CREATE Community Studios is taking the telethon model to a new level.
From 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, through 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27, they’ll host virtual art workshops as well as live music and open-mic style performances. It’s all part of CREATE-a-thon, a fundraiser supporting CREATE.
The non-profit has studio locations in Schenectady and Saratoga Springs and provides a space for people to create art as a means of self-expression. Beyond hosting regular art workshops and classes, throughout the pandemic, CREATE has donated more than 175 art kits and 270 bags of sidewalk chalk to community organizations to help combat isolation.
When it came time to host their annual fundraiser, they wanted to host something collaborative.
Before the pandemic last year, they hosted a CREATE ’n’ Take, where attendees made art with local artists.
“It was really successful and everyone who attended really loved it. We were trying to brainstorm on how could we move that to a more virtual platform,” said Heather Hutchison, the executive director. “We like our fundraisers to be interactive and showcase what we do, so this was our solution.”
The CREATE-a-thon schedule is packed, with workshops ranging from paint-pouring demos to visual journaling to abstract watercolor techniques. There’s also a Bob Ross Paint-a-long that’s already proved to be a popular attraction.
The workshops will take place over Zoom for a fee and will be streamed for free on Facebook and YouTube LIVE. As far as art supplies go, CREATE has art kits with the materials needed for each workshop available for purchase. Orders for the kits must be placed by 5 p.m. Monday and picked up from CREATE later in the week.
Even those who don’t order a kit can still participate and the materials needed for each session will be listed.
“I think one of the reasons we decided to stream the whole thing live too was that our whole mission is about accessibility to art and if we’re streaming it live it makes it accessible to more people. So even those who may not be able to normally pay to attend something can still do stuff at home,” Hutchison said.
Beyond the art workshops, there’ll be plenty of performances as well. Pete Donnelly, a Saratoga musician and founding member of the Figgs, will perform a solo show via Facebook and YouTube at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. Then, at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, duo Matt and Megan Duologues will perform.
CREATE-a-thon will close out with two open mics. The first kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday and will feature poetry and spoken word performances from local veterans involved in the group Arts4Vets.
Following that, All Write Together, a group including local students and graduates, will perform.
Donations from CREATE-a-thon support CREATE’s programming. It also goes toward supplying art kits to community partners like CAPTAIN Human Services and Schenectady City School District students, among others.
To participate in the Zoom workshops and for the art kits, the fees are as follows: $10 per workshop (kit not included), $40 for an all-inclusive art kit and participation in one live Zoom session, $60 for an all-inclusive art kit and three Zoom sessions. To register, visit: createcommunitystudios.org/events/create-a-thon/.