Artist Surveys

What the OFFCenter artists/users have to say about OFFCenter….

These responses were collected from voluntary “Artist Surveys” which are handwritten and placed in a drop box in our studio – any time throughout the year. They can be submitted anonymously. Also, people can choose to indicate on the form how often they come to OFFCenter. If names or number of visits were provided, we submitted that, though omitted last their last names here to protect our studio users’ privacy, unless it was a professional agency representative/endorsement. If left blank after the quotes below, the form was submitted anonymously.

Survey Asks: “How does OFFCenter make a difference in your life?”

Responses –

2014 (as of June 1)

“So many things, the community, the camaraderie, it’s an inspiration to my creativity, and so much more. This place is absolutely priceless.”

OFFCenter makes a big difference in my life when I was not employed, it gave me an emotional outlet to deal with being all throughout. Even now that I feel better and am employed even being here 5 minutes, I feel better. I make it a point to come in as often as possible because it is like a grandparents’ house – you’re always welcome. I love participating in OFFCenter at whatever capacity I can because I feel the place is important. OFFCenter is community. OFFCenter!”
— Studio User Who Comes Over 100x/yr

“Self-expression is a lost art. Not many places can you be who you dream to be. In this studio freedom isn’t a word, it’s a way of life. Through the arts the human race can expand. It’s total understanding, not only of itself but the nature of the world around them. Thank all who make this place a reality.”
— Studio User who comes 100 x / yr

“Social time in a pleasant location, good light on cloudy days, the seemingly infinite supplies one could never buy in time to get things finished on time for gift-giving. The difference between lonely struggle and finding a niche where associations are mutually productive. Always a learning experience when I get smug. The studio is flat-out inspiring.”
— Studio User Who Comes 20x/yr

“So much of my life revolves around arts and now I can really do anything when it comes to the arts.”

“I live off the city limits and when I come to the city and have to wait for the bus or tram OFFCenter is a place to finish my work to sell on the weekend. My ride into town is the railroad and the next one is after 4:30 to 5:00 works real well for me. I’m glad this place is here and I take the free downtown bus down here.”

“It gives me a safe and nurturing community resource to connect with others as I engage in art making. OFFCenter is a space for positive play.”
— Studio User Who Comes ~ 24x/yr

“Personally, OFFCenter has been a place to re-group and restore – an oasis (if you will) in the madstorm! The various workshops and projects should stimulate a sense of community and also help sustain old arts and pride of craftsmanship. I believe that offering an actual, supportive environment for creativity actually keeps us at higher levels of being and productivity.”

“I love that there is a place with a lot of room and light I can work in. I don’t have the space in my tiny apartment to work in. I’m very happy there is a place like OFFCenter.”
— Studio User who comes 1x/wk

“Here I find peace of mind!! Safety!! and an array of fellow artists in truest form! The people of different walks of life as well as elderly and young. And they too feel at home here!! I thank New Mexico…their home away from home or their home period. I want to thank all!!! Who come through the doors of the gallery. Thank you and God Bless!”

“My kid[s] (especially the one who would prefer to be parked in front of a [TV] screen,) come in and use their IMAGINATION. They problem solve, learn assembly and re-envisioning techniques, cross paths with all sorts of folks from all walks of life that they can learn and be inspired from. Thanks for being here!”
— Wendy M., 6+ visits

“OFFCenter is filled with beautiful, talented people who put a smile on my face every time I am here. OFFCenter is a fun and educational place to be. You learn many new and different things. Lots of creative people and lots of cool and creative artwork. J It is a positive place and I really enjoy being here. It is very peaceful!”
— Corina C. H.

“OFFCenter has made a huge difference because it has given me a place I could go to stay out of trouble and given me a creative alternative to doing drugs”
— Arthur H.

2013

“My daughter suffers from a form of agoraphobia. This is one of the places she feels comfortable coming to. Thanks OFFCenter”

 “I have appreciated the events held by the ‘OFFCenter Space’ in art exhibits and community events. These activities and events are needed for the community to thrive. It is a great space with free materials for artists with a minimal budget. It is great to have a space to consign art for sale. I love to donate art supply materials to OFFCenter, introduce new people to the space and I did story tell here once or twice? Thanks for being here.”
— Ms. H.-M., 8 Visits

