Art Hive for All
The first time I pressed my face to the storefront window on the tiny strip mall across from Robinson Park, I knew something special was happening at 808 Park Ave. SW. I discovered a magical place where everyone who wishes to make art or learn through the creative art medium is welcome.
Since 2001, OFFCenter Community Arts Project has offered free and low-cost art and music classes, writing, card making, theatre and knitting groups, development courses for emerging artists, and connection and collaboration with others.
I took my first steps into OFFCenter 10 years ago as an Occupational Therapist, working with people often labeled developmentally disabled. OFFCenter considers us all community members, artists, friends, collaborators. In a place where unique gifts abound, labels fall away.
OFFCenter provides a place for us all to learn this lesson.
The value of OFFCenter cannot be underestimated. My experiences growing and belonging within this community drew me in; I became invested in keeping this treasure alive in Albuquerque. As a volunteer, community artist and board member, I learned firsthand of the continual struggle to keep OFFCenter afloat to be able to fulfill its mission: To enhance the lives of all people in our community, especially those who have been marginalized, through art-making and creative social interaction in a safe environment.
I urge the City of Albuquerque to ensure this treasure continues, officially making OFFCenter Albuquerque's Art Hive for All. This community treasure deserves support equal to the value and gifts it offers to any and all. Provide it with a permanent downtown home, enabling it to continue serving our city. It’s true: Art saves lives.