A local non-profit is making space for the art community.
When Jillian Kelly had to move her small business, Retro-tique, to a neighboring storefront three years ago, she was struck with a wonderful idea, one that was years in the making. A fanciful notion of a space for monthly get-togethers of artists in the community—a place for people to hang out, bring things they’re working on, and tackle creative projects together—suddenly seemed possible.
Most Morgantown artists and performers know that there aren’t many affordable options for creating and growing their skills in town. “When people graduate from the university, they lose access to a lot of resources,” Kelly says. When they try to find those resources in the community, it can become a struggle, and that passion can be lost. The art community needed another option. So, Morgantown Art Party—a co-op–style creative group and event space—was born with the goal of helping artists succeed and thrive.
And by “space,” they mean a lot of it. With private and public options for bands and musicians to practice and perform, niches for creative projects of all types, and enough sitting room for a spirited writing workshop that finally helps you patch up that plot hole in chapter nine, Morgantown Art Party is giving the art community something that can be hard to come by. Tools and supplies are available for use as well for anyone who may need them. You can even book the space for your own fundraiser or event with the freedom to make it your own.
One upcoming event, the Betty White Birthday Brunch, is a celebration of Betty White’s life in conjunction with the Morgantown Art Bar. With food, fun, and a mini pop-up gift shop, it’s sure to be a “golden” time. And since it’s not an “Art Party” without giving back, all proceeds will be donated to the local animal shelter Pet Helpers in Betty’s honor.
The Art Party is owned and operated by Kelly and her friend Blake Campbell, both of whom volunteer their time on top of their own day-to-day responsibilities. “I truly believe this is what I am supposed to be doing,” she says. “There’s so much talent in our town in art and music. We accomplish great things together.” When performances have done their encores and fundraisers have exceeded their goals, Kelly gets to watch people realize what they are capable of, what they have inside of them, and she loves to see it.
The space is free to use, meaning Morgantown Art Party is completely non-profit—it relies on donations and support to stay running. Visit the organization’s Facebook page to book the space, check out the calendar of events—there are many!—or make a donation.