Since 1986, Artspace in downtown Raleigh's City Market has been a home for artists to create and showcase their pieces.
It's also been a great place for families to visit. Here visitors can see a variety of art. There's everything from jewelry, painting and sculptures to textiles, portraits and ceramics. Some pieces are commercial; others are more conceptual. You'll find classic landscapes next to modern sculptures. Admission is free.
And while visitors are walking the halls and popping into the studios, they can watch the artists as they actually paint, sculpt or otherwise create and talk to them about their work.
"It's a great thing to do for all ages," said Mary Poole, the executive director. "It provides a unique opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with live artists and see their work." Destination: Artspace in downtown Raleigh
I've taken my kids here many times. Just across Moore Square from Marbles Kids Museum, Artspace is a great place to start a day downtown or extend it. Over the years, my kids, particularly my older daughter, have even been able to "help" artists, fingering clay for a new pot or painting a stroke on canvas.
With 30 artists studios, along with a rotation of exhibits featuring local and national artists, there's always something new to see.
Artspace also offers a full slate of summer programs for kids. The Summer Arts Program for rising third graders to rising sophomores starts June 17 and is led by artists, often with an education background. Topics include embroidered pillows, pinhole photography, bookmaking and many other subjects.
During the week-long sessions, kids usually work on a big project. At the end of the summer, a Family Fun Day, scheduled this year for Aug. 24, showcases their work and offers other activities. That event is free and open to the public.
A pre-college program is available for rising juniors and seniors who are interested in pursuing art in college.
More than 600 kids take part in Artspace's summer programs. These fill up pretty quickly, but Poole tells me that there are some openings in some of the programs.
"We really pride ourselves on teaching the technique and really wanting the kids to be impressed and amazed by what they create," Poole tells me.
Artspace is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. During First Friday, on the first Friday of the month, it stays open until 10 p.m. and offers special activities or exhibit openings.
There are other special events throughout the year, including 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., May 18, during downtown Raleigh's Artsplosure. Artspace will have make-and-take activities and artist demonstrations inside and outside along the street. Most of the activities will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Artspace also ventured out of downtown Raleigh last month when it opened a pop-up location at North Hills. The space is like a mini-Artspace with artists at work, exhibits, classes and a make-and-take craft that's designed for all ages.
The space is open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday and Friday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, through June 29.
Those classes include three for kids. A Sushi Creations with Felting class is 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, for rising sixth to eighth graders. Kids will make one-of-a-kind sushi rolls out of fiber. The fee is $35 plus a $12 registration fee.
Also scheduled: Still Life Painting for rising third to fifth graders on June 1 and Encaustic with Mixed Media and Collage on June 8.
Registration is required. Click here for details and to sign up.
Artspace will be with Go Ask Mom at our event at North Hills, which is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, in the commons area next to Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's. They'll offer a fun craft for kids from 10 a.m. to noon. Kids can make heart-shaped bookmarks. I'm excited to have them on board for all of the fun!