“I had lost me creative spark and the accessible nature of OFFCenter has given it back a way back in. The ‘walk-in’ aspect is important, as the creative urge cannot always fit into a fixed timetable. The fact that no money needs to change hands is important to those who have little materially but plenty of expression to channel into art. I have wanted to get back to doing art for some time but hadn’t found the right thing until I came here. OFFCenter is welcoming and not judgmental, and that allows me to feel my way into it without pressure”
— Dominique D., Visits: “As often as possible”

“By providing a safe space to be myself, meeting creative people, having a place to do art where I am supported and validated. Sharing skills with others and having fun! Having a place (the shop) to sell my work. Being able to contribute my time to community events (also have contributed work for the auction of ‘little houses’ and get my work seen in public.)  
— Jenny D., Visits: Every week/ 50-60x per year

“It [OFFCenter] makes a lot of differences. One is behind every artist is a story that can be told. Second reason is with every story has a meaning behind it all. Lastly, is the many limitless possibilities of what people can do to express many feeling that some would rather do something stupid instead of express themselves in a healthy, non-judgmental, uncontrollable and very artistic gallery of ways that could help more than any one person themselves can explain with words alone. That’s how OFFCenter makes a difference in my life. I have asbergers and AD/HD or ADD and my art starts with music and continues with pictures of paintings, drawings, as well as poetry and other art. Art is not only in the eyes of the beholder, but also the ears, mouth, nose and hands of the beholder and it all comes from the heart.”
— William (“Wolf”) H., Visits: “well over ten times” per year

“Helps me control my mind and balance my concern on life. Thank you”
— Loren J., Visits: “Often”

“Second time coming to the studio great environment, and all the possibilities are amazing, you all are very much appreciated. Thank you so very much.”
— Martha C., Visits: “twice monthly, possibly more”

“It gives me a safe and awesome place to hang out. It brings peace into my life. It helps to keep my depression at bay. I like that they give all these cool free lessons (like the guitar and knitting classes). It’s a great environment to work, play and hangout for all ages and different social classes. Yet everyone comes together and enjoys each others’ company. Thank you. :-)”
— Faith K., Visits: “at least twice a week”

“OFFCenter makes a difference in my life because I can come here when I am needing something to do. I can make things to sell and for me and my brothers do not fight.”
— Madalynn, Visits: “everyday”

“This is the first time my family and I have been here. I can surely tell you this won’t be the last. The people that work here are awesome! My daughter, who loves art, wants to come every day as long as she does well in school. Our family will be bringing in some items to donate and donating cash as well, we would like to thank whom ever opened these doors to the public, awesome, awesome, awesome!!”

“Make me a happy — day of art”
— Socorro

“OFFCenter has been a safe place for me to come for socialization and art making. The director and store manager have always been kind to me and to who[m]ever comes through the doors. I count on this center for the consistency of its mission, helpful staff, for the supportiveness I need as an artist, the encourage[ment] is given generously to all. I want OFFCenter to be here forever and sometimes worry they will close their doors for lack of funding. That would be a travesty.”
— G.K., Visits: [for the past] “6 years”

“It is nice to see what other people are making. Most people make really cool stuff. It is nice to be free.”

“The OFFCenter inspires me to be a better artist. The freedom in creation and meeting others with a passion like us (my daughter and I). Ron [Executive Director] was an excellent source of getting to know the place. I will definitely be back and recommend it to anyone. I will miss this place!”
— Eubie A., Visits: “Every chance I get.”

“Very much so. Thankful. Thanks again”
— Amy R., Visits: “First time here.”

“OFFCenter provides me with a community of artists as well as inspiration and support. I met three artists today in less than an hour. They allow me to feel a little bit of my art through the Folk Art Market. Also, every time I come in I feel freed up to be creative with materials. Thanks so much for these opportunities!”
— Rachelle M., Visits: “10x/yr”

“A 56 year-old, displaced, divorced after 25 years, Mexican/American woman who left the world of abuse and begin to paint, sculpt, and write needs a place to hang out and create that is safe and provides free resources in order to perfect my craft and become a viable source of income, divorced, female, artist, survivor- need I say more- I wish this was around when I was in high school. It could have saved me years of drama, struggle and pain. Everyone here is benefitting from its existence – I can see it in their smiles – young and old alike.”
— Marge P., Visits: “Over 100x a year”

