One Tank Trip: Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Located in downtown Charleston is The Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia.

Built in 2003, the 240,000 square foot structure is the state’s prime home for visual arts, performing arts and science all in one place. For nearly 20 years, they’ve been serving the youth of West Virginia as a place of learning and engagement.

“We have something for everyone,” said Vice President of Marketing Morgan Robinson. “We’re one of only three centers in the nation that has visual arts, a science museum, a planetarium, and a performance hall all under one roof.”

There’s plenty to do at the Clay Center. They have exhibits focused on music, health and wellness, the water cycle, and tons more for kids to experiment with. There’s even a climbable sculpture towering between the three floors, and a miniature version of Charleston to help kids learn about where they live. 

“It’s so amazing to look back and see the hundreds of thousands of lives that have been impacted positively by the Clay Center. We love to see students of all ages coming in to explore hands-on science, art, and music right here in the Mountain State.”

It’s been somewhat of a struggle at the Clay Center ever since the pandemic began. They serve roughly 400 people each day in the peak season, and they’re doing everything they can to keep people safe.

They have sanitizing stations and reminders to stay distant. Masks are also optional at the Clay Center, but are heavily encouraged. 

But one thing they like to focus on is hands-on education. While many schools were out learning remotely, the Clay Center was helping kids learn with a physical education, instead of something on a laptop.

“A lot of virtual learning has taken place over the past year, which is great that we have the option to do learning virtually, but it’s so much more engaging for children to have hands-on experiences,” said Director of Education Kayte Kincaid.

Coming up at the Clay Center are tons of performances and exhibits. This fall there will be lots of spooky-themed weekends for kids to experiment with, as well as a new art exhibit. And next summer, they’ll be taken over by dinosaurs for a new fun-filled way to learn about fossils. 

And being located in downtown Charleston, only a few hours away at most from southern West Virginia, you can get there on just one tank of gas.

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