Arts and crafts center encourages creativity

  • Published
  • By Rebecca Stryker
  • CSC marketing specialist
Keesler's arts and crafts center is a wonderful resource to excite and inspire creativity, whether you're a novice or an advanced craftsman.

The center, located north of the Meadows Drive tennis courts, is a fun and comfortable place to explore your creativity this fall with hands-on classes and workshops. It's open to anyone with a Department of Defense identification card.

"We try to have a little bit of everything to accommodate everyone," said new arts and crafts director Debra Pearson, 81st Force Support Squadron. "I'm very proud of what we have -- our team is dedicated, knowledgeable and friendly. Our center connects the community to the joy of creating, educating and experiencing the arts."

The center houses four departments: a large, well-equipped wood shop; framing and engraving shops; a multipurpose area and gift shop stocked with one-of-a-kind items.Additionally, the center offers a variety of classes and services for people of all ages in one location.

Holiday classes include basic painting strokes, tips and techniques of the flat brush, ladies night, penguin decorating and a Keesler favorite, Cocktails and Canvas. In addition to craft classes, private painting parties, team-building sessions, birthday celebrations and squadron functions are offered.

In addition to classes, you can make gift-giving special this holiday season by creating your own custommade gifts. The wood shop offers a woodworking safety class and can assist patrons with making furniture, toys, ornaments and more.

The frame shop provides custom framing on everything from photos and athletic jerseys to commemorative military items. You can take a framing class or have one of the center's custom framers do the work at an affordable price.

The engraving shop has a large selection of plaques, desk sets, shadow boxes, mugs and other items for the perfect personalized gift.

The multicraft shop has plenty of space for individuals or small groups to work on projects, gifts and decorations, as well as a retail store stocked with craft and art kits, supplies, scrapbooking items and more.

The arts and crafts center wants to expand the number of how-to programs offered in the upcoming year.

"Afternoon woodworking projects, hand building with clay, power and hand tool instruction, age-appropriate classes, ceramics and one-time instructional classes are just a few," said Pearson, an arts educator and avid arts promoter.

If you have ideas for a class you'd like to see offered at the center, the arts and crafts staff wants to know.

The center's goal is to keep things exciting with offering new, fun classes.

For a complete listing of classes, fees, PLAYpass-eligible programs and hours of operation, visit