Ironvine Studios and the Yates Community Center’s ELEVATE Youth program are partnering with Penn Yan Academy to create a public art trail at the Community Center on North Main St. Metal artist Sam Castner envisions sculptures of native Finger Lakes wildlife installed on the walking trail, while engaging young people in the creative process.

Students in Grades 6 - 12 are invited to participate in two 4-hour workshop sessions with Castner from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Saturdays, March 23 and March 30 in room 134 at Penn Yan Academy. The workshops are free, and lunch is provided.

The middle and high school students will collaborate in Castner’s modeling technique, using paper, cardboard, and glue to create what will later become a sheet metal model, and then a full sized metal sculpture rendered in steel. 

The Agriculture, Career & Technical Education, and Art teachers of Penn Yan are encouraging their students to take part in this community effort.

Castner, who admits he never took an art class in high school and didn’t find his calling until his sophomore year in college, says he would have loved to have such opportunities when he was in school. After working with famed metal sculptor Albert Paley, Castner has himself created some of the iconic landmark artworks of the area, drawing inspiration from nature and the landscape of the Finger Lakes.


ELEVATE’s vision is for a vibrant, creative youth who are empowered by adults and peers alike to help them achieve their full potential and then lead others by inspiring them to give, serve, and grow.

Core Values:

• Self-confidence: feeling trust in one’s own abilities, qualities, and judgment.

•  Leadership: guide and motivate others on a course of action to strive towards common goals.

•  Responsibility: making independent decisions, acting morally towards one’s self and others, and being accountable for one’s actions.

•  Respect: having deep regard for the abilities, qualities, and achievements of one’s self, others, and the community at large.

•  Volunteerism: to give generously of one’s time, in the service of others, and for the benefit of the community.

•  Mission: Our mission is to provide experiences that cultivate success and strengthen our community through comprehensive programming for children, youth and families giving them the opportunity to grow in the areas of self confidence, leadership, responsibility and respect and to participate voluntarily in the community.