Art is the place where accidents and mistakes are merely obstacles youth can learn to overcome, said Jane Owen, executive director of the Center for Art and Education in Van Buren.

One young camper recently was upset when her artwork did not turn out like she wanted, Owen said. She had the “longest look on her face on Monday.” She wanted to trash and re-start her work.

“In art, we don’t do happy accidents,” she said. “We worked with her to show her how to rework the artwork and make it how she wanted." By Friday, the end of the camp week, she was so happy with her accomplishment, Owen said, she was smiling and holding two pieces of art.

“That’s why we do what we do.”

More than 500 young people from across the region participated in summer art camps provided by the center, Owen said. The focus has now turned to homeschool and after-school programming for the current school year.

Operating expenses and donations to the center’s capital campaign have been raised through various fundraising events through the years, said Terri Burt, program coordinator for the center. Due to overwhelming requests, the center is again offering its Table Toppers event as a means to raise some of those needed operating funds.

The Center for Art and Education Table Toppers event is scheduled for 11 a. m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Van Buren Senior Center, 607 Knox St. in Van Buren. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 per table, Owen said. To reserve seats or a table, call the Center for Art and Education at (479) 474-7767 or visit the center’s website at Art-Ed.org for more information.

The “smaller (and) more intimate,” event is for ladies only and will celebrate health and beauty, while featuring live music, food and fun, Owen said.

The center has relied on the community for more than 40 years to help with its operating budget, Owen said. Capital campaign donations will help the center build and relocate to Main Street, next door to the King Opera House, in Van Buren. The new location will provide more dedicated space for all programming, she said. It will also allow the center to offer more types of art classes, workshops and artist lectures.

“We will be able to serve more people in the community,” she said. More children and adults will have a place to experience art.

Once the new facility is completed, “the 5X5 Gala will continue to be one of our major fundrais(ing) events,” Owen said. The strategy as they work to transition to the new location is to hold several smaller fundraising events, she said. Offering different types of fundraisers allows them to reach more people. The smaller events also allow for “more conversation with guests.”

From 11 a. m. to noon, Table Toppers attendees can enjoy live music by Chris Swicegood and Lolly Patrick, while they mingle and peruse the tablescapes, visit the health and wellness and health screening booth and view and bid on the silent auction items, Burt said.

The silent auction will feature limited artwork donated by George Kountoupis and Ralph Irwin, local artists, and a fabulous collection of jewelry from a private collection, Burt said.

Artists will not have booths with additional artwork for sale at the event, Owen said.

The private jewelry collection features some pieces valued between $300 and $400 and some pieces purchased in Egypt, Burt said. Silent auction bidding will be open through the end of the fashion show.

Guests can enjoy a chair massage, have a heel ultrasound bone density screening and/or check their blood pressure, all at no charge, compliments of The Women’s Center and Sparks Clinic Van Buren, Owen said. They can also take a risk assessment health screening for breast cancer.

Discounts and special promotions from Mercy Fitness Center as well as participating fashion show boutiques will be made available to attendees, Burt said.

Lunch will be served at noon. It will be catered by Taliano’s and is being planned in conjunction with Mercy Dietician Services, Burt said. A “delicious heart-healthy menu will be presented on beautifully decorated tablescapes,” designed and decorated by local florists, individuals and local businesses.

Once lunch is served, the live music will stop and a fashion savvy fashion show will begin, Owen said. The fashion show will feature a variety of casual to dressy casual fall fashion trends for teenage girls through mature women, she said. Models will walk to the individual tables and answer any questions guests may have about the clothing.

The Center for Art and Education is “giving back to (its) guests” at the Table Toppers fundraiser, Owen said. “It is our way of saying thank you,” she said. The event is designed for women “to enjoy a few hours of fun and relaxation.”