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March 14, 2013

Art Center Puppet Show Friday night

Pella — A special puppet show will be held Friday, March 15, at 6:30 p.m., featuring a guest troop and a group of local children. 

The troop's performance just happened to coincide with the Community Center's class on making puppets. 

"It was just a weird coincidence," Mary Robertson, lead art instructor with the Community Center. Robertson leads and organizes several art classes at the center, aimed for children and adults. For the puppets, and many other art projects, students are given basic supplies and turned loose with them. 

"They come up with these fantastic creations," Robertson said of the children who participate. The students enjoy the artwork and working with other children. Older students often work with the younger ones with projects such as sewing.

The educational value of the Community Center's art classes goes beyond the projects. For instance, Robertson describes it as a form of engineering, when students try to find the correct materials for their projects.

"It worked out really well to help them think like an engineer," Robertson said. Direction received from Robertson and other instructors usually does not go beyond a suggestion for a project. Students take it from there. Even if there is a class of 24 students, there can be 24 different, unique projects being worked on. 

Robertson has been working with the center since 1991. Classes are open to all students, and most of them are $2 per session.

"It's a very economical way to get the arts out to the students," Robertson said. 

Each summer, the center sponsors the Art in the Park program. This is when Robertson takes her show "on the road" and brings materials and equipment to each of the City's parks. Neighborhood children are invited to join her and work on an art project. The first one is scheduled for June 19 at West Market Park. 

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