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These local organizations will inspire your creativity

As we start another year and look forward to our annual Art is Ageless® exhibition, now is a perfect time to consider a new creative hobby.

Topeka-area artists age 65 or older are invited to submit work in the categories of Christmas, drawing, fiber arts, mixed media/crafts, needlework, painting, quilting, and sculpture/3D for the 21st annual Art is Ageless exhibition and competition.

You may not consider yourself an artist, but it’s never too late to try a new creative endeavor. Many Art is Ageless entrants did not start their creative practice until they retired.

If you’re not sure where to start, organizations in the Topeka area can be good sources of instruction and inspiration. You never know — if you try something new, you might just win a ribbon in this year’s Art is Ageless competition!

Topeka Public Library

Sure, there are plenty of instructional arts and crafts books, but purchasing all the materials you need can be time consuming and expensive. Plus, what if you decide you don’t love your new hobby after all? That’s where the Topeka Public Library’s arts and crafts kits come in.

“You can learn something new without spending money on a bunch of supplies you might never use again,” said Brea Black, the art librarian who leads the arts and crafts team.

The popular kits include embroidery, spool or loom knitting, rubber stamps, origami, crochet, and counted cross stich.

Patrons with a library card can also watch hundreds of Creativebug video classes taught by artists and designers. Topics include sewing, quilting, crochet, paper, knitting, jewelry and holiday. The tutorials are easy to understand and are broken down into small video segments that guide you through the process step-by-step. Each class includes a detailed list of needed materials and a place to take notes as you go.

Learn more at

Prairie Glass Studio

Learn how to make fused glass art at Topeka’s Prairie Glass Studio — or purchase a finished glass piece in the studio store. Owner Kymm Ledbetter learned the fused glass medium at Washburn University, where she occasionally teaches.

First-time Prairie Glass students can choose from a variety of projects to make, including a picture frame, ornament, wall hanging or piece of jewelry. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of items to inspire you in the shop.

Learn more at

Leaping Llamas

Artists look to the world around them for inspiration, and also to the work of other creative people. Alicia VanWalleghem opened Leaping Llamas to showcase the work of artists, designers and craftspeople with a Kansas connection. Her shop is packed with visual inspiration, including hand-crafted ceramics, paintings, jewelry, textiles and stationery. The store also offers creative classes for beginners.

You don’t even have to venture out of your home to experience what Leaping Llamas has to offer — they have an online shop on their website,

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