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Parkersburg Art Center aims to inspire with new round of ‘Arty Parties’

Sophia Pinkerton, 4, of Parkersburg, uses watercolors to paint her circles at the Parkersburg Art Center’s annual series of “Arty Parties” on Saturday. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

PARKERSBURG — The Parkersburg Art Center kicked off its annual series of “Arty Parties” on Saturday, which give local children a chance to try their hands at a variety of arts and crafts activities every Saturday through March 21.

The free Arty Party program, which is sponsored by the Virginia L Neptune Foundation, will run from 10 a.m.-noon each Saturday at the art center at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.

“This is our first time coming, and I am so glad I decided to bring my kids out,” said Nakita Garnes, of Parkersburg, who had three kids at the event.

“It is so nice to be able to bring my kids out and let them interact with other kids, make crafts and just have fun without it interfering with our budget plans,” said Garnes.

The program will culminate on March 21 with the annual Art-O-Rama program for children and their parents.

Addelyn Tewanger, 4, of Parkersburg, traces circles on her paper while her mother Emily Tewanger watches and helps when needed. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Jessie Siefert, managing director and education director for the art center, said the Arty Parties offer a different art or craft experience each week and provide a wide range of materials for children and their parents to try. The art center has volunteers and staff to assist with each program and supervise play.

On Saturday, the children were working on a collage created from watercolor circles. The kick-off event saw over 80 people, according to Siefert.

“We come here all the time and are huge fans of the programs offered by the art center,” said Beth Ashby, of Marietta.

Ashby had all four of her kids at Saturday’s event, ages ranging from 8 to 2.

“Two out of the four have participated in the Art Start preschool program and loved it. They all count down the days to Arty Parties, it is something they all enjoy together,” she said.

More than 80 people showed up for the first of this year’s Parkersburg Art Center “Arty Parties” on Saturday. The series will be held each Saturday through early March. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Ashby said it was a little out of the way for her, but Marietta doesn’t offer anything like the Arty Parties.

“I will continue though to go out of my way to keep supporting such a great program,” said Ashby.

Each week there will be different art materials/projects to explore. The crafts are aimed towards children ages four to six, but many younger kids joined in on the fun Saturday.

“This year we have not laid out a schedule of crafts and will figure out what to do each week based on supplies and donated materials,” said Siefert.

Next week the kids will be creating their own pencil bags.

Haley Hughes, 8, of Parkersburg, paints watercolor circles at the Parkersburg Art Center annual series of “Arty Parties” on Saturday. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

While many did crafts, some of the younger kids played on equipment or with Legos.

“Both of my kids have really enjoyed this morning, so I will definitely try to make it out to every Arty Party,” said Natalie Vaughan, of Parkersburg.

She was really grateful to live in a community that has the resources to offer events such as the Arty Parties for people to enjoy, especially in the winter when kids can’t play outside as often as they might like to burn off energy.

According to Siefert, the Art O Rama on March 21 will have multiple make-and-take art stations, music, dance, theater, games, concessions and discounted camp registration.

Madeline Scarborough can be reached at mscarborough@newsandsentinel.com

Greyson Munoz, 8, of Parkersburg, and his mother Tiffany Licot paint the watercolor circles together. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

Kids played on the climbing equipment and other toy sets after finishing their artwork. (Photo by Madeline Scarborough)

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