Refresh your creative spirit

We are privileged here in the Centre Region — thanks in large part to the university that serves as magnet and center of gravity, but also to the natural beauty that surrounds us and inspires creativity — to live in a community that appreciates art.

That appreciation manifests itself in, of course, a major festival every summer; in live music of every description performed in venues large and small; in films with subtitles; in museums, galleries and artisan boutiques.

And it is on glorious display throughout the year on the first Thursday of every month.

First Thursday State College is a celebration of the arts, designed, as its Web site proclaims, “to showcase and stimulate the cultural, intellectual, and entertainment talent in the Centre Region and to provide a venue for seminars, exhibits, performances, debate and camaraderie year round.”

And it does so at the Palmer Museum, the Pattee and Paterno libraries, the Schlow Centre Region Library, the Penn State Downtown Theatre Center and in shops and stores throughout the Centre Region.

Parking is free at downtown street meters and on the McAllister Deck after 6 p.m. on Thursdays, and many businesses have extended open hours to accommodate the event.

Today’s schedule includes:

u Pewter artists Jim and Deborah Chapman at The Artisan Connection, 5 to 8 p.m.

u Demonstrations of wheel-thrown and hand-built pottery at The Creative Oasis, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

u Do A Dot Valentines for children ages 3 and up at Growing Tree Toys, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

u Opening reception for the exhibit “Acrid Dialectic: The Visual Language of LeRoy Johnson and Theodore Harris,” at the HUB Gallery, 6 to 8 p.m.

u Opening reception for the exhibit “Inside Outside the Ecstatic Body,” at the Robeson Gallery, 6 to 8 p.m.

u Art of the Wedding Cake, Kim Morrison’s award-winning creation, at Kitchen Kaboodle, 5 to 8 p.m.

u Poetry reading by Gabeba Baderoon, a South African poet and Africana Research Center post-doctoral fellow, at Palmer Museum, 7 p.m.

u Bach’s Lunch, Penn State School of Music, at Eisenhower Chapel, 12:10 p.m.

u Teen Manga Night, with anime, video games and more, at Schlow Centre Region Library, 7 to 9 p.m.

u Singer-songwriter Jim Colbert with Kerri Lee Smith, at Webster’s Bookstore Café, 7 p.m.

u Artist reception with State College photographer Heidi Lewis, at Zola New World Bistro, 5 to 7 p.m.

Plus numerous exhibits at the Penn State libraries.

For detailed information, see www.firstthursdaystatecollege.org.

Enjoy one of the benefits of living in Happy Valley, support the arts and refresh your spirit — the first Thursday of every month in downtown State College and on the Penn State campus.