One of the unheralded advantages of living in the Tri-Cities area is that there are wonderful opportunities to celebrate art culture and to be apart of a creative learning community close to home with an abundance of hands-on experiences.

Unfortunately, time is running out this year with only a couple opportunities to take a class before 2020, but there’s also a great gift idea for those looking to scratch their creative itch early in January as well as gift ideas for those really-hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list.

Plus, the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles and Water Street Studios in Batavia offer a wide-array of art and artisan skills classes throughout the year so that interested folks can find something that fits into their own busy schedules.

There’s the Coaster Pouring Workshop on Dec. 8 at Water Street Studios for those 14 and older. You’ll learn to dilute acrylic paint so all the work happens in the mixing, pouring and tilting. Participants will create a set of four coasters and the instructor will seal them with polyurethane and cork to the backs making them a unique, handmade gift idea or something to keep yourself. $35 members/$40 non-members.

Water Street Studios also is offering a Watercolor Painting: Intro Workshop on Dec.7. This gives beginners a cool opportunity to try watercolors while creating a small, finished painting in just one session. The best parts? No experience is necessary, all supplies are provided, it’s fun and you’ll walk out with a finished painting. $41 members/$48 non-members.

Many creative folks seem to put off trying something new time and time again. Don’t put it off in 2020,especially since the Fine Line Creative Arts Center is once again offering its Exploration Day on Jan. 11.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to come out and for $70 you get little tasters of what we offer,” says Eileen Collins, executive coordinator for the Fine Line Creative Arts Center. “You get to try three or four classes including blacksmithing if the weather allows.”

Fine Line provides all the materials as well as lunch while offering hand building ceramics, Thermofax screen printing, blacksmithing, felting, chain maille, weaving on the floor looms, cuff bracelet, photography, glass bead making and glass blowing opportunities during Exploration Day.

The Fine Line Creative Arts Center will also have plenty of great items to purchase during its 32ndannual Artisan Gift Sale, Dec. 6-14.

In addition to many one-of-a-kind handcrafted gift items, you will also find more traditional choices, including jewelry, pottery, hand woven scarves, decorations and more.

Water Street Studios is collaborating with Artisan Collective Batavia and Batavia Main Street for a three-day art and fine craft sale that its calling Winterfest Art Market the weekend of Dec. 13-15. The event affords visitors with a unique shopping experience as well as open artist studios, cash bar, food and more.

Looking ahead, there are many workshops and classes to check out in 2020 by visiting Water Studio Studios and Fine Line Creative Arts Center websites.

Metal clay appears to be extremely popular as Intro to Metal Clay and Metal Clay Insects and Butterflies classes in Novembers at Fine Line both sold out.

In the intro class, participants create original jewelry using metal clay, the pieces are fired during a lunch break and then polished afterward so attendees are able to go home wearing their own silver creation. How cool is that?

Fine Line offers a wide-range of classes and workshops in two-dimensional, three-dimensional , ceramics and textiles.

“People like being able to create something themselves right here,” Collins said. “And we’re right on their door step close to home, although we have people who come from out of state to take our classes and workshops. But it’s really great for the local people because we’re right here and open year-round.”

Water Street Studios provides art classes, exhibitions, artists studios, events, outreach and more. The studio offers classes in ceramics, colored pencils, digital, drawing, glass, metal, painting and more.

There’s also curriculum more geared for the kids with comic drawing, ceramics for young artists, cuckoo for clay, paint your pet and studio art for kids.

While Water Street Studios hasn’t released its scheduled for 2020, its website should be updated soon. It’s paint your pet one-day workshop has been well received. It allows those eight years of age or older to be guided through the sketching of their pet on canvas and then painting the features using acrylic paint while receiving professional direction. In just two hours, artists like you will leave with a painting of your beloved pet. And it’s something you can frame and hang in your home without ever having to worry about taking it out for a potty walk.