Everybody’s an artist this weekend

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No one is too young or old to create works of art. Everyone — kids, parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends and neighbors — is invited to this year’s Community Arts Party, Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the City of Socorro’s Finley Gym.

“It’s going to be an extravaganza,” said Ronna Kalish, who came up with the idea of a huge, hands-on workshop in 1997, as a way for children of all ages to explore the wonderful world of arts and crafts.

The Community Arts Party is a Socorro tradition, an opportunity for children and adults to don old duds and get down and dirty as they move from project to project, immersing themselves in paint, glue, glitter, play dough and clay – and that’s just the beginning.

Arts party-goers always look forward to seeing what artist Becky Titus Taylor comes up with for the group project. The former Socorroan, now living in the Jemez Mountains, has been central to the arts party since its inception, along with a host of other loyal volunteers.

“Becky will be showing kids show to make Bow-Tie Media Puppets along with her ‘Mr. Squiggly Color-Me pages,’” Kalish said. “Her creativity and enthusiasm are contagious, and the kids just love her.”

The artist and her husband, Mark Taylor, will be using old record heads with cd eyes, videotape hair, bouncy ball noses and packing paper bow-ties. “They’re awfully cute,” Becky said after making one.

Titus Taylor is a member of the Jemez Artisans gallery in Jemez Springs, which shows the works of nine members. “The gallery has a really excellent variety of work. I also show regularly at Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos, and will have work at the Jemez Springs Bath House from February to April. Hopefully I’ll also be showing at the NM Arts & Crafts Fair in Albuquerque in June,” she said.

Her current work is mostly the Recycled Music Warped Album Art – hand-painted, vintage records warped into bowls, clocks, mirrors, earrings and sculpture. She also still works for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology on a freelance basis.

Kalish, director of the New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series (PAS), and her most amazing assistant, Dana Chavez, organize the event every year with Tech’s blessings, working the phone to line up volunteers, sponsors and donations.

Younger children will enjoy face painting, play dough, swirling colors, mono prints, animal masks and flower fairies, while their older siblings can join the mosaic vases, clay creations, duct tape pins, dream catchers or learn about drawing.

“The Community Arts Party really does have something for all ages and all interests,” Kalish said. “I’ve seen children who came in as toddlers grow up in the program – some of them even became workshop leaders later on.”

All that fun is bound to stimulate an appetite for the young artists and their adult helpers, so several concessions will be available to soothe those hunger pangs.

Wear old clothes and prepare to have fun.