PARKSTON — Families got the chance to paint together Thursday and Saturday at events hosted by the Parkston School District's art department and largely funded by a grant from the Parkston Area Foundation.

One event was held at the Parkston school, and the other at the Avera Bormann Manor nursing home. Organizers said about 160 people attended the first event, and 120 participated in the second, including about 20 volunteers and 50 of the 72 total residents of Avera Bormann Manor and Avera St. Benedict Assisted Living.

"I wrote a grant last year to the Parkston Area Foundation asking for an art night," school art director Colleen Mette said Saturday. "... They approved it, and they said, 'Whatever you decide to do, we'll supply the canvases and the paint.' So all I had to come up with was the brushes and all that."

Mette said the foundation agreed to expand from one event to two when there wasn't room at the school to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate. She worked with Mae Gunnare and Kimberley Tiede, activities directors at Avera Bormann, to set up the second event.

"It's art therapy. That's the big thing," Gunnare said Saturday. "And it's bringing families in today."

Mette said the two recent events are part of her goal to bring art to the area, which also includes working with schools outside of Parkston that don't have art departments and putting on summer arts events.

"Art helps anybody, no matter the age. I teach kindergarten through 12th grade, so I can see that at the school; I can see how kids progress," Mette said. "Even in the nursing home and assisted living, stuff like that, it's always going to be something that brings things back to people. Art you can do at any stage in life, too, no matter your abilities."