Participants of all ages create and craft at Community Art Day.

Artspace Provides a Creative Place for All Ages with Community Art Day

Artspace – a nonprofit, member-run art gallery in Richmond – considers itself the community gallery. It works to expose members of the community to visual arts and its benefits through free programming.  

One example: The gallery hosts Community Art Day, a family-friendly, free art workshop that aligns with its current exhibition. The event aims to bring awareness and show people how fun and beneficial art can be for one’s mental health. Celebrating a year since its inception in February 2023, Community Art Day occurs on the first Saturday of most months and is open to all ages, encouraging ages 6 to 106 to participate.  

Community Art Day isn’t just an art class; it’s a place to get creative.  

“It’s more of ‘here’s some materials, let the art inspire you,’” said Susan Cary, co-vice president and chair of the programming and partnerships committee at Artspace.  

Books to celebrate love 

Susan Cary poses with a love book at Community Art Day on Feb. 3.

Artspace hosted the latest Community Art Day on Feb. 3, which included creating art books around the theme of love – inspired by the current exhibitionist Aimee Joyaux, a printmaker who also makes books. 

People of all ages sat at tables together and got creative. Participants folded colorful papers into a book and collaged heart cutouts, drew pictures with crayons and markers and wrote sentiments around the theme of love on its pages. Conversation filled the air as people talked with friends and family and made new connections. Colorful, mixed-media artwork filled the walls surrounding participants as they created.  

Attendees Rose Bono and Adam Wall sat together and chatted as they created their love books.  

Bono came across the event on Google and invited Wall to join her – it was their first time at Artspace and its Community Art Day. 

“It’s nice to have someplace to go that isn’t a store or work,” Bono said. “I like having a public space that is just accessible.” 

A place for everyone 

When Wall returned to working as an elementary school teacher after time away, he observed that children have designated spaces and times when they’re encouraged to be artistic. But once you get past early middle school, that space dries up.  

“People who want to do creative, artistic things find spaces to do that, but there is not this carte blanche of time and space for artistic expression,” Wall said. “This is a place where people can express themselves in a way they haven’t been able to or maybe don’t get to do often enough.”  

Looking to the future of Artspace, Cary hopes that exhibiting artists continue to get more involved, providing workshops for the community and explaining their craft. 

“The goal is for more of the community to come in and see these exhibiting artists,” Cary said. “And if we’re doing that, and creating somebody wanting to see more art in their lives, then I feel like we’re being successful.” 

Learn more about Community Art Days and how to participate in Artspace events here. 

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