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Cultural Center to kick off holiday season with free craft activities for kids on Saturday, Nov. 25

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History will kick off the holiday season with craft activities for kids on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2006 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The afternoon’s event is free and open to the public.

Participants will be greeted by elves as they come to make their holiday crafts, including ornaments with Debbie Young of Straight Fork Farm. Young will lead participants in using herbs and spices for decoration and making cinnamon ornaments that can be rolled and cut. Shannon Parsons, an artist and member of the faculty at the Charleston Stage Company’s summer Arts Camp, will help children create clay sculpture objects. Please Touch the Instruments, a program of Allegheny Echoes which promotes the teaching of Appalachian culture at a weeklong workshop each year in Marlinton, will have dulcimers, guitars, fiddles, banjos and mandolins on hand for kids to play.

In addition, Melissa Dennison of Garden Treasures in Clem will help kids make holiday cards to send to friends and family using stencils, markers, paper, foil and rubber stamps. Sue Cosgrove of LeeJun Farm will show kids the ancient folk art of wheat weaving. Nell Griffin, a quilter from South Charleston, will teach children the art of quilt design and color mixing by weaving fabric strips together to make a quilt block. Griffin also will have stenciled fabric blocks available for children to color which she will make into a quilt and donate to the YWCA’s Sojourner’s Shelter during the holiday season. Children will be able to decorate gift bags to carry their creations and take them all home. Wrapping up the kids’ activities, Children’s Theatre of Charleston will present the one-act holiday play “An Implausible Claus” by Nikki Harmon at 4:30 p.m. In the play, a young girl visits the Ho Ho Hotline, which has been installed at a retirement home, and finds Santa Lefkowitz, a Jewish resident at the home, rekindling his lost imagination. A unique humor soon bridges their 80-year gap. The play was the winner of the 1990 Little Theatre of Alexandria National Play competition and the Alexandria Virginia Times calls it “a captivating little jewel of a play.”

All children must be accompanied by an adult. Because of the nature of the activities, children should wear play clothes.

Visitors are also encouraged to visit the exhibits on display at the Cultural Center. First Ladies of West Virginia, located in the South Wing of the Balcony Gallery, examines the evolving role of West Virginia’s first ladies and features the ceramic doll collection created by Edna Henderson. The exhibit also includes photos of most of the first ladies, fine china and silver used in the Governor’s Mansion and elegant dresses worn by some of the women. In the North Wing of the Balcony Gallery is the Methods of Communication exhibit. The show displays items from the West Virginia State Museum, including telephones, phonographs, photographs, televisions and more. The Balcony Gallery also has the newest installation, Jude Binder: Moving Wood. This exhibit features art by Binder, an artist from Calhoun County, and includes wood sculptures, masks, pen and ink drawings and woodcuts.

The Art Gallery on the first floor has Treasures Found! Appalachian Portraits by Connie West. West, who died in 1990, taught art, painted and founded with her husband, Don, the Appalachian South Folklife Center near Pipestem. The center was “a progressive, nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to a mountain heritage of freedom and self-reliance.”

Visitors can also see the holiday decorations, including trees, wreaths, snowmen and Santa Claus.

For more information about the free holiday craft activities for kids, call (304) 558-0162.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Department of Arts, Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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