The Center for Rural Development is hosting a catered artist reception on Oct. 24 to showcase a new art exhibit by St. Patrick Preschool Program.

The exhibit, now on display, features a collection of art work created by more than 40 students in the 2018-19 preschool program enrolled in the AM and PM classes through an arts education project funded by the Cornelia Dozier Cooper Endowment Fund.

During the project, students learned about quilting, pottery, weaving, and painting from some of the area's top artists and put their skills to work creating original pieces of art from these different mediums.

The community is invited to meet the young artists and view their work at an artist reception, catered by Karen's Catering, on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. in the front lobby at The Center for Rural Development.

"We are excited to host the St. Patrick Preschool Art Exhibit and showcase the original art work by this talented group of young artists," said Laura Glover, Director of Marketing and Events. "This is one of our most unique art exhibits, because it showcases the importance of arts in the classroom and what children are able to accomplish at a young age."

Several of the pottery pieces made by St. Patrick students will be on display at the artist reception, which is free and open to the general public.

Artists working with preschoolers on this project and pieces created for the exhibit were Tara Helser, pottery; Carrie Altmaier, quilting; and Candace Mullins, weaving.

The art exhibit is located in the hallway outside the North and South Exhibit Halls.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during extended evening and weekend hours when The Center is open for scheduled public events.

The art exhibit will be on display through Dec. 31.

St. Patrick Preschool opened its doors in the mid-1970s when a group of young mothers got together and decided to do a Mom's Day Out. The mothers took turns staying at the Parish House of St. Patrick Episcopal Church caring for each other's children while other mothers could have some time to do what they needed to do. As time passed, these mothers decided to incorporate some preschool activities, so the time together was not just random, but had some direction. It didn't take long before these mothers decided it was time to actually hire a teacher and open the program up to the general public with a small tuition attached.

In the early 1980s, the preschool went from Somerset Preschool to St. Patrick Preschool and became an outreach of St. Patrick Episcopal Church. It was at this time that they went through the process of licensing through the Division of Regulated Childcare.

In 2001, St. Patrick Preschool became an accredited program through the National Association for the Education of Young Children and became one of the few 4 STAR programs in the area.

Throughout the years, St. Patrick Preschool has offered a diverse setting of education through play along with a wide range of art and music programming. The program is offered from September through May with two sessions, morning and afternoon, Monday through Thursday.

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