PARKERSBURG - The Parkersburg Art Center offers a venue to display a variety of artists, artisans and crafters each year, while also providing classes for adults and children and other activities for all ages.
The art center is a member agency of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Director Abby Hayhurst said the art center applies to the United Way each year for support for specific projects. For the current year, the United Way funds were used to support the center's youth art shows, including the Wood County Young Illustrators, Wood County Expressions and others.
"We run into a lot of hard costs with those shows, which the school system can't pay. In order for us to be able to have the work in our gallery - which we like to have - the United Way makes that possible," Hayhurst said.
Looking ahead at next year, the art center plans to apply to the United Way for funds to expand its "Arty Parties" program to serve children with special needs and disabilities or those who don't have access to arts programs in their schools.
For the past two years, the art center has been holding the free parties periodically to allow children and their parents to spend an afternoon at the art center trying a variety of different arts activities to see if there is anything they like. Over 100 people attended one of the events earlier this spring.
Hayhurst said the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund has been very helpful in getting the "Arty Parties" program started and she is hoping assistance from the United Way can help build on that.
In addition to featuring local, regional and national artists through various exhibits each year, the art center also offers a variety of classes for children and adults throughout the year.
The center is currently holding a series of art camps during June and July with children, divided by age, doing various art activities.
Hayhurst said there are some openings remaining in some classes, but most have waiting lists due to the high level of interest.
While support from organizations like the Sisters and United Way are essential, Hayhurst said the art center does all that it can to help provide support through its own efforts. The art center does a lot of fundraising, from large events like "Night on the Nile" to weekly bingo games.
Hayhurst is currently preparing for another fundraiser for the end of June. Staff and volunteers at the art center are cleaning up years of accumulated stuff from the center's fourth-floor storage area to create an indoor yard sale.
The sale will include furniture, toys, tools, lighting equipment, chandeliers, display cases, Christmas trees and ornaments and many other items.
The sale will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 28-30 at the art center at Eighth and Market streets in downtown Parkersburg.
"We're calling it 'The sale of the .75 Century' since this year marks the 75th anniversary of the building (which houses the art center)," Hayhurst said. "We will be having a year's worth of 75th anniversary activities."