A reception was held for budding young artists and their families to celebrate the culmination of their artistic endeavors at the Alexandria Memorial Library Saturday afternoon.

About 12 middle school students from Huntingdon Area Middle School and Juniata Valley High School participated in a six-week art instruction series at the library under the guidance of three local artists, Don Dietz, Jodi Peachey and Cathy Lane.

This was possible, thanks to a $700 Community Grant from Standing Stone Coffee Co.

Jill McDonald, librarian at the Alexandria Memorial Library, explained how this went from a simple idea to execution.

“We were looking for ways to get that age group into the library,” she said. “We wanted them to pursue something they were interested in and find ways to use the space.”

So, beginning in February, the students met Thursday evenings while the three local artists taught students everything from how to draw a person to more abstract art.

McDonald also talked about how art became the focus of finding programming to draw middle-school students into the library.

“We’re always looking for ideas, and our instructors were willing to help in anyway they could,” she said, noting that all of the instructors volunteer their time with the library in many capacities, including serving as board members at the library.

Because of this endeavor, McDonald said this opens up the possibility of more programming for all ages at the library.

“It’s opened up a conversation with our patrons who have expressed interest in art,” she said. “Whether it’s providing studio space for adults to come together just like we do for the knitting group, or hosting an event like a paint night. This has opened doors for possibilities for all ages at the library.

“We were able to draw from the people and talents we have (at the library),” added McDonald. “But, we always have to be mindful of what we can do in the space we have (at the library).”

McDonald is not only grateful to the families that allowed their children to spend their Thursdays at the library, but she’s grateful to the three instructors for their help.

“This was a great group, and I hope to do more in the future with older and younger groups,” she said. “I’m also grateful for the instructors for their giving their time to help.”

For those who wish to see some of the work done by students in the series, it will be on display at Standing Stone Coffee Co. during the month of May.

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.

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