This community gallery and studio opens it's doors to all. Tireless volunteers and staff are working hard to keep this free space available to the community.
I have been meeting a small group of adults with developmental disabilities weekly at OC for over six years. We are a part of this community, we participate and volunteer, laugh and create together. Thanks Offcenter for giving us a place to feel at home.
Tres Amigos Art Group
Off Center is still my favorite NP. I've made life long friends there and like an old friend it is there for all who need it!! Volunteered there for several years and was also a client served. Both were wonderfully enriching experiences.
Off Center is fantastic. They do so much to help those less fortunate. I think the fact that people of all ages and economic backgrounds come together and share in their knowledge is rare. I like that!! I have meet some of the most wonderful artisans there.Learned to knit from a woman in the hands on workshop and now make scarves for people as gifts ( family and the homeless). Also was able to sell a few paintings which was a real boost. Everyone gives of themselves to help other people and this is a real service to the whole community. I volunteered there for several years doing things like cleaning, setting out snacks & sorting. it made me feel like an important part of something bigger than myself. I like to buy things from the shop to support the center and the artists .Now days I see a new group of people growing.
OffCenter has given me the confidence to allow myself to be creatively expressive. I have found such encouragement and support for my art work. I credit OffCenter for many new friendships, opportunities for volunteering and connecting me to our community in a unique way. I remember the first time I came to OffCenter, Marcia asked me if I wanted to create something. I remember feeling shy - but surprised at how being asked really opened me up.
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.
I love coming to OFf Center when I can find the time. I usually curl up on a cozy armchair with my embroidery and listen to all the little conversations going on around me or the shuffling of other people's work or the keys of the piano being tinkered by anyone generous enough to share their talent. I've met lovely people here and this community center has served exactly the purpose I hoped it would. It provides a creative and social environment where I can work on my art in the company of others. Working in my home studio can get quite lonely at times. Much of the time I struggle with my mental well-being and having a place to be life OFF Center is very helpful to me. I am also grateful for the wealth of donated supplies and tools that OFF Center provides access to. It really allows for creative freedom and growth.
Before I began to take classes at OffCenter, I had been involved with a few of the art shows, which are non-juried and open to the public. I found the space and the staff to be very inviting and inclusive of artists of all ranges of age, ability, and economic status. Some years later, I began to take the drawing class, and have found a new community of people that I probably would not have met under other circumstances. OffCenter is a place where people mix, talk, and share common experience despite the widely varying circumstances of their personal lives. It is a very supportive atmosphere that encourages creative expression in everyone who drops by.
I love going to OffCenter to particpate in art-making in a safe and free space! I can just drop by randomly and utilize any of their great supplies and tools. The printmaking program has been really a great way to express myself and learn new techniques from caring professionals. I have taken many classes there and have participated in jewelry -making open studio, which is nice to do in a group.
My art group, Rainbow Artists, meets at OFFCenter, and supports the center. They provide art materials, support and encouragement to both the community at large, and an under-served population of artists. The staff is knowledgeable and available for assistance and they are ready and able to provide meeting space, classroom space and materials. They have an amazing art fair each September, We Art the People, that is a much anticipated annual event.