Alibi V.18 No.24 • June 11-17, 2009 

Gallery Box

OFFCenter Community Art Project

The gallery at OFFCenter Arts Project
The gallery at OFFCenter Arts Project

The gallery at OFFCenter Community Arts Project (808 Park Ave. SW) is a single wall, but what's significant is that the work on this wall is created in the room the art overlooks. "In short, our mission is to build community through art making," says Ron Breen, Interim Director. The gallery hosts six to eight exhibits a year. "The shows are non-juried," says Breen, "We want to focus on encouraging people to create art rather than qualifying it."

The community art space is a larger studio with materials and work spaces for painting, metal work, fashion, print work and framing. "Everything is free for artists to use," says Breen. "Most things are donated and we spend a few thousand bucks a year on supplies." Donations range from drawing paper to found objects, and Breen says the studio takes donations of anything someone would be able to process into art.

Breen likens the artistic outlet offered by OFFCenter to a social services program. “We don't keep client files, but it's indirect therapy,” he says. “Art can break cycles of isolation; get people to meet friends.”

OFFCenter participates in every First Friday ARTScrawl. Fiber Fanfare: Function to Fashion opens June 19; the only submission requirement was that artwork be at least 50 percent fiber, so the exhibit will also feature artwork from different media. "The neat thing is you never know what you're going to get; it's a wide variety of work," Breen says. In addition to the gallery, OFFCenter has a shop that sells some of the works created in the workshop.

OFFCenter also plans an annual Folk Art Festival. This year's festival, "We Art the People," will be held in September. OFFCenter hosts guitar lessons and creative writing workshops as well as “artXchange” gallery talks and studio demonstrations For a complete calendar of events, visit offcenterarts.org.

Open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m., Friday 1 to 5 p.m. and Saturday by appointment.