The same goes for the Cheaha Creative Arts. Children who want to learn can do it for free, no questions asked.
The goal of the arts organization is to make the arts more readily available and accessible to all of Calhoun County. It has a special interest in offering more art experience to children and adolescents who do not currently have art in schools and who have difficulty finding or paying for private art lessons, according to its members.
The organization also wishes to offer art lessons to adults who would pay membership and workshop fees that would help support the movement. By "arts," the group specifically means visual, performing, fine crafts, literary and other creative activities.
By offering free classes taught by local experts, the community can come together with a singular purpose in mind — they can all agree on the arts. In CCA's eyes, the community can gather under a metaphorical umbrella and unite for the greater good.
Betty Mills joined the organization during its inception about two years ago. Early on, the organizers invited representatives from the various arts organizations to sit in as advisers and consultants. Mills represented East Alabama Arts, which is the organization in charge of ArtWorks gallery on Noble Street in Anniston. Currently, she is a dues-paying member and volunteer visual arts teacher.
She sees the greater good behind the initiative of CCA.
"The first thing that comes to mind is quality of life," she said. "In general, the arts make a community more attractive both literally and in terms of being attractive to business and industry."
She said Calhoun County already has some wonderful arts activities available, but that several are active only occasionally and are not as accessible to the entire community as she'd wish.
"Art turns communities around," said Rose Munford, president of Cheaha Creative Arts.
Munford said she'd like to see Anniston specifically incorporate dance and visual arts into its artistic offerings.
"We don't have a dance studio where kids can learn ballet, modern or jazz," she said.
The long-term goal of CCA is to have a cultural arts center for Anniston and the greater Calhoun County area. Ideally, the center would house arts organizations, studio space for resident arts, gallery space and also CCA studios and classrooms, Mills said. She said the center would be a source of enjoyment and pride for the community.
"Cheaha hopes to create a year-round arts center that will actually benefit the existing organizations while being more hands-on and accessible to the entire community," she said.
The organization is planning an event in which the public can participate in various artistic activities, such as dance, music, visual arts, pottery, sculpting, quilting, storytelling, drama, sewing, woodcarving and many other forms.
The free event will be at Lenlock Community Center on July 25 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Artists specializing in dance, music, visual arts, pottery, sculpting, quilting, storytelling, drama, sewing, woodcarving and many other art forms will have stations where attendees can visit and learn more about the crafts.
The CCA received a $500 grant from former Anniston City Councilman Stan Bennett's discretionary funds last year to purchase supplies and use them in teaching free art classes to the public. This year, the Housing Authority gave a grant to the organization to teach art to Anniston High School students.
With more donations and grant money, the organization could pay rent for a cultural arts center, purchase computers and phones, and hold more public workshops.
Munford said the city government does not have enough funds to provide the organization, so they must bolster memberships and donations to increase their chances of holding more classes and finding a permanent home in the community.
CCA encourages anyone from the Calhoun County area to join the organization. There is an annual $25 membership fee.
If you would like to contact CCA or donate, call Munford at 334-271-7400.
Artists FestivalWhat: Local artists will teach the public about their craft
When: July 25, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Lenlock Community Center, 2 Museum Drive, Anniston
How much: Free