By Kate Snyder
There’s just something special about homemade gifts. Whether it’s the Popsicle stick picture frame made by a preschooler or the chunky scarf knit by your best friend, a handmade gift is imbued with an extra dose of love. This holiday season, the Community Arts Center invites everyone to fill their holidays with art by participating in an array of new holiday classes and special events.
• Starry Night Studio Holiday Classes: The Arts Center’s social painting classes have become a holiday tradition for many in the community. Executive Director Mary Beth Touchstone describes the classes as a “social painting experience.” She says, “The point of Starry Night Studio isn’t to produce a painting that will rival Rembrandt. It’s about spending a couple hours with friends, doing something creative, and having a great time.” For each Starry Night Studio class, an instructor provides step-by-step directions, taking painters from blank canvas to completed painting in a single class. “Even people who have never held a paint brush before are amazed by what they can create at Starry Night Studio” says Touchstone.
Upcoming Starry Night Studio classes include a poinsettia, a Van Gogh-inspired snowman, a folk art Santa, and an angel. Groups of 12 or more may also book a private party and create the painting of their choice.
• Extended Hours for Paint-Your-Own-Pottery: The Arts Center’s new paint-your-own pottery studio will be open for extended hours in the weeks leading up to Christmas. In addition to regular Saturday hours (10am to 4pm), the studio will be open for drop-in painting Tuesdays and Fridays from 3pm to 8pm. All pieces must be completed by Saturday, December 17th in order to be ready by Christmas.
The POP Studio features a wide range of plain pottery, including mugs, plates, Christmas ornaments, picture frames, and home décor. Painters add their own artistic flare to the pieces, which are then fired in the Arts Center kiln.
• Pottery Painting Workshops: In addition to drop-in painting, the Arts Center will host several pottery painting special events. Inspired by the popularity of the Starry Night Studio canvas painting classes, the Arts Center held its first pottery painting class earlier this fall. For a Christmas tree plate class on November 13th, painters can choose from three different designs – or create one of their own! An instructor will provide tips and guidance, helping each participant create a piece that is uniquely theirs.
The Arts Center has also scheduled three pottery painting events for kids. Parents and kids can visit the POP Studio on December 3rd from 10am to 4pm to create special “Cookies for Santa” plates with the help of an Arts Center instructor. There will also be Christmas cookies for all painters! On December 6th and 9th there will be “Secret Santa” workshops for children in grades K-12. Parents will drop off their children in the studio and Arts Center staff and volunteers will help kids paint a piece of pottery. After firing, finished pieces will be sent home wrapped, allowing children to surprise their parents and loved ones on Christmas.
• Art for Sale: Those lacking the time or inclination to make their own art can still do their holiday shopping at the Arts Center. There are currently more than 50 pieces of art on display in the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape and Limited Palette exhibits – and they’re all for sale. The exhibits close on Friday, November 11th and the Arts Center will be open late that evening for the Gallery Hop. In addition to the pieces in the exhibit, the Arts Center will be featuring pop-up shows by Creative Director Brandon Long and ceramics instructor Catherine Thomsen during the Gallery Hop.
The Arts Center will also host a one-day Holiday Ceramics Show on Saturday, December 3rd from 12pm to 4pm. The show will feature student work completed in fall adult and youth ceramics classes along with professionally-created pieces by instructors Catherine Thomsen, Jonas Hurley, and Alexandra Hawkins. The show is free and open to the public and many pieces will be for sale, making it a great opportunity for some holiday shopping.