Friends of the Visual Arts

Rating: 4.54 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 2330 17th St Ne Salem OR 97301 USA

Mission: The Friends enrich Salem by providing affordable art classes and studio workspace at our Willamette Art Center, and by promoting public interest in the arts at outreach events (like the Artisan?s Village at the Oregon State Fair). We encourage lifelong learning and exploration of the arts as a vital ingredient for the health of individuals and communities.Examples:1) Every year we invite local potters to come to our ceramic studio and make "Empty Bowls," which are sold as a fundraiser for the Marion Polk Food Share. On Nov. 17, 2007, we will be hosting a gala at the studio to sell these bowls.2) Working with a budget of $2000 and a hardcore group of volunteers, we restored the hands-on Artisan Village to the Oregon State Fair in August, 2007. People from around the state enjoyed demonstrations and hands-on projects in the arts from painting to glassblowing, blacksmithing to coopersmithing, beadmaking to gemstone polishing. 3) We have applied for grants to offer free after-school Art Classes for Title I schools in our neighborhood, and hope to begin that program in January, 2008.4) We continue to partner with the Salem Outreach Shelter, offering art projects and opportunities to enjoy and learn for the homeless children who stay with them, in exchange for handyman services from their volunteers.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Many of the reviews that are posted here are from people who get free studio time in exchange for a minimal amount of "work". While there is good instruction and the facilities are good, the organization is cliquey and people who aren't accepted by the clique are treated badly. The board members are also people who founded the organization and they implement many self-serving policies, put their work before the work of others, etc.

In reading the reviews it might be helpful to look at the profile of the person and the "What did you do" to determine the person's affiliation with the Willamette Art Center. Most people who "volunteer" actually exchange work or chores for free studio time (which is not volunteering).

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have both seen and experienced how this organization works.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Remove all founders from positions where they receive free studio time. Bring in some people with "business sense" and "common sense" to run the organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Willamette Art Center in Salem, Oregon has become a great place for many people in Salem. The center is for anyone who is interested in working with both clay and glass. It works for artists who are deeply interested in their craft, for those who just want to take a class to find out if it is something they like and even for the family who might want to spend a Sunday afternoon working with clay. This can be done at a program called "Family clay Sunday". I have been involved at the WAC
volunteering as a Monitor and also making bowls for the 'Empty Bowls" project where we make bowls to be sold at a fund raising sale for Marion/ Polk food Share. We made over $15,000 last year.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Having a place to work on my own creations. I have had a studio at my own home but find it is better to have the mess somewhere else. I also love to interact with all of the other artist/potters who come to the WAC.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The only thing that I would change is having more space.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The people at the Willamette Art Center are friendly and helpful. I have been in several Classes at the art center and have enjoyed them so much, the instructors are Great and I have learned so much from them.
It's also a great place for the kids to learn and become budding artists.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen class sizes grow, and family clay Sundays for kids fill up every weekend.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would have more daytime classes.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a "late bloomer" in the field of pottery. Several years ago I was given a gift certificate for a class. I was elated and couldn't wait for my class to start. The instructor was 1st rate & shared his passion for pottery in a way that made even my wobbly novice attempts feel like potential masterpieces. I have been happily exploring my creative side at the Willamette Art Center ever since.



The Willamette Art Center offers a wide variety of artistic opportunities for the entire community. Classes and workshops include: hand building, wheel throwing, pottery painting, glazing, high & low fire, Raku, sculpture, glass blowing... and are offered for every age, from children and young families to retirees.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have had the joy of seeing not only my own personal growth in the arts, but also the growth of countless people who have blossomed creatively after taking a class or workshop. An especially fond memory is of one of our youth scholorsip recipients, who sculpted and raku fired a small replica of a terracotta soldier. She and her family were thrilled with the results, and several artists and visitors to the WAC were surprised to discover that it had been created by a student.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

encourage more people to volunteer!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

I received a gift certificate for a class from my family.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

I heard about the art center a year ago and started going for ceramics. It was so amazing to find such a place, full of helpful, enjoyable people. I drove at least once a week down from the Portland metro area. I hope it continues to be a viable part of the community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Working and volunteering for ceramics

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

None

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Willamette Art Center is an amazing hands-on ceramics center. We started over 5 years ago from scratch with a 'crew' of dedicated volunteers. Slow and steady has been our moto; increasing classes for all ages and skill levels; offering scholarships to aspiring potters; and, instigating the ever popular Family Clay Sunday which is partially funded by us as our way of giving back to the community. We also donate to Marion-Polk Food Share by putting on Empty Bowls. Another big project for us is Artisan's Village at the Oregon State Fair.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the joy of a child being able to take a class and express his/or artistic creativity; talking to prospective students about classes and what our center offers to them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change a thing! Everything is working!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

This organization is a wonderful way to become a part of the creative community. Any level of ability is welcomed and encouraged to flourish. Learning basic and advanced skills happens with a talented group of teachers and being surrounded by so many really talented artists inspires to greater push yourself to try new ideas.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Developing relationships with people who are making a difference in the community and enjoying the creative spirit at the same time - what could be better?!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

A bit more space would be nice. I have the feeling WAC is going to grow as more people discover it!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Its hard to believe that this is the Willamette Art Center 5th year as a non-profit. We continue to grow slowly and find more ways everyday to provide the only Clay and Glassblowing classes to the people of Marion and Polk counties. An amazing place for both adults and children to expand their imaginations and broaden their horizons.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As an artist I have improved my skills and look forward to creating beautiful pottery to give to friends and family.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to see more fund raising to support an expanded paid staff

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Friends of the Visual Arts put on an amazing benefit for Marion Polk Food Share called Empty Bowls. This year they donated $15,300! What an amazing event!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Empty Bowls

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Let more people know about this great organization and the events that they produce.

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Rating: 5 stars  

When I first came to the Willamette Art Center (Friends of the Visual Arts) a couple years ago - I was able to take a class from a local artist - it was an amazing experience. Not only is it fun to work with clay, but to be with other like minded people is an experience unto its own. To be able to sit with other artists - at all levels - and get ideas and get the creative juices flowing is amazing.



Since that time I have been able to volunteer my time as a monitor to help keep the Art Center going. This allows me meet many other artists and the community and help make their "art" experience a memorable one.



I am now serving on the Art Center board and find it very rewarding in learning what it takes to run such a facility. I have assisted with the Family Clay on 1 Sunday and see the absolute joy on children's faces as they have their own experience "playing in the clay".

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my own art experience. I have gotten a wealth of knowledge from the collective artists who spend their time at the Art Center. I've also watched the Art Center reach out to local organizations such as the Food Bank.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Space - we need more space!!! It is amazing to me all that is accomplished by this organization in the small space that they have; to have more space would be just that many more people we can bring in!

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