First ‘Arty Party’ of the year held

PARKERSBURG – Children used every corner of their imaginations to create journals, drawings and items of clay on Saturday during the first “Arty Party” of the new year at the Parkersburg Art Center.

About two dozen children with parents and grandparents were encouraged to use color and shapes for the “design a journal” program that also included clay modeling as well as the opportunity to draw in the journal.

“My grandson Owen came here during the summer for the art center’s art camp and now his sister really wants to come this year because he had so much fun,” said Carla Holbert, of Mineral Wells, who brought her grandchildren Owen Pratt, 7, and Lucy Pratt, 6. “We will probably try to be here for the other ‘Arty Parties’ because it gives the kids something fun to do on a cold Saturday.”

Each week children will be introduced to a new media or project that allows them to use their imaginations and be artistically creative, said program facilitator Katie Ferguson. The program is free to the public due to a gift from the Sisters of Saint Joseph Charitable Fund.

“We have been doing these ‘Arty Parties’ for some time now and it’s great to see the kids having such fun with it,” Ferguson said. “By coming here, families get to do activities together and children can use their creativity and be artistic, which is lacking a lot in schools.”

The free program will be held each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon through Jan. 26 for children ages 12 and under and a parent. A new lineup of classes will begin Feb. 18 at the art center.

The weekly program is not a class, but an opportunity for children to play with art in the big room of the art center’s basement.

The next “Arty Party” will be Jan. 12 with “tempura painting.” The following weekend will be “printing with unusual items” on Jan. 19 and the final party will be “milk carton creations” on Jan. 26.

“It is wonderful to bring my granddaughter here and see all of the children having fun,” said Charlotte Smith, of Parkersburg, who brought granddaughter Juanita Salazar, 7, of Lubeck. “When kids do art, something wonderful is happening before their very eyes.”

Also during the month of January, the art center will be having “Trial-Sized” classes for children and adults. The kids classes include pottery, 3-D designing and painting, while adult classes include pottery, sculpting, drawing, stained glass and decoupage.

The new “Trial-Sized” programs provides an opportunity for people to try a single session of some of the art center’s multi-week classes at a reduced investment of time and money to see if they are interested in the full classes.

Registration for art classes is available by calling 304-485-3859 or going online at Most classes require a minimum of four students in order to run.

The art center is located at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.