Arts cen­ter hosts ‘Win­ter Warm Up’ day

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Tyler Rigg [email protected]­

Com­mu­nity mem­bers gath­ered to­gether at Fair­mount Cen­ter for the Arts on a brisk Jan­uary day to share the warm in­doors and en­gage in arts and crafts, cre­ative move­ment, mu­sic, dance, story time and more.

The Fair­mount Cen­ter for the Arts, be­tween Ch­ester­land and Novelty, hosted their first “Win­ter Warm Up” day on Jan. 12 with ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren and fam­i­lies to en­joy in the heart of win­ter. The events, which were free and open to the com­mu­nity, were fo­cused on all as­pects of art in­clud­ing mu­sic, chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture, dance and paint­ing.

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Jean­nie Flem­ing-Gif­ford high­lighted that Fair­mount has a sense of com­mu­nity, af­ter hap­pily greet­ing a for­mer dance

teacher she hadn’t seen in sev­eral years.

“That’s what this place is,” she said. “It’s the mom and pop shop. It’s a com­mu­nity cen­ter, it’s a place where peo­ple gather who are pas­sion­ate about the arts and that’s what you see here. You see these friends...”

There were “mini” ac­tiv­i­ties on all three floors of the cen­ter from 10 a.m. to noon, with mini yoga and cre­ative move­ment classes, dance classes, theater classes, wa­ter­color paint­ing and story telling.

Tanya Bir­man of Ch­ester­land at­tended the event with her 5-year-old son as he took part in the wa­ter­color paint­ing. She said that the ac­tiv­i­ties at Fair­mount could give her kids some­thing to do in­stead of stay­ing in­side the house when its cold. She was also con­sid­er­ing sign­ing them up for mu­sic les­sons at Fair­mount.

For some, like Jack­lyn Czekaj and her son and daugh­ter, Wil­liam and Is­abel, the “Win­ter Warm Up” was their first time ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the Fair­mount Cen­ter for the Arts.

Flem­ing-Gif­ford men­tioned that the event was a way for Fair­mount to cel­e­brate the arts and en­cour­age peo­ple to be more in­volved in the com­mu­nity.

“We (fac­ulty) were think­ing it would be a re­ally fun day to show­case some of the things we do, let peo­ple come into the fa­cil­ity, just have some hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties, of course, some re­fresh­ments too,” Flem­ing-Gif­ford said. “And so it re­ally was a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort, which is re­ally most of the work that we do. It’s bring­ing peo­ple to­gether, tak­ing ev­ery­body’s ideas and say­ing ‘let’s cre­ate some­thing that will def­i­nitely serve the com­mu­nity and sup­port our mis­sion of fos­ter­ing a love for the arts’.”

Mary Jo Dean, youth ser­vices as­sis­tant at the Geauga West Branch of the Geauga County Pub­lic Li­brary, read sev­eral sto­ries to kids and fam­i­lies through­out the event, pick­ing from her bas­ket of books. She said that there has been and will be col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the li­brary and Fair­mount.

“We’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to be do­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Fair­mount up in the be­gin­ning of March,” Dean said. “They are go­ing to bring some of their arts (to the li­brary) and we’ll be read­ing the story, they’ll be act­ing it out.” Con­cern­ing the “Win­ter Warm Up”, she added, “It’s a part­ner­ship out­reach for us.”

Flem­ing-Gif­ford also men­tioned an up­com­ing Early Child­hood Work­shop in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Geauga West Branch li­brary, with help from a grant from the Ohio Arts Coun­cil.

“Be­cause they’re (li­brary) used to do­ing story times, etc., what we’re bring­ing is the arts con­nec­tion and arts in­tro­duc­tion,” she said. “It’s go­ing to be free and there are go­ing to be four of them, thanks to the Ohio Arts Coun­cil.”

The win­ter/spring pro­gram ses­sion at Fair­mount Cen­ter for the Arts be­gins Jan. 14. Some pro­grams in­clude a youth pro­duc­tion of “Into the Woods Jr.”, speaker events in­clud­ing one on the art of Dr. Suess, as well as mu­sic and dance recitals.


Mary Jo Dean, youth ser­vices as­sis­tant at Geauga County Pub­lic Li­brary reads a pic­ture book to an at­ten­tive group of kids.


Wil­liam, 3, and Is­abel, 5, Czekaj work hard on their wa­ter­color art at the ‘Win­ter Warm Up’ day in Fair­mount Cen­ter for the Arts.

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