The 2020 Community Arts Party inside Finley Gym. After being online-only last year, the arts and crafts even will return to an in-person event on Feb. 4.
John Larson | El Defensor Chieftain

 

It’s on! The Community Arts Party is back, in person at Finley Gym. The free arts and crafts extravaganza organized by New Mexico Tech’s Performing Arts Series is set for Saturday, Feb. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, PAS was unable to have it at Finley last year due to state orders that banned gathering in large groups. There were 19 projects for the party last year and PAS used 19 separate Zoom accounts.

With an eye to COVID protocols, the event this year will feature fewer workshops with many pre-packaged supplies. If the weather is good, some of the workshops will be outside.

Among the activities always popular are tie-dye, flower fairies and dream catchers.

“Make your own Valentine cards to give or a treasure box,” PAS Director Ronna Kalish said. “Make a koinobori, a Japanese-style wind sock traditionally flown on National Children’s Day.”

Participants can also make cornhusk dolls, cork boats, or Ojos. Sand art, scratch art and string art are among the offerings.

“Or make a mono-print, beaded keychain or decoupage jar,” she said. “Swirling colors and tile painting; magnets, buttons and whimsical wire wonders are other possibilities.”

And there still will be plenty of other enjoyable activities. All free for all ages.

This is the 26th year for the Community Arts Party, first conceived as a possible after-school program. The original event was deemed a great success and so it continued with community volunteers and business support.

Kalish came up with the idea of a community-wide hands-on workshop in 1996, as a way for children of all ages to explore the wonderful world of arts and crafts. She was enthusiastically supported by artist Becky Titus Taylor, who lived in Socorro at the time.

There was no such event in Socorro at that time other than occasional after-school arts and crafts classes, and “our goal was to try out a variety of arts projects in a ‘party’ setting geared to all ages, providing artistic activities that could be replicated at home in a family setting,” Kalish says. The event has become an institution in Socorro, the likes of which many say they have never seen before.

“We’re hoping for a lot of new volunteer helpers,” Kalish said. “One doesn’t have to be an artist to help out.”

She says that while volunteers are always welcome, this year many of the long-term helpers won’t be attending. In particular, previous years’ fav artist, Becky Titus Taylor (aka Rodakai Deiner) will not be on site, but her “Color Me Pages” activity will be available.

“New Tourism Director, James McNeil is very positive, with his helpers Dezirae Armijo, Cheyenne Cortez and Carlos Benavidez,” she said. “And Lloyd Martinez and crew helping with picking up and returning tables and chairs. And thanks to NMT Facilities for donating tables and chairs.”

In past years, the event included a food fundraiser. This year, Kalish is working to get a food truck instead.

Sponsors this year are Positive Outcomes; Walmart; NM Tech Facilities, Recreation & Community Education; City of Socorro; and PAS.

Masks and other COVID-19 protocols will be enforced. For more information and to volunteer, call 575-835-5688, email pas@nmt.edu or visit the PAS website: nmt.edu/pas.