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Museum hosts annual Holiday Open House

Dec. 03, 2012 @ 06:48 AM

HUNTINGTON -- What Margaret Mary Layne likes most about the museum's annual Holiday Open House is the diversity.

"We have so many different representatives of different groups," said Layne, executive director of the museum. She loves that among the performers at the event are both singers and dancers, both children and senior citizens, and representatives from schools, a church and synagogue, she said.

"What really impresses me is how the children have to learn and study and be disciplined (to perform), and this is what the arts teaches," she said.

The Holiday Open House featured a visit from Santa, children's art activities, entertainment and refreshments, as well as the "Art on a Limb" exhibit of trees, with hand-painted palettes and ornaments designed by local artists. It's a free event, though canned good and clothing donations were accepted at the door for the Cridlin Food Pantry.

Performing were the Tri-State Youth Orchestra; Huntington Dance Theatre; Cabell Midland High's Collegium Musicum and its show choir, Red Hot; Sixteenth Street Baptist Choir; B'Nai Sholom Choir; The Wayne Elementary Select Ensemble.

The open house is truly a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season each year, Layne said, and she hopes it brings out some less frequent museum-goers, whether they bring their kids to see Santa or come to see a loved one perform.

That was the case for Crystal Robinson, who was among the nearly 750 people who gathered at the museum Sunday. Her daughter was there to perform with Cabell Midland High's show choir, and if she hadn't been singing, Robinson might not have headed out in the rain Sunday, she said as she perused the art.

"I think it does expose the public to what the museum offers -- people that might not otherwise have made it out today," she said. "A lot of people are waiting, and while they're waiting, they're looking around."

Victoria Sewell of Hurricane, W.Va., came with her daughter and two granddaughters. As a member of the museum who frequently attends openings and Saturday Kids Art, Sewell said everything the museum does is high quality, and this event was no exception.

"The Cabell Midland (Collegium Musicum) was phenomenal," she said. "My granddaughters were following them around. I think they want to be honorary members."

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