Center for Arts and Ed allows students to express creative freedom


Caitlin Reynolds

Students Rabeka Rowland and Lexey Brenneman enjoying some of the activities the center has to offer.

The Center for Arts and Education, located in the west wing of Main Hall, is an open resource for students to color and draw. This hands-on learning center has several creative arts supplies available for students to use.

The center operates as a creative library of supplies where students of all majors can seek integrated arts and technology support in their assignments. One of the many features supplied in the center is free printing for all West Liberty students to use.

Lou Karas, director of the Center for Arts and Education, explained that she came to West Liberty in 2011 with a vision for a place where students could go to unleash their creative abilities. After many discussions with funding departments, the Center for Arts and Education opened in January of 2013 as a place for all students to visit and work. Over the years, the center has grown to offer supplies to staff and faculty as well as local schools in the Ohio Valley.

“No matter what your major is, you can still come to the center to create something unique,” said Karas.

Amongst the challenges of COVID-19, Karas mentioned that she loves seeing new faces explore the center because it allows them to develop a relationship with other peers outside the class. “It’s important for students to feel comfortable in the center. Some students will even study at the center rather than doing arts and crafts. It’s a calming environment for students to create things or simply study for an upcoming math quiz,” said Karas.

The possibilities of what you can create with the supplies offered within the center are endless. Karas recalled the coolest art project she has encountered by saying, “One time two students came into the center and made a working guitar out of cardboard and other crafts from inside the center.”

Katie Nelson, a graduate assistant working in the center, helps out by making the students feel safe and showing them what supplies they have to offer. Nelson explained that she chose to work in the center because she has always been inspired by the work created by each individual student. “There is no other place just like the center,” said Nelson.

Karas and Nelson are currently collaborating on a website to use for community classrooms and working on activities such as math games that they can provide inside the center.

The Center for Arts and Education is constantly searching for ways to advertise what they have in store for students and hosted events such as friendship bracelet making and journal decorating during this year’s TopperFest to spread the word. Staff members in the center are planning student events for International Dot Day on Sept. 15, a day celebrated to release creative potential.

The Center for Arts and Education is open on Monday from 8-6 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 8-8 p.m. For any questions about The Center for Arts and Education, please contact Lou Karas at [email protected].