Art in Our World/The Arts Centre's 18th Annual Holiday Show and Sale

by Jennifer LB Leese

Art is a large part of our everyday living that we hardly ever stop to appreciate. Imagine, just for a moment, what our world would be without art.
Think of the buildings along the skyline in New York City and Chicago. At a stoplight we admire the car next to us for its sleek contours. Someone designed those things. They are artists. Art isn’t just oil paintings hanging on a wall in a museum; it is functional objects as well.
Art enriches our lives; it motivates parts of our brains, making us laugh, cry, or just stare at it in amazement. One could say that art is a psychologist you don’t have to pay.
Some question the necessity for art programs in our communities and schools. In fact many budget cuts have been made on art related programs nationwide. However, research shows that both children and adults benefit emotionally, physically, and mentally from the arts. More and more we are seeing private and non-profit companies filling the gap the reduction to public programs has left.
One such organization dedicated to providing educational, enjoyable creations, and imaginative instruction for Eastern Panhandle children and adults has been an important part of our community for many years. “The Arts Centre encourages improvisation and experimentation in the arts. Master artists introduce students to basic skills and problem solving methods that encourage personal expression and development.” Designed to accommodate beginners and advanced students, classes for children at the Community School for the Arts are small, giving children one-on-one instruction. Studying children come together in three age groups 5-7 years, 8-10, and 10-12 years where they can learn painting, drawing, clay sculptures, puppetry, and video.
The Arts Centre produces a variety of events throughout the year to showcase the work its students create and to raise funds for its ongoing programs. Among these events annually held is the “18th Annual Holiday Show and Sale.” The Show opens November 18 at the historic Admiral Boarman House, home to The Arts Centre. It will include local artisans and craftsmen during the holidays by showcasing their work in the spacious old home. “It will be set up like a retail shop-an elegant shop,” says Melissa Crim, Events Coordinator.
This event is free to the public and sponsored by Minghini’s General Contractors, Potomac Construction Industry, and Talk Radio WRNR. A few of the displays visitors can look forward to are makers of jewelry, pewter, pottery, baskets, oil paintings, and drawings from people of all ages. Visitors can expect to see several different vendors where they can purchase area jams and jellies.
One special event during the show is “The Festival of Trees” held at the Federal Building. Set for November 18 through December 23, visitors can come and enjoy the splendor and charm of stunningly decorated Christmas trees. Each handpicked tree has a sponsor and is decorated then purchased by local and regional organizations or companies. Local school children will be there helping decorate and putting on a puppet show.
Another fundraising event to be held during the Holiday Show takes place on November 27. Children can sit on Santa’s lap, get a picture taken, and tell the big guy what they want for Christmas during the center’s “Photo’s with Santa.” This time honored tradition costs $2 per child. Proceeds will benefit The Arts Centre’s ongoing projects.
No event would be complete without a bake sale. From 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. on December 3, hungry patrons can stroll by and stop at The Arts Centre for some warm, delicious baked goodies donated from students, staff and community members. Come hungry because you won’t be able to resist the scrumptious array of homemade muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, and brownies while you partake in the vast artwork collections available for sale.
The Centre is currently working on moving to a new facility. This project, referred to as “Operation Renaissance,” includes not only a name change, but also a complete restructuring of the mission of the organization. The center will move from the Admiral Boarman House, built in 1802, to the Romanesque style Old Federal Building, built 1895. This project will take years to achieve and will require great fund raising efforts, plans and construction for the project, in addition to educational programming preparation, and staff expansion. Work is about to begin on the renovation project of this building and The Arts Centre hopes to be in their new location late 2005 or early 2006. Those interested in tracking the progress visit The Arts Centre on the web at
Contributions to The Arts Centre project will aid in opening the doors of the Old Federal Building-for the first time in 40 years—and will help provide art classes for children and adults, as well as helping build the art facility for visual and performing arts. The West Virginia Cultural Facilities Development Grant will match each dollar donated up to $324,000.
The Arts Centre is located at 208 South Queen Street on the square in downtown Martinsburg, WV. Please call for additional information at 304-263-0224, or visit their website at If you are interested in signing up for an art class, call Educational Directors Patty Perez or Kelley Ingalls at 304-263-0224.