WILLIAMSPORT — WXPI Community Radio’s Brian Spies, host of the “Art Party” show, views his role as being one to “create a structure and platform for artists in this area to have a voice.”
The show, which airs every Monday at 7 p.m., has slowly been gaining a following since it began in March. So far, Spies has interviewed local photographer Ralph Wilson and artist Jeremiah Johnson, among others. He also talks about art issues in a “frank and non-academic manner.”
Spies, an artist himself, grew up in Williamsport. As a child, his parents took him and his sister to art museums in New York City. Though his parents did not know much about art on an academic level, they wanted their children to be exposed to and appreciate it.
His art background goes back even further — when he was a baby, his mother painted with watercolors. One time, he got into her paints and ate two tubes of the color Prussian blue, a very deep blue that happens to be one of Spies’ favorite colors today. “My mom likes to say the art went right through me,” he said.
In a recent interview, Spies reflected on summers spent at the local parks participating in arts and crafts programs. “It bothers me that programs that were around when I was a kid are gone,” he said. Thanks to spending cuts, many municipalities have been forced to reduce or eliminate recreational programs. Thinking about the lack of art activities for children gave Spies the idea to hold a coloring contest for kids on June 15 as part of his “Art Party” show. The contest will be held at the station at the Pajama Factory from 1-4 p.m. Children from pre-kindergarten age through 8th grade are invited to color the WXPI logo. Five finalists from three age groups will be selected and their works will be posted on Facebook for the public to vote on. The winners will have their art featured on WXPI T-shirts, banners and the sign outside the station.