ConceptKCTCS/KCTCSConcept News Item | Somerset Community College

SCC Employees Collaborate on Book

Wanda Fries Nancy Phelps 
Wanda Fries’ latest book, “The Vineyard & Other Stories” will be released during the annual Art in the Vineyards event September 6 at Cedar Creek Vineyards in Somerset. Shown with Fries (left) is Nancy Phelps (right), whose photograph was used for the cover. Both Fries and Phelps are employees at Somerset Community College.
When Nancy Phelps and Wanda Fries met in a Somerset Community College (SCC) creative writing course several years ago, they did not know that they would one day be not only friends, but would collaborate on projects as well. Fries was the course’s teacher, and like many of the college’s students, Phelps was attending the course for enrichment, not fulfilling a requirement for a degree. Having returned to the family home in Jamestown, Phelps was a graphic designer at the Center for Rural Development in Somerset, Kentucky at the time, and when a business writing course was unavailable, decided to take creative writing because it sounded like fun.

Years later, Phelps began full time work at SCC, and the two became not just friends, but professional colleagues. Both have taken the “community” part of SCC’s name seriously, becoming especially involved in several arts organizations in the area including Watershed Arts Alliance and the Sheltowee Artisans, Phelps as a photographer and Fries as a writer. Both Phelps and Fries have served on Watershed’s board of directors, and Phelps has a pivotal role in SCC’s photography club, Fruit of the Lens.

The collaboration of the two women will be apparent this year at the Art in the Vineyards event sponsored by Watershed Arts Alliance and Cedar Creek Vineyards. In past years, Phelps has offered yoga instruction and sold her photographs and hand-made soy candles at the event. While she will not have a booth this year, her photograph of Cedar Creek Vineyards is on the cover of Fries’ collection, The Vineyard and Other Stories, set to be formally released at the event, scheduled for September 6.

“Nancy’s photographs are beautiful,” Fries said. “But when she shared the photograph of the vineyard—all those lovely pinks and purples, the mountains a backdrop for the grapevines—I knew that if she were willing to share it, I had my cover. Cedar Creek is so important to the community and to me personally and was the inspiration for the title story in the collection.”

“I’m honored that Wanda asked to use my photograph for this book,” said Phelps. “She is such a wonderful writer and dear friend. The scene of Cedar Creek Vineyards is very special to both of us, as it is home to our mutual friends, Jeff and Debbie Wiles, who share its beauty during the annual Art in the Vineyards event.”

In addition to her web design and other work at Somerset Community College, Phelps does freelance work. Fries has taught English at SCC for over twenty-five years.

“We have so many gifted people here,” Fries said. “As a writer, I don’t really do art fairs much, but this one is special, and it seemed like a good time to gather these stories together in one place—all but one have been published in journals and magazines—and spend my day among so many gifted artists and artisans, many of them from the college. Last year, we had Alyce Grover, Kathy Patscheck (with husband Art), and Jody Epperson, all with ties to the college. We don’t have to look far for inspiration. I could not have found a more beautiful photograph for this collection.”

Art in the Vineyards will be held at Cedar Creek Vineyards 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 6. Admission is $5 per vehicle on-site (proceeds go to fund Watershed Arts Alliance projects), or you can park at the Shopville Library on Hwy. 80 and catch a free shuttle. There are many returning artists, as well as some who have not participated in the past. There will also be several interactive art activities for children to enjoy.   Mixed Nuts, a traditional stringband, will be performing from 1-3:30. LaMay & Reece, an American folk music duo, will perform at 4:00. Food will be offered from Expressions Tea, the Village Trough, and Cedar Creek Farm.  And of course, fine wines will be available from Cedar Creek Vineyards.