the smallest part in it.  

If you'd like to read more details about this year's OPS Auction, please view Sundae Horne's article in the Ocracoke Current by clicking this link.  The Ocracoke Current is The Island's Online Newspaper.  In their own words, "The Ocracoke Current is a source of reliable news and information for the residents and visitors to Ocracoke Island...It's like good gossip but verifiable."  What's not to love about that?!?

During our visit together, Amy also shared a bit of disheartening news with us.  The Hyde County School District, including Ocracoke Island, has eliminated Arts Education in their schools.  As a merry band of midlife artists who have each benefited from our own past and present arts education, this all but broke our hearts.

Happily, the good folks of Ocracoke did not take this news lying down.  Instead, Ocracoke Alive invited artists near and far to apply for the privilege of working with children in their school.  Ocracoke Alive is the driving force behind The Ocrafolk Festival, and in their own words, "The purpose of Ocracoke Alive, Inc/ is to enrich the Ocracoke Island community by encouraging and sponsoring cultural, artistic, educational, and environmental activities..."  (You can read more about Ocracoke Alive here, and the partnership that they established here.)

When I returned home, I immediately applied to be a visiting artist in their program, and I was delighted to be invited to participate during their first week in 2015.  The experience exceeded my wildest expectations!  (If you'd like to read more details and see oodles of photos, please visit my blog here.)

Our Flagship ReMe Retreats in May and October are firmly rooted in our Historic Soundfront Inn on Ocracoke Island.  It's the art that brings us together in this magical place, and the bonds that we form with each other take the forefront as we spend time together.  Amidst it all, there's Ocracoke.  The Island, The Beach, The Village, The Community, The Businesses, and The People; they shape our time together, touch our hearts, and are firmly rooted in each of our memories.  

The Ocracoke Preservation SocietyThe Ocracoke Current, and Ocracoke Alive, are run by some of our favorite Island Residents.  We're blessed to count them as "Friends of ReMe", and we encourage you to support them.  Each can help you to stay in touch with Ocracoke as you count the days until your next visit.   
While our ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke in May is filled to capacity; a few spaces remain in October.  Reserve yours by clicking on the Paypal Link on the left side of this page.  Convenient payment plans are available.

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