The Center for Art and Education in Van Buren has continued their construction on their new building during the pandemic.


The CAE website has kept the community updated on the various steps they have taken to reconstruct the new building on Main Street. On May 1 a staircase was reconstructed. It previously led to a rooming house. The second floor will become the new space for their library and offices.


A more noticeable update has occurred on the front facade of the building. The CAE is going to keep the original style and image of the old building through restoration. Midwest Restoration Company, a firm that specializes in masonry repair for historic buildings, has been working hard to complete that step of the project. An old flat awning was spread across the building in the thirties, but to keep an even more original look to the building it was removed.


"Though a lot of work remains, we are excited about what has been accomplished so far," the website says. "Most exciting of all is that CAE’s new center project is well underway!"


Jane Owen, executive director of CAE, says that even though they can’t hold events and activities in person they are still working on things that kids can do at home. One such activity is a create 12 challenge. This is where kid’s can submit artwork based on themes that the CAE has posted on its website. The activity is currently on it’s fourth project with the theme being contrast. Previous projects were variety, line, and pattern. Once student’s finish the projects and send in their artwork prizes will be given out through drawing of submitted artwork.


They have also utilized past artwork from students with a virtual scavenger hunt where students can look through galleries and find items and features in the art.


The CAE is currently holding a virtual hand crafted jewelry tour. Viewers of the tour even have the option to purchase jewelry they see and have it shipped to them in the mail. Owen says that this is perfect for Mother’s day.


Owen says that reopening their facility is based off of the guidelines of the libraries. "We are planning to do our summer camps. We are trying to get those together knowing that if they do reopen it could change. If the curve goes up we will probably have to shut back down," she said.


The CAE is being cautious with their reopening but they are still working to make sure that students can stay involved even at home. Their new facility is still expected to be completed in the fall of 2021, and with the inclusion of furniture and equipment inside they are hoping to open in 2021 or early 2022.