Rock the Arts will light up downtown Rock Island during a December art stroll happening at the Desoto building, The ARTery/MidCoast Gallery West and Quad City Arts. The three art sites will be open on Friday, December 7 during 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, December 8, from noon to 3 p.m. At Desoto, there will be demonstrations on woodworking by the Quad City Woodturners, outdoor raku firing with Joel Knanishu and intricate collage with Amber Williams. The Desoto studio will have a table where children can experiment with clay. 

New for this event will be the collage demonstration by Amber Williams. She uses papers from envelopes that are almost magically transformed into vibrant landscape images. Local children’s book author and illustrator, Donna Beserra, is a new participant this year. She created the character Twirly Shirley, a little girl whose braided hair spins when she is nervous or excited. The Twirly Shirley book series attempts to help children deal with their emotions. Beserra has several book series that will be available.

At Gallery West, Celestial by Design body painter Kimberly Milller will be at work. More artists will be present to show their unique works of art that make affordable one-of-a-kind gifts, including painters such as Elizabeth Wakita, ceramics artist Carolyn Krueger, jewelers and more. Members of the Mississippi Valley Wood Carvers will be demonstrating woodcarving on Saturday at Quad City Arts. The evening includes an opening reception at Gallery West for featured artists Jeanne O’Melia (mixed media) and Erica Par¬rott (watercolors). O’Melia served as a beloved children’s educator and founder of Montessori in the Quad Cities.

Quad City Arts will have a Friday reception for Finding Inspiration: From Monet to Matisse, a juried exhibit of works by area artists offered as a companion to French Moderns showing at the Figge Art Museum.

There is no admission charge and visitors for the event may start at any of the three venues: Desoto building (2324 3rd Avenue), The ARTery/Gallery West (1629 2nd Avenue) and Quad City Arts (1715 2nd Avenue).  On Saturday, December 7, audiences can make it a day and also take in OMG Beckyfest at the RiverCenter in Davenport.  For more information, contact Sherry Maurer at 563-424-1210, info@midcoast.org or see https://www.midcoast.org/.

Tess Abney is a writer and artist from the Quad-Cities who enjoys writing on a variety of topics for QuadCities.com.