The Old Hotel Art Gallery in Othello continuing to share arts and crafts

by Casey McCarthy
Staff Writer | March 24, 2020 10:02 PM

OTHELLO — Jenn Stevenson, director at the Old Hotel Art Gallery in Othello, was looking for ways to continue to contribute to the local community after the gallery temporarily closed its doors last week.

She began crafting ideas after hearing that her four children would be continuing school from home. The gallery director said she started seeing how other businesses and organizations were handling the closures by posting and sharing on the web.

No longer able to offer the arts and crafts classes at the Old Hotel Art Gallery for children or adults, Stevenson said she emailed all of the art teachers at the seven campuses in the Othello School District last Monday morning, detailing her plan to share arts and crafts videos on the Old Hotel Art Gallery’s Facebook page.

“What could we still be doing to contribute to our community?” Stevenson asked. “This would be a great thing to do, this would be a fun thing to do with my daughter, who’s 10 and a fourth-grader.”

Now she and her children have something fun to do three times a week, getting out of the house while maintaining social distancing.

Emma Stevenson, 10, has been her mother’s arts and crafts video partner since beginning the posts last week. Jenn said her 13-year-old son Jacob has helped with the last two videos, while Noah, 16, operates the camera.

Jenn Stevenson said her youngest daughter, Emma, is the most interested in art right now, spending a lot of her time with art projects. Knowing there are plenty of children like her daughter who might be missing out these days also pushed Stevenson to start the videos as well.

She said most of the projects are geared toward children but added that she doesn’t put an age range on her projects.

“I’ve learned not to say this is geared towards this age,” Stevenson said, “because if it’s something they’re interested in, they’ll make it work for them.”

As director of a nonprofit organization for five years, Stevenson said she has felt that if an organization is not contributing to the community, then that organization is taking from it.

“That’s not a productive part of society and our community,” Stevenson said. “We need to be contributing just as much we’re receiving. Being a nonprofit, so much of what we do is based on generous donations and support of our local community.”

Stevenson said she knows the closures will be a big blow financially to the gallery, already having been greatly affected by the cancellation of the 2020 Sandhill Crane Festival. Right now, she said she’s just trying to focus on things she can do to continue to provide a positive impact.