Art project

A screenshot shows a project offered by That Art Place in Belton.

While the current shelter-in-place order is keeping most families at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, That Art Place in Belton is keeping creativity alive by offering art to-go and issuing a free coloring book contest for kids.

The coloring contest was posted on Facebook on March 20, and was open to artists younger than 18 from anywhere in the world. The top drawings will be included in a free downloadable coloring book that will be available from thatartplacestudio.com.

The drawing prompt for the coloring book contest is “Something That Makes Me Smile.”

“The goal of that contest is just to give kids something fun and productive to do at home,” said owner, Michelle Weaver. “And then if they have their drawing entered into our digital coloring book, we’re going to put it up on our website and then they’ll have a chance to go on there, download it, print it out and have something fun to do at home.”

She said they have already received quite a few submissions – most of them local and one from Mbale, Uganda. She said she’s hoping to get even more entries.

“My main goal of course is to keep my employees working and our customers happy and to give them something to do at home, so we’re doing our to-go art kits,” Weaver added.

She said they started out by offering pottery and canvas to-go, and added board art to-go on Tuesday. The kits can be purchased online and picked up curbside and contact-free at the studio, located at 108 Lake Road in Belton. Local delivery is also available for an additional cost.

The kits come with instructions and all the supplies and paint needed to complete each project. Weaver said customers are able to leave comments with special requests or color preferences.

“So we pack up exactly what they ask for,” she said.

The studio is selling watercolor kits to accompany the canvases, and customers can chose their colors for board art and pottery.

“So that’s been really fun and we’ve had good response from our customers with that, and it keeps our employees working and things moving even though we can’t be open to the public,” Weaver said.

There are two tables outside the studio: one for pickup and one for dropping off painted pottery to be fired.

“So the pottery is the only thing that needs to come back to the studio,” she said. “They keep everything else. But when they’re done they just wrap it back up, put it on that table outside and then we process it from there. And then we call them again for pick-up when it’s completely finished.”

She said the turnaround time is around two weeks, which is only slightly longer than it usually takes.

Weaver said she talked to both the Belton Mayor and Bell County Judge’s offices to get approval to continue working with online orders, and she has just a few employees at a time working to assemble the to-go-kits and run the kilns.

She said this is a unique and difficult time for a lot of people for different reasons, but she wants the studio to be a positive influence and give kids and families a creative outlet.     

“It’s what we normally do, but just in a different way,” Weaver said. “We’re trying to adapt to the changing times and still provide the same service the community; it’s just kind of in a different structure than we’ve done before.”