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Museum upgrades art studio thanks to community partners

WESTFIELD-The Amelia Park Children’s Museum has an upgraded art studio, thanks to the generosity of several community partners, according to Museum Executive Director Ray Radigan.

“The museum’s educational mission is supported by three pillars – STEM, literacy, and arts,” said Radigan. “Despite the eight-month building closure in 2020, APCM’s staff and board of directors maintained a focus on fulfilling the museum’s mission. Thanks to the generous support of our community partners, we were able to move forward with our upgrade of the art studio in 2020.”

Radigan said that Columbia Manufacturing Inc. donated eight child-size tables and 16 chairs for the art studio which is located in the multipurpose room.

Amelia Park Children’s Museum education manager Bridget Leahy introduces a project to museum members Heather Smith and Colin Smith, age 2, in the upgraded Art Studio space. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

“This high quality furniture replaced the old, adult size folding tables and chairs that had been in the space previously,” said Radigan. “Shurtleff Children’s Services Inc. and the Westfield Cultural Council both provided funding for the project.”

Radigan added the significant changes to the existing 500-square-foot space also includes aesthetic upgrades and new signage.

“In addition to the physical upgrades, funding was put towards high quality art supplies for facilitated art programs as well as unstructured creative art exploration with peers and caregivers,” he said.

Some of the features of the art studio include new supplies and a chalkboard wall.

“We’ve used some of the funding to purchase high quality paper, markers, watercolor paint, and ink pads,” said Radigan. “We have also added some new supplies for select activities including Sculpey – an oven-based clay.”

Additionally, education manager Bridget Leahy has developed new art programming which connects to museum-wide monthly themes. The theme in March will be “Wildlife of Westfield.”

Radigan explained that arts education is “crucial” for children to experience.

“In addition to creating and constructing, artistic expression offers an opportunity for children to express thoughts and emotions they may not be able to verbalize,” said Radigan. “The Art Studio provides a welcoming space for this creative exploration and social-emotional development.”

Since the new art studio space opened in January, Radigan said he has seen children and caregivers “engaging actively” in creating, exploring, and making art.

The I Heart Art program is conducted on Thursdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. To sign up for a play session and to see the full activity calendar, visit ameliaparkmuseum.org. The museum is located at 29 South Broad St.

“This year APCM is planning a significant upgrade to the STEM exhibit and is seeking funding for upgrades to the literacy learning exhibit and program,” said Radigan. 

Radigan noted that the goal is to raise $6,500.

“We are seeking support from several granting organizations,” he said, adding, “This will allow us to make significant upgrades to our existing ‘Story Corner,’ install a free picture-book exchange for community members, add age appropriate social-emotional learning books to our library, and redevelop our ongoing literacy learning activities.”

For more information on discussing sponsorships and in-kind donations, call (413) 572-4014 or send an email to [email protected]

“Anyone is welcome to support our work with children and caregivers by donating through the link on our website,” he said.

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