OFFCenter Community Arts Project in Albuquerque NM is a wonderful community art center open to all in our city FREE of charge. As a long time volunteer I have had the pleasure to observe many people discover their talents and make new friends at OFFCenter. Beautiful art in many forms (painting, drawing, collage, found object creations, fiber arts, playwriting, music) is made by all the different people who come to the OFFCenter studio. I have been very inspired seeing people become more fully themselves and find their own voices through creative self expression. OFFCenter is a valuable treasure in our challenging world, a rare place where connection and acceptance are encouraged and fostered. It's also a great place to 'buy local' and directly support artists who have their work for sale in the retail gift shop! OFFCenter has been offering their open studio (along with outreach programming also) to Albuquerque for over 15 years - and in large part that is thanks to donor contributions of money, time, and supplies. Watch the video to see what happens at OFFCenter, and then please Help Keep OFFCenter Going Strong!
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.
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.