By Kevin Greer, Communications Manager

This summer, the Rhein Center is thrilled to welcome the return of more arts classes, volunteers and students to the corner of Walnut Avenue and Sixth Street.

Rhein Center Manager Jennifer Wertz anticipates more than 300 classes and at least 1,200 various session offerings this season, inching closer to the pre-pandemic total of around 1,500.

Some of the new and returning classes include Fused Glass Yard Stake, Windchimes and Christmas Trees; Beaded Flowers; Denim Memory Quilt Pillow; Fairy Garden Lighthouse; Needle-Felted Donut; Macrame Dog Leash; Drip Painting; Candle Making and Natural Heating Pad.

Lakesider favorites like Lighthouse Nightlight, Polymer Clay Animals and Beads, Etched Driftwood Vase and Ceramics will also be offered.

“We’ll have a lot of returning classes,” Wertz said. “I thought it was important to repeat because a lot of people haven’t been back to Lakeside.”

There are also more extensive classes for people experienced or skilled in art, such as Painting Classes in Watercolor, Oil and Acrylic; Sewing and Quilting; Stained Glass and Wheel Thrown Pottery. Wertz noted there will be additional stained glass sessions compared to last summer.

There are plenty of activities for the kids once again this summer. Rock Painting, a popular Lakeside tradition, will be available. Other returning favorites include Jan Foy’s Bubble Gum Jars, Sewing Doll Dresses, Friendship Bracelets, Duct Tape Wallets and Easel Art.

There will be close to 100 instructors available for adult and kids’ classes. The different studios at the center are Fiber Arts, Glass and Clay.

“Many people don’t know about our studios,” Wertz said. “We have some really cool stuff going on. It’s much more than a summer arts camp.”

New this summer, the Rhein Center will offer an Open Studio from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays from May 28-October 1. All ages are invited to decorate a wooden or paper maché item with paint, markers or stickers. No class registration required.

The Rhein Center gets a lot of assistance from Lakesiders who donate all kinds of supplies. Wertz said yarn is an item she gets the most, giving her more class ideas other than knitting to make unique things from it. She also uses coffee filters to make paper flowers.

“Donations are huge,” Wertz said. “We don’t charge for the instruction, just for supplies. If we can keep the supply cost down, it keeps classes even cheaper.”

Epworth Lodge, home of the Rhein Center, was being used as a storage facility until the Rhein family, longtime Lakesiders, made a posthumous donation in honor of C. Kirk Rhein, Jr., who was one of 230 people who died tragically when TWA Flight 800 exploded off Long Island, New York, on July 17, 1996. As tribute to him, the family contributed money to Lakeside to revitalize the building, making art available for all ages.

Wertz first started coming to Lakeside as a child in 1973. She said her family moved several times, but owned a cottage for 10 years, so she always considered Lakeside a “home base” during her childhood.

“Lakeside always held a special place in my heart, and it’s been a big part of my life,” Wertz said. “I always thought it would be so cool to be back here working, so here I am.”