Arty Parties?!

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In this edition of our #PACfeature I’m Interviewing Jessie Siefert, the Art Center's managing director, about Arty Parties in the Art Factory at the Art Center!


Tell us a little about yourself and your history at the Art Center and your new position....

I started teaching Mini-Monet Class at the Art Center in January of 2006.  In September of 2006 Marcia Ritchie and I started the ArtStart Preschool Program at the request of many of the Mini-Monet parents.  My role at the Art Center has grown over the years, going from teaching preschool and a class or two to managing Camp Creativity then becoming the Education Director.  In July of 2018 I stepped into the Managing Director role, though I still run the Education programs.  I love being a part of the Art Center.

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 What are Arty Parties? 

These are free Saturday morning art and play events for the whole family.  Creative activities vary from week to week and are geared towards kids between the ages of 4 to 12.  Parents stay and play with art materials right alongside their children. 

 When did the Art Center start hosting them?

We started hosting Arty Parties about ten years ago.  We just did a few during the winter months and worked hard to find sponsors for each week.  As the interest in the programs grew, Abby Hayhurst was able to attain some grant funding for the program and we expanded the program. We now start hosting Arty Parties on the first Saturday in the new year through the middle of March.  Hopefully then it is time for families to be able to get back outside on the weekends:)

 How do you come up with the ideas of what you'll do each week? 

I scour Pinterest and art teacher magazines for ideas.  I also take a look at donated art materials.  These donated items sometimes spur the most creative projects.  We try to vary between crafty things and very open free-art opportunities. 

 How are you able to provide the materials and staff? 

For the past few years our Arty Party series has been funded by the Virginia L. Neptune Foundation.  These funds allow us to pay our staff and buy most of our art materials.  We also rely on donations from the public.  This year we have had more people than ever showing up on Saturday mornings!  This is great but supply costs are also higher.  Every dollar helps to ensure that we have enough materials for everyone.

 What kind of feedback have you received from the community?  

Feedback has been very positive.  This is something, low-cost, creative and fun that a whole family can do together.  During the winter, weather prevents families from getting outside as much as they may wish.  Arty Parties are warm and cozy:)

 What can we look forward to at the Art Center in the coming months?

We have a roster of new art classes for kids and for adults!  Art-O-Rama is coming up on March 16.  This is our Arty Party BLOWOUT!  Art-O-Rama is also our kick-off for Camp Creativity registration.


Lyndsay Dennis
Events & Membership Coordinator
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