Artown Kicks Off With Storytime

RENO, NV - July means Artown. The month long celebration kicks off today with several free events. One in particular is designed to introduce kids to various different types of art. Held every morning in the McKinley Arts and Culture Center, Discover the Arts provides parents and kids a free introduction into the art world.

To kick off the month, children are being transported to a place known as 'Underwood', and it's all being brought to them by a woman with a very impressive imagination.

Every year, Kathleen Durham sits down with kids for storytime. But they aren't you're traditional fairy tales. These are the stories of the Underfolk, the mischievous but friendly elves that live in Durham's home.

"I just love it," Kathleen said. "I love the children. I like to tell them stories."

Kathleen has been sharing her stories of the Underfolk for longer than she can remember, but this particular storytime is part of Discover the Arts. It's a free event held every day during Artown to introduce children to various forms of art.

"They discover a lot of music," Kristen Timmerman, Discover the Arts manager said. "They discover every aspect of art. It could be clay, it could be painting. It's good for them to get every aspect of the art world. It encourages imagination.

And imagination is what Durham uses to share her stories and to create the dolls she uses to help tell them. The dolls are handcrafted by Durham, but what makes her stories special to her is not the fact that she makes the dolls. Rather as she is creating them, the dolls introduce themselves to her.

"Even though they'e made out of polymer, they still are magic," Durham said. "Each character as he develops has his own story and his own personality."

Personalities that help bring parents and children together.

"Sometimes I think [the stories] are better for the grownups. I think what's important with stories is when grownups and children together hear a story and they all laugh.

Durham will share her stories today from 9:30-11:30 am at the McKinley Arts Center on Riverside Dr. Discovery the Arts is held Monday-Friday at the same time and location.