ABQ “Local Art Hive”

August 9, 2017

As a normal byproduct of any fabrication and design studio, scrap material is always looking for ways to be transformed into something new. Submaterial typically generates felt and cork scraps, and we thoroughly enjoy finding creative organizations who can distribute these materials into the community. Through this search, we have found that we also learn more about other events and networks within the art and design community.

One Albuquerque organization we were recently introduced to is the OFFCenter Community Arts Project, which is a non-profit arts organization. Their goal is to give everyone a place to make art, while also promoting self-identity and creative social interaction.

“(Promoting) positive self-identity and resilience through art making by providing a safe environment for creative social interaction with an emphasis to enhance the lives of those most marginalized in our community.”

OFFCenter is considered an “Art Hive,” which means it is an “interactive community space that welcomes everyone as an artist.” The model of the Art Hive was developed by Dr. Janis Timm-Bottos, through twenty years of research, observation and adaptation, and experimentation of organizational structures. To date, there are 144 Art Hives around the world, twenty-three of which are in the United States.

OFFCenter offers many free studio options for creating and showcasing art, which are open to community members of all ages. The weekly workshops, which focus on art, music, and writing, are offered regularly and welcome “drop-ins,” with no sign-up necessary. In addition to the free weekly workshops in arts and crafts, there are occasionally Special Low-Cost Workshops, which teach a variety of media including clay, printmaking, metalsmithing, and more.

The organization accepts donations of art supplies, craft supplies, and office supplies. They also house a thrift store, where you can donate “unique or artsy” sellable items, and the proceeds go to support OFFCenter’s workshops and overall mission of providing a free and safe place with creative social interaction.

Each year in the Fall, OFFCenter puts on the Folk Art Festival, where they have a family-friendly arts and crafts market, and have dance and music entertainment. The Folk Art Festival is free to attend and offers a Giant Puppet Parade that anyone can participate in. They generally need 75 – 100 volunteers to run smoothly, and are currently accepting vendor sign-ups for the event. This event is not to support the OFFCenter, but to support the local art community / vendors. This year’s event will take place on October 1, 2017 at Robinson Park (located at 8th and Central).

OFFCenter utilized our felt donations for the Giant Puppets in the parade, as well as in creating bracelets in their studio space. They used other materials to decorate the felt bands, as seen below.

If you can donate craft materials or volunteer your time and skills in teaching, marketing, performing, mentoring, or organizing, feel free to visit their website or give them a call at 505-247-1172.

OFFCenter: www.offcenterarts.org

Free Workshops: www.offcenterarts.org/workshops/free-weekly-workshops

Art Hive: www.arthives.org

Folk Art Festival:  www.offcenterarts.org/events/folk-art-festival

Folk Art Festival Vendors: www.offcenterarts.org/folk-art-festival-vendors

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