It was September 1968 when the first classes were offered to the public at Chastain Arts Center. Much has changed at the facility on West Wieuca Road since then, but the center’s role in the lives of students has remained the same.

The early class catalog included such popular choices of the time as macramé, weaving, chair caning and calligraphy.

The center’s leadership likes to say it was “the city’s first arts center, and we are still its finest.”

The center plans two special events to celebrate its 40th anniversary, both designed for old friends to reunite.

The first is an exhibit of work by the late Polly Harrison, who was one of the first staff members at the center. Her art shows her concern for the environment, with nontraditional woven forms and constructed objects, almost always incorporating found and recycled materials. The exhibit, which opened Sept. 12, runs through Nov. 8.

On Sept. 27, the public is invited to a homecoming reunion and open house, designed to introduce new people to the center and to be an opportunity for many former students, staffers and instructors to visit. The free event will run from 1 to 5 p.m. with ongoing demonstrations by a variety of artists, some hands-on activities, entertainment and refreshments.

— John Schaffner