“OFFCenter offers me a place to hold a stable footing in the art world by facilitating a non-judgmental and non-bias community, where everyone is learning and growing. Here people are allowed to grow organically with a variety of art forms and support, that all people may find their path and their passion, void of economic or social pressures that may otherwise limit us in the outside world. The dream of being respectful and honored for our efforts becomes a daily reality here and all one needs to do is show up and stay focused and the rest is art in the making”
— Heron B., Visits: “100 if I’m in town”

2012

“The art of many, many different artists!!! Truly did impress me!!! Also, am an artist (and general contractor and handy man!) I enjoy Leather Work! And would like to attend your guitar lesons! As I am a beginner? (old beginner, ha ha) I look forward to coming to your many classes offered by your art studio!! Also you gave me the job I needed! Until later?”
— Artist attending OFFCenter for first time

“I first discovered OFFCenter in 2004, shortly after I moved to Albuquerque. My first five years here were very rough; I was assaulted shortly after moving here and couldn’t find steady employment. OFFCenter gave me a job as a maintenance person and a place to sell my jewelry creations. I’ve met many fine people there who have become like family to me. OFFCenter gave me hope during hard times and kept me going. I know there are many others with similar stories. There are many disadvantaged people with true artistic talent and great character. OFFCenter provides these individuals with an outlet for expression and the opportunity to sell their creations. In addition, the organization is a true community where people can learn, teach, collaborate, network, and just plain make friends. There’s even a little food for those who are hungry. I am now employed full-time as a veterinary technician and make a little money selling my jewelry on the side. I am an OFFCenter success story, and I know there are many others. I believe in OFFCenter so much that I joined the Board of Directors! OFFCenter is truly one of Albuquerque’s bright spots!”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter Arts 50 times a year

“It lets me and Christina come here to make art. It lets me have a place for my job. My job with Christina is called community access. I have to take her to a group setting such as this OFFCenter. People come together and make art. If there is a volunteer ops that fit her needs, please call me [phone number listed]. She can clean.”
–Artist who comes to OFFCenter 10 times a year

“The OFFCenter provides a positive environment to do crafts and be creative. It helps me be a role model to my clients 12 – 17 yrs old. These girls whom have behavioral disorders don’t find much kindness in the outside world. Thank you OFFCenter for making this possible.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 2 times a year

“It offers high quality art classes at a very affordable price. It connects artists of all walks of life, from the very privileged to the very homeless, geniuses and disabled. We all learn from each other, especially in the generosity of spirit that we find here. At OFFCenter, I have grown not only in my artistic skill-set but also in camaraderie and as a person, as exploring the art has lead to personal exploration and growth.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 50 times a year

“By letting us use the supplies we need to use for our art project. Thank you!”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 1 time a year

“We get to express are [sic] fealings [sic] in art.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 2 times a year

“By letting me use the stuff and I can make stuff with it. Thank you!”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 2 times a year

“I find that OFFCenter is a fabulous place to go to meet others with similar interests, as well as learn the talent of playing an instrument. OFFCenter also gives all of us an opportunity to display and sell our art.”

“People here kind. People here are friendly. Staff and artists are helpful. I can make art and crafts here which otherwise I could not do. This OFFCenter creates and promotes community.
OFFCenter:
• promotes the arts in ABQ
• makes making art affordable
• is multigenerational, multicultural
• promotes non-judgement
• is all inclusive
• promotes inspiration and cross-fertilization”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter once a week

“I found out about OFFCenter at Noon Day [homeless services] [and that OC] has guitar lessons. I learned where you are, then came a first time yesterday for more guitar lessons. Today, I came to the crochet, knitting class. I am a 28 year veteran at crochet but to create with others can be a neat experience. I was delighted to experience a lady who is considered perhaps by some an eye sore (a street person) but she was drawing something very good before she had dozed off for a nap. It reminded me how each of us has beauty if we choose to express it. Because of OFFCenter, she has a place to express creativity and quietly, yet beautifully show the world she too has gifts to give and express. Because of this, I have grown to be more excepting [sic] of others. So thank you. P.S. the space, too is inspiring. And I enjoyed the donated food very much.”

“I see OFFCentr as a place of inspiration and a great support: they offer the space for self-expression, and the opportunity to connect with others who are also expressing themselves.”

