Saturday’s rain might have prevented the Lawrence Arts Center from having the block party its staff envisioned, but it didn’t stop the community from having a good time.
With bands blaring, children getting their hands dirty crafting clay sculptures, ribbons swirling in the air and people dancing in the lobby, the mood was a festive one inside the center for the hundreds who attended.
To celebrate the center’s 35th anniversary, the staff had intended to close off the 900 block of New Hampshire and throw a “Street P’Arty.”
Those plans were dampened by Saturday morning’s downpour, but the celebrations weren’t.
“It’s a great party no matter rain or shine,” said Ric Averill, the drama program director at the arts center who was wearing what he called “silly clown pants” and carrying a stick with ribbons tied to the end.
“I brought my umbrella, but my umbrella isn’t working too well today,” he said, holding up the stick.
Activities gave the community a taste for printmaking, dancing, painting and pottery. The celebration represented the different activities the arts center offers.
“You could do things here from about the age of 3 to about the age of 103. And we won’t kick out any 104-year-olds either,” Averill said.
Nine-year-olds Aoife Trotter and Jodi Gore both come to the arts center frequently for ballet class.
But on Saturday, they spent the afternoon crafting sculptures.
Aoife had etched ancient hieroglyph-like turtles into a piece of clay, and Jodi had molded a pig with a massive nose.
Jodi’s mom, Shannon Criss, said they love coming to the arts center.
“I like that the kids are able to grow up in a community that supports such a great center,” Criss said.
Troy Johnson, who brought his two daughters and one of their friends, had similar sentiments.
His family comes to the arts center for dance classes, preschool art classes and performances.
“There’s a lot of opportunities here to try new things, and we want to be a part of it,” he said.