November 27, 2012
I first discovered OffCenter 8 years ago when I met several people who worked there as employees and others as clients. I quickly became a client myself as I found a very warm and welcoming staff and visitors. I was mentored by several people and it helped me through some tough times. Sharing our different views and techniques of art and what it means to us individually was, and is, the most enlightening experience I have had. I continue to this day to be encouraged by the visitors who come by to get lost for a few moments in their personal art making. I have participated in many open juried shows that are always fun and colorful offering all who participate a new experience of exhibiting and the possibility of selling that work. There is also a gallery shop where artist may offer their works for sale creating another level of opportunity. Between the shop and the shows there is such a variety of art to examine, encourage and inspire any visitor, budding or seasoned artist. There are also workshops offered--low-cost or no-cost!--with many different mediums and techniques including sewing, printmaking (my favorite), painting, puppet/mask making, found object sculpture making including metal, bottles, wire, bottle tops, etc.... I volunteer often offering my time to assist others who would like to learn a new form of art making which has opened up the opportunity to actually teach organized workshops (and get paid a small stipend--greatly appreciated). The organization is run with a small, yet dedicated staff, but there is always tasks to be done to help the day-to-day operation. Setting up shows, openings, neatening the materials is something I assist with as well. There are some student/service individuals who get credit, pay or both for their work at the center and this always adds additional liveliness with their smiles, infinite energy and helpfulness that is so essential to the atmosphere. The center is open to all who want to make art--families, individuals, all abilities, socioeconomic status and several social workers bring their clients--all are welcome to make art, interact, participate in shows enriching everyone's experience at the center. Almost all materials, equipment and supplies--even furniture-- is donated to the center. This type of service oriented center is one of several that dot the map of the States and Canada and I am so thankful that such a place as OffCenter is in my community.
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MY ROLE:Client Served