Mineola League of the Arts: Something Genuinely Special

Wood burning. Rug hooking. Pastel drawing. Clay sculpting. Spinning. Stained glass making. Quilting. Choreographed line dancing.

C’mon y’all, that’s all pretty cool!

These fun and interesting activities, and more, are what the Mineola League of the Arts (MLOTA) is all about. Based right here in Wood County, Texas, MLOTA (obviously) has a lot to offer. Not only is it the host of multiple annual shows—including the Woodcarvers’ Show, Quilters’ Show, and a Fiber Arts Exhibit—but MLOTA also teaches anyone interested how to do these sometimes-lost arts.

“It’s important to us (to teach these classes) because we want to give the kids in this generation (the opportunity) to learn how people did it back then, when they had to to live,” said Shelby Attaway, the office manager for the MLOTA. “But it’s also giving some of our older people who are here some activities so they’re not having to do therapy rehab. They come here and they do their sewing, (their) quilting…”

The 5,000-square-foot building, which houses nine classrooms as well as a kitchen, auditorium, stage, and more, is full to the brim with opportunities and people who are excited about being there.

A Wood County, Texas Gem

Wood County, Texas’ MLOTA has been in Mineola for a long time. Formerly an old grade school, the 1950s-era building was first rented and then purchased from the Wood County school district for the purpose of “promot(ing) interest in all forms of art.” The purchase of the building was made in 1992 with the help of the Meredith Foundation, which later provided for both exterior and interior renovations, and even today still supports this classic enterprise.

According to Attaway, the classrooms are far from just empty rooms with chairs and a blackboard. No, each room has something different inside. Some are outfitted with kilns for pottery, some are cleared to make lots of space for the many line dancers, and the fiber-arts building out back is full of looms to “spin wool.”

A lot of kids come to the Mineola League of the Arts. Attaway mentioned that the pottery classes are especially popular, especially since the MLOTA partnered with some local homeschool families to give kids an opportunity for hands-on arts.

Something for Everyone

Not only are they about re-cultivating rare art forms, about having fun, and about creating new things, the Mineola League of the Arts also has an emphasis on community work and community service. This is exemplified in several different ways in the MLOTA’s goings-on, but one of the most recent of their goodwill activities is a Community Service Sew Day. According to the MLOTA Facebook page, attendees of the three service sew days will be creating wheelchair quilts for those who are confined to wheelchairs but perhaps “get a little chilled or just wanna show off their beautiful quilt to others.” The post mentions that there is no fee for this session, and all supplies (except the sewing machine) will be included.

The MLOTA is also opening a brand-new guild for writers and authors. “We’re full of storytellers, novelists, poets, biographers, and authors ‘of all journeys.’ We enjoy expressing our creativity in the written form. Don’t miss your chance to get in on this new guild,” the MLOTA wrote on their Facebook account.

The league will feature meetings on workshopping, speaking by Wood County-based editors, poets, biographers, and other published authors, creative writing, and more.

All of these opportunities, from stained glass making to line dancing to wood carving, might sound like your everyday opportunity “in case you’re feeling crafty.” However, it’s genuinely not something humdrum or everyday.

A Huge Community Asset for Wood County

The Mineola League of the Arts is something very special—where, when you walk through the doors, you feel like you’re a part of something. Whether your interests lie in physical movement, sitting and chatting while you work on a piece, creating a useful item, or even just learning to revive a lost art, the MLOTA has something for you. Pretty much guaranteed.

“It’s a lot for a little bitty town,” said Attaway with a laugh.

Get in on the action and check out their calendar!

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