Tinker Tots
Every Friday Beginning October 16th
Program begins at 11:00am 

Looking for some BIG Fun for your tiny tot this fall?  Dance your wiggles out, dive into a story adventure and get messy with hands-on exploration that will tickle your senses.  Your tots will have a blast during this special time designed just for them.

Deborah Carper Annual Free Day
Thursday, December 10th from 5:00 – 7:00 PM

We will be presenting a FREE night of fun on Friday, December 10th from 5pm until 7pm and you’re invited!

Guests will have free access to the Avampato Discovery Museum, Caperton Planetarium & Theater, and the Juliet Art Museum including exhibits like the Suddenlink by Altice Interactive Art Space, My Town, Ashton’s Climbing Sculpture, Healthy Me, Water Works and the Maier Foundation Music Studio! 

If you’d like to join us for Deborah Carper Annual Free Day you must have a reservation, wear a mask and follow our health and safety guidelines!

This Free day is possible with grateful recognition to Deborah Carper.

Holly Days
November & December

Kick off the holiday season with exploration and wonder during Holly Days! We’re extending one of our favorite annual events to last an entire month with five weekends of holly, jolly fun!  Holly days will take place on Saturdays and Sundays through December 20th with each weekend featuring a different guided Winter Wonder Lab.  In addition to Winter Wonder Labs, all Holly Days will include festive hat and paper gingerbread village making, festive photo ops, and winter games in the lobby! 

Thank you to Children’s Dentistry of Charleston for their continued, generous support of Holly Days! 

November 27-29: Fun Foam Ornaments
December 5-6: Beaded Wreath Ornaments
December 12-13: Salt-Dough Creations
December 19-20: Squishy Soap
January 2-3: Mug Rugs (woven coasters)

Activities and museum exploration are $9 for adults, $7.50 for children, and free for Clay Center Members!  Reservations are required as capacity is limited. 

Gingerbread Workshop
Saturday, Dec. 12th from 10am – 12pm

Sweeten up your holiday season by decorating a gingerbread house! We provide the pre-assembled gingerbread house with a large foam base with all the supplies to decorate, and you bring the creativity! This family workshop is fun for all ages.

Space is limited; pre-registration with payment is required

Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest! 
November 16, 2020 – January 31, 2021

We are excited to partner with our friends at Toyota to promote the Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest! This contest is designed to inspire creativity in youth, ages 4-15, and help them imagine the future of mobility. A total of nine U.S. winners will be announced during March 2021: the top three in each of the three age categories (4-8 years old; 8-11 years old; and 12-15 years old).

Judging based on three criteria: execution, uniqueness, and artistry of concept. Each artwork submission consists of a drawing by an eligible youth, accompanied by a completed entry form signed by a parent or legal guardian (multiple submissions accepted, but each drawing must be accompanied by a separate entry form). All artwork submissions are required to be postmarked on a date sometime on or between November 16, 2020 through January 31, 2021.

Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan held the first worldwide contest in 2004. Nearly 90 countries now participate each year under the same rules but with varying artwork submission periods. 2020 marks the 10th year that this youth art contest has been presented in the United States. The annual contest accepts artwork submitted by parents or legal guardians of children between four (4) and fifteen (15) years of age who are legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit


Kanawha Valley to Read and Celebrate Burning Bright by Ron Rash this fall

 The Clay Center is a recipient of a grant to host the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read in Kanawha Valley. An Arts Endowment initiative in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The Clay Center is one of the nonprofit organizations selected to receive an NEA Big Read grant to support a community reading program between October 2020 and June 2021. The NEA Big Read in the Kanawha Valley will focus on a variety of books for all ages including:

  • Burning Bright by author Ron Rash: Though the 12 stories in Burning Bright cover a wide swath of time from the Civil War to the present day, collectively they tell a story about Appalachia. And though they take us along the winding roads to the old homesteads and subdivisions of the American South, where “the region is a character in and of itself” and “myths and legends and history permeate every story” (BookPage), they also pulse with universal human emotions.
  • Missing May by author Cynthia Rylant: This book, intended for students in grades 6-8, tenderly takes the reader through the stages of grief as they are experienced by a young child. 
  • The Princess and the Pickup Truck by West Virginia author, Bill Lepp: This book, intended for lower level elementary students, takes a twist on the classic The Princess and the Pea. Isn’t it time there was a fairy tale aimed at girls and women who wear hiking boots, don’t comb their hair, and love pick-up trucks? The Princess and the Pick-up Truck is a modern retelling of The Princess and the Pea, but with an Appalachian slant.

“We have become even more aware this year of the important ways the arts help us connect with others, and how they bring meaning, joy, and comfort to our lives,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “By bringing the NEA Big Read to the Kanawha Valley, the Clay Center will provide opportunities for deep discussion and ways to help us better understand one another.”

The Clay Center is working with partners including the Kanawha County Public Library, Putnam County Library, Step by Step, Inc., and the West Virginia Humanities Council to distribute copies of the book to community members. In conjunction with these partners, the Clay Center looks forward to welcoming author Ron Rash virtually to discuss his work documenting the changing face of Appalachia with a variety of audiences. These virtual book discussions will take place beginning in November 2020.  For details regarding these events and registration information, please visit the Clay Center online at  

Several hundred free copies are available and can be picked up at Kanawha County Public Library locations and the Clay Center beginning Friday, October 23rd during normal operating hours.