I want to answer Playswithmudd. I am one of t he founders of the Willamette Art Center. At this time there is only one founder on a board of 7. Without the founders, there would not be a community place in Salem to "play with mud". Also, I have been one of over a dozen a volunteer monitors who keep the place open. Without the monitors there would be no Willamette Art Center. They answer the phone, sell gallery pieces, supplies, classes, memberships and studio passes, answer technical questions and clean up the mess every shift. For their work, they get a limited number of pieces fired. Their benefit to the center outweighs any compensation. There is only one "founder" on the list of monitors at this time. Monitorships rotate. Those who are interested can get on a list .
The Willamette Art Center is the one place I go where everyone is friendly to everyone else. It is the place I go to unwind. If you think the WAC is "cliquey" try volunteering. The Willamette Art Center is working hard to bring the community the benefit of pottery classes for the lowest cost possible. Another organization tried doing the same thing for Salem without volunteers. They closed after 5 years but still use the money making event that the Willamette Art Center's founders started. I challenge "Playswithmudd" to come to the WAC, go to board meetings and make a difference.
Unlike "playswithmudd" I refuse to hide behind anonymity. Cindy Nielsen
The Willamette Art Center, the community ceramics arts center, run by the Friends of the Visual Arts is my home away from home. It offers a place where I can go to do creative work with like minded people and relieve the stress of daily life. I have been a caregiver for my elderly mother for 4 and half years, as long as the center has been in existence. WIthout the center, I would have burned out from the stress of watching my mother decline and having to become increasingly more responsible for her daily care . The center gives me a purpose and a way to express myself and the satisfaction that comes from working with my hands. The classes taught at the center offer a lively interchange of ideas and new techniques. The self actualization gained from my experience on the board of the Friends of the Visual Arts and as a student creating new works in pottery has relieved what would truly be a dreary existence.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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".
The friends of the Visual Arts, working out of the Willamette Art Center, is an amazing place to spend time with supportive people in a friendly atmosphere while working on ceramic projects. It is the place I go if I need time to be creative. The place is great and has so much to offer new potters and veteran potters who want a group to work with.