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Get Ready for 20th Annual Community Arts Party On Saturday

SOCORRO, N.M. February 1, 2016  – Calling all kids, parents, grandparents and neighbors: Get ready for this year’s colossal Community Arts Party, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, at the City of Socorro’s Finley Gym, and lasting until 3 p.m.

“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 Wiggly-Eyed Jelly Fish, along with her ‘Mr.  Squiggly color-me color pages,’” Kalish said. “Her creativity and enthusiasm are contagious, and the kids just love her.”Yep, it's that time again already

The artist and her husband, Mark Taylor, will be decorating paper bowls with ribbons and markers and really anything you can find on her table, to create colorful underwater creatures that you “probably will not find in the New Mexico desert,” kids Becky.  When completed, you can hang them up on your porch or in the house as a colorful moving mobile.  

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. 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.

An exciting new project for this year will be egg decorating, presented by Magdalena artist Yvonne Magener.  This is a precursor to the “Eggsibition!” that will be held at Vertu Gallery later in the month, an annual show. Yvonne is known for her decorated eggs art creations, each one with a very intricate design.  The Eggsibition will feature Yvonne’s eggs plus other locals’ egg creations. “Get ready to decorate eggs with shrink dink and create clay egg ornaments,” says Yvonne. “It’s been a few years since I have done a project at the Arts Party.  I love this event!”

And keep your eyes peeled for another local artist, BJ Lesperance and her sister AJ, making treasure boxes.

Kalish, director of the New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series (PAS), and her trusted assistant, Dana Chavez, organize the event every year with Tech’s blessings, working the phone to line up volunteers, sponsors and donations. A variety of New Mexico Tech student clubs, high school groups and Socorro General Hospital community based programs help out, local businesses donate supplies and more than 60 individuals volunteer.

Major sponsors are City of Socorro, Walmart, New Mexico Tech’s Facilities and Community Education departments and local dentist C. Bonner Oates.

Younger children will enjoy play dough, swirling color golf balls, stress balls, flower fairies and animal masks, while their older siblings can join clay projects, leather works, or try their hand at the New Mexico tradition of cornhusk dolls.

“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.”

So what else is in store for arts party participants? Here is a list of scheduled events in alphabetical order:

  • 3D Animals
  • 3D Painting
  • Animal Masks
  • Balloon Stress Balls
  • Beading
  • Bottlecap & Puzzle Piece Magnets
  • Bucky Balls
  • Buttons
  • Clay Creations
  • Corn Husk Dolls
  • Cornstarch Mush
  • Decoupage Jars
  • Drawing Demo
  • Dream Catchers
  • Duct Tape Bracelets
  • Egg Decorating
  • Flower Fairies 
  • Graffiti Wall
  • Heart Critters
  • Heart Mice
  • Leatherwork
  • Love Bugs
  • Mono Prints
  • Mr. Squiggly Color Me Pages
  • Ojos
  • Painted Rocks
  • Paper Hats
  • Play Dough
  • Potter’s Wheel
  • Rockets
  • Sand Art
  • Sculpey Sculptures
  • Swirling colors
  • Tie-Dye
  • Tile Painting
  • Treasure Boxes
  • Valentine Creations
  • Washer Necklaces
  • Water Bottle Wind Spirals
  • Whimsical Wire Wonders
  • Wiggly-Eyed Jelly Fish

All that fun is bound to stimulate an appetite for the young artists and their adult helpers, so Girl Scout Troup #10129 will be selling breakfast burritos and lunch items, and the Socorro Co-op Nursery School will have sweet treats for sale, to soothe those hunger pangs.

– NMT –