As a volunteer for OFFCenter during 8 years (as an event volunteer, Board member, interim Exec. Dir, floor sweeper and toilet cleaner) I appreciate OFFCenter as a valuable place where every person is welcomed and encouraged to participate creatively to the fullness of their ability, free of charge and without prejudice. I also love finding great treasures for gifts in the retail shop and knowing 80% of the purchase price directly supports the artist.
I am lucky enough to be a regular volunteer at different OFFCenter events or in the open studio . There is no other place where I see the mix of people interacting together in one place as I do in OFFCenter. The urge to create and to appreciate creativity draws people to OFFCenter. It is a comfortable place for anyone who goes there that makes you want to return and meet more people or explore some new kind of creative expression. It's also a wonderful place to find beautiful and one of a kind treasures that are affordable, and sometimes you can meet the person who made it too!
My initial interaction with OFF Center was hearing great things about it from friends. When my artist friend Teddy decided to donate her extensive art supplies, I suggested that she donate them to OFF Center. We packed my car to the ceiling and for the first time, I saw OFF Center. I was quite impressed but for some undefined reason waited another three or so years before I decided to volunteer there. Mostly what I have done since that day is talk to people. I love chatting, but more so I enjoy seeing individuals grow. The environment for producing all types of artwork, the freedom for individuals to direct their work and interacting with artists of all ages to create casual camaraderie is like magic. I love it all and know I receive far more than I give.
OFFCenter provides an open studio for all to come and explore their creativity. Although I don't have a creative bone in my body, everytime I have been to OFFCenter or participated in any of their events, everyone is very friendly and welcoming. This type of atmosphere makes you want to keep coming back.
An amazing open art studio, OFFCenter Community Arts Project welcomes all comers who want to make art in a welcoming, safe and creative atmosphere! Free art materials, work space and peer mentors as we learn from one another in various art media: drawing and painting, print-making, knitting/crocheting, jewelry and metal creating- a special theme throughout the 11 year history is "recycled" art - an art piece from odds and ends! Now this widespread theme is called "re-purposing", but I feel certain OFFCenter in a small way has led the way for many artists, new and experienced, to create from "just stuff". For myself, I am grateful for the many friendships enjoyed over the years with folks from all parts of our community and all levels of economic position, including homeless and near-homeless. The only boundaries in this hospitable community are those of respect for others. As a volunteer and participant, I know OFFCenter keeps going on a very tight budget with only 3 parttime staff - almost miraculous!
OFFCenter's 10 year history is inspiring and I am proud to have been there to see it grow all the way. Starting first in a small storefront, it is now housed in a large storefront that includes exhibits of art made by participants which are for sale and an art space for exhibits created by all and any of us who wish to participate. It's a lift of spirit to be there whatever your choice and level of skill.