First up is a mermaid craft class on July 19, 10 a.m. to noon where kids (ages 6-9) will play fashion designer as they each design their very own mermaid peg doll.

Local artist and illustrator Mandy Porta is hosting craft classes for kids at Gonzales gift shop Fine and Dandy.

First up is a mermaid craft class on July 19, 10 a.m. to noon where kids (ages 6-9) will play fashion designer as they each design their very own mermaid peg doll. Next is a class for unicorn lovers on August 2, 10 a.m. to noon where kids (ages 6-10) will get ready for school as they each design and make their own unicorn backpack clip and pencil topper. Classes are $25/child and parents can register their children at fineanddandyla.com/parties.

"My goal is to help children to develop a creative mindset," Porta said. "Creativity is a much needed skill, and it can be taught. It's all about creating flexible thinkers who look at the world through different eyes and can turn everyday problems into solutions."

Porta recently launched her first collection of original acrylic paintings for children at Fine and Dandy. Her style is bright and playful. Previously, she spent over a decade as a graphic designer working directly with small businesses to design marketing materials. She put her design work on hold when her girls were born and rediscovered her love for making joyful art.

"As a child of a talented and crafty stay-at-home mom, I grew up drawing and making things, but I had settled for a more reliable career in corporate graphic design. Thankfully my kids reignited my creative spirit, and now I spend my days drawing, painting and illustrating," Porta said.

"My mission is to spread joy and inspire imaginations. I'm excited to team up with Fine and Dandy to share my bright and cheery art with the community."

Fine and Dandy is located on Hwy. 621 next to Hutch’s Ace Hardware. Learn more about Mandy Porta at www.mandyporta.com.

Contributed by Mandy Porta