As it enters 2010, CityArts, the city-owned art gallery and cultural center, is celebrating six years in its Old Town Square home.

The venue will open a new exhibit on Monday, with abstract paintings by husband and wife David and Susan Harmon of Sterling.

A new round of classes in artful endeavors begins next week, too, and for the first time, students can sign up online.

CityArts continues to participate each month in the Final Friday gallery crawl, and last year also became a player in the new First Friday music crawl in Old Town.

The gallery and teaching center is well-established in the Wichita art scene, but many people still aren't aware of what it offers, says Angelo Cato, communications director for Wichita's arts and cultural services division.

"I don't think a lot of people know what we do," she says. "We're very centrally located in Old Town Square, in a great facility. You don't have to be a serious artist to use our services. You can connect emotionally with art on so many levels."

Here are four activities and services CityArts, which is operated by the Arts Council, offers:

1. Monthly exhibits in four different galleries. Besides the main gallery, CityArts has smaller exhibits on a monthly basis in its hallway gallery, balcony gallery and boardroom gallery. Local and regional artists are invited to show works in the galleries. The newest main gallery exhibit by the Harmons will be up through January.

2. Classes in everything from digital photography to drawing, from painting to silversmithing, from pottery to fiber. Expert teachers are hired to teach the classes, which begin next week and, depending on the class, typically last several weeks. Some one-day workshops also are offered. For the first time, students can register online at wichitatix.com. Typically, about 3,000 people sign up for the classes each session.

"These classes are taught by very skilled and credible artists in the community," Cato said. "You're going to get top-notch instruction and the added benefit of small class sizes."

3.CityArts also rents out its main gallery , boardroom and classrooms. Everything from wedding receptions to baby showers to professional meetings have been held in the spaces.

"The aesthetics of meeting in an art gallery is what draws a lot of people," Cato says. The center does not cater events, but people may bring in food and beverages through other catering services.

4.A gift shop sells original works of art from local and regional artists, including jewelry, sculpture, mobiles, paintings, drawings and glassware.

"It's a place to get unique gifts, and because of that, it fits well into the Old Town niche because you have so many other shops also selling unusual items," Cato says.

If you go>


What: City-owned arts and cultural center operated by the Arts Council

Where: 334 N. Mead

When: Hours 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sat.

How much: Admission free. Information, 316-462-2787.