New arts center putting early focus on family fun

INDEPENDENCE — The Ash Creek Arts Center, at the old Independence library building, was abuzz with activity on Saturday afternoon.   Children and parents alike busily cut paper, cloth and whatever else they could find, gluing it altogether to create a collage.   About 45 people crowded into the building for the free family art on Saturday.   "We're trying to tie in art projects to artists and their work, so they (participants) get some history," Mary Harden, a class organizer, said.   Rebecca McCannel, assistant for the day, helped children and their parents choose materials ranging from newspaper to construction paper to cloth.   Francie Zandol helped Angus Aldrich, 4, choose his materials and use his scissors. This was Angus' second visit to the family art classes. He said last time he made a paper spiral as part of a three-dimensional piece of art.   Pat Aldrich, Angus' dad, enjoyed the afternoon helping his son focus as much as possible.   "I enjoy being with my son and watching him create," Aldrich said.   Zandol has created art workshops for kids at Independence Elementary School.   "We're all volunteers for Saturday art, because we all believe in it," she said.   Kaytie Alexander, 3, worked on a project at a table with her parents and two siblings, Maddy, 7 and Trevor, 5. She liked the brightly colored pens, while Trevor enjoyed gluing the cutouts on his collage, illustrating a boat, waves and wind.   This series will continue for three more weeks, but the family art won't stop there. Someone else will take over and plan curriculum for future classes.   Children used artist Robert Rauschenberg for inspiration to make collage portraits, which will be hung in windows of businesses in downtown Independence on Valentine's Day.   An art walk is scheduled for Feb. 15 so the community may enjoy the artwork.   You Can Help   • The Ash Creek Arts Center is looking for more instructors to help with classes. The group also accepts donations of art supplies of all kinds. For more information: Margaret at 503-808-0026 or via email at


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