“It brings me great joy because I meet people I’d never meet otherwise – people from different backgrounds. And joy in creating, inspired by all the other artists here.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 12 times a year

“This place is a good place I’ve been before. I’ve been with OFFCenter so many years, I enjoy this place. I enjoy it. Thanks.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 4 times/wk for 10 years

“It makes my soul smile and stress become less! Thank you so much!”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 2 times a year

“It’s a place to do your artwork, peaceful. Place to relax, enjoy your artwork.”
–Artist who comes to OFFCenter 10 times a year

“This center gives me the opportunity to bring my children to a place where they can come to express themselves through art. They use their imagination, creativity, problem solving skills. It is god sent for me a grandma to have a free, amazing place with helpful, loving staff. We feel safe here and stress free. We love coming here. We make gifts for family, we learn to share cooperate and meet new friends. It offers unique shop for gifts and an endless supply of materials. My grandson sews here and we have quality time as a family. We try to donate each time something to show are [sic] appreciation. There is no place else in the city like the OFFCenter. I also do cards and it is therapeutic to be able to come here and create!! The yearly art show and parade connects the center and the community. I have been coming for several years and I hope it is here for us in the future. This center definitely has made a difference in mine and my grandkids’ life. Statements from my grandkids: Age 10 “I like doing art.”, Age 5 “I like stamping and painting.” Age 11: “They have lots of neat stuff.”
–Artist who comes to OFFCenter 20 times a year

“Great resource to have in the neighborhood I live in.”
–Artist who comes to OFFCenter 12-15 times a year

“OFFCenter helps improve the quality of my life and those of my clients. I bring people with developmental disabilities here and they can make art. Most important they feel welcome and accepted. The existence of this center fulfills requirements by NM Dept of Health which requires people with disabilities to be integrated with the community. Also, it improves the quality of the neighborhood where I live!”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 12 times a year

“I’m back. Took about 10 minutes and the art part of my brain is working again. Just watching people do art. I don’t have to do it. I feel like I’m alive again. There was part missing.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter “many” times a year

“I’m recently moved to ABQ, NM from San Francisco, CA after finishing my bachelor’s degree. I’m a multi-media artist working heavily in textiles at the moment, out of a home studio. I’ve come to OFFCenter as a place where I can work freely in a social environment as it can get lonely in my own studio at times. I really enjoy the diversity of OFFCenter’s community, and I love the freedom to work with all the supplies and resources here. I wish I had had a place like this to work in San Francisco.”

“OFFCenter makes a difference in my life because it offers me the only free creative resource center in ABQ. Here, I can paint, sew, knit, write and explore different ways of being. I can join with other creative folk and learn together. I can come alone and feel connected and welcomed as soon as I walk in the door. Everytime I come to OFFCenter, I feel safe and supported as a community member healing more into my true creative self.”

“OFFCenter is one of the only places I’ve encountered that is a free resource for creative endeavors of many kinds for many kinds of people. It is vital that a community resource that embodies the ideal of freedom be readily available. OFFCenter makes a difference in my life because it is a place where I can freely express myself with no money needed or expected. This is important to me because I make very little money.”

“What a fun place!”

“OFFCenter is the only venue for art in my children’s lives. Thank you! The supportive staff, art displaying and free materials make art 100% accessible to our family!”

“My feeling for this OFFCenter of Art is how neat it is to have hands-on and accessibility to be able to do it on your own. The “free”ness and food the pay class they offer and how friendly your staff is a plus. Well appreciated.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter “many” times a year

“Greatest place ever, we need more function such as this.”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 2 times/week

“OFFCenter is very therapeutic for me. I enjoy working on different arts. OFFCenter brings me down to earth level when I’ve had too much coffee, or a hard day…I can totally relax and allow the positive energy flow thru me….And then the artistic side can flow with cool, fun, imagination. I bring family and friends and they enjoy coming here as well…OFFCenter is a great place for our community…It should have its own commercial for more people to know about this gallery.”

“The workshops and events provide a positive and tranquil experience for the community! I am grateful this space exists!”
— Artist who comes to OFFCenter 3 times/week

“I have fun here because I meet people and I enjoy it. It gives me something to do; it gets me out of the house. I enjoy working with beads. There are all different kinds of lives here. Interesting talking to the people. They offer food to people in need. It’s also helpful to build relationships. Arts OFFCenter is a great place to keep open. I am happy when I come here.”
— J. with disability is an OFFCenter artist who comes approximately 48 times a year

“There is a great sense of community here. Various walks of life and it gives people a sense of purpose and expression. Very open and welcoming environment. The staff and volunteers are very friendly and helpful. There are always various classes taught here that enable individuals to learn new crafts and skills. It’s good to see the various forms of artwork that people in the community create with recycled materials.”
— K. is a therapist/caregiver OFFCenter artist who comes approximately 48 times a year

“This is my first time visiting OFFCenter. I am so impressed with everything! At first I was struck by how many supplies and beautiful art pieces were in the studio. The place was calm yet busy and energetic and I felt very welcome. There were people painting, sewing, and someone playing the piano (the music was really lovely to make art to). Everyone seems to know someone else and there is a real feeling of community here. I am so amazed that a place like this exists! It is a wonderful resource for artists and individuals. It seems like you could make anything that you wanted here, whatever your imagination could conjure, you could make. I plan on returning here and cannot believe I’ve never been here before. What a wonderful place! I’m in love!”
— a “first time” OFFCenter artist

“I’m on disability and sometimes never go out of my apartment. OFFCenter helps me to get out around people and have a good time, learn skills in a safe low cost atmosphere.”

“OFFCenter has opened up my eyes to how a place can bring people up even when they are at the bottom. From an observer point of view I have met and witnessed many people that don’t have anywhere else to go. People that are going through some serious life crisis come here and are able to be at a safe place where I feel they can have some sort of hope. To be able to create anything that you want without judgment or rules, a true place of creativity and acceptance. On a personal not I am here to observe for a class at UNM. I am also going through some personal stuff in my life. There were times when I was sitting at home waiting for my time to come here. The experience that I have had hen I am here makes me feel so accepted and safe. The art making and freedom has helped me to let out my feelings and emotions through my art. This place is amazing and I am completely thrilled that I have found this place. I had no idea this place even existed. I ant to tell everyone about it now. I want to bring my boyfriend, my niece, and my family here. I love this place!”

“Although I have two expensive degrees in fine art from recognized American institutions (plus European study) and staggering student loans, I have not been able to secure employment in art-related jobs or galleries. I have lived at the poverty level most of my adult life owning nothing and inheriting nothing. I have no complaints as I was rich in family and friends and good health. Making art, however, continued to be a need, a passion, a purpose. I have never been affiliated with any art galleries for I do not care for the pressure, the pretentious environment, the elitism, as well as the large percentage they require on sold work. When I found OFFCenter in March 2002, I immediately participated in their functions and was able to place my art in their gallery/gift shop. It has been a win-win collaboration ever since. OFFCenter is an arts community that is friendly, warm, easygoing, a gallery with the girdle off. In these economically strapped times, OFFCenter is godsend. It is an important project for many people and families in American life. I continue to support it as much as I can.”
— OFFCenter artist who comes approximately 40 times a year

“OFFCenter has made an impressive imprint on my life, and with each visit to the center it is evident how it positively impacts others who also spend time here. As an artist and an art educator in the Albuquerque community, OFFCenter has demonstrated to be a safe, consistent space for individuals with creative ambitions to find solace within a non-judgmental community. OFFCenter is a wonderful place that offers a multitude of resources for anyone to use. Since the first time I walked into OFFCenter, and with each returning visit, I am in awe of the work space that buzzes with creativity and ispiration; the sense of understanding and compassion that those who work at OFFCenter and those who show up display; and the hope that OFFCenter and its resources offers to so many. OFFCenter is truly a gem for Albuquerque. It is for anyone and everyone from baby to those in their prime. And, after speaking to several of the “regulars” who frequently spend time at OFFCenter, it is clear that OFFCenter is a refuge to many… and many would be lost without it. I have never experienced such a wonderful community art space in its generosity, and the help it offers to all who enter through its doors. Albuquerque is fortunate to have OFFCenter and would not the same without it!”

“To Whom It May Concern:

            It is my pleasure to tell you how important and valuable are the services of OFFCenter in the community. My name is Rick and I’m a community Support Worker for Partners In Wellness. I find that a lot of clients need a safe place to able to socialize in the community and not isolate so often. I find OFFCenter that place for my clients. They can actually draw, paint, work on different crafts which make them feel better about themselves. Plus other people recognizing them and using their name at OFFCenter builds up their self-esteem, and they want to return. The staff and volunteers are very friendly and helpful, which makes my job as case worker easier. I think very highly of OFFCenter and I’m very thankful to their services in the community.

            Thank you! Rick Lytle” –Rick an OFFCenter supporter 

2011

“1. Well it’s alway [sic] here! Help establish a support circle in the community and structure. 2. because its part my routine. Persons of all abilities is always welcome and not overwhelmed with professional trying to force their will upon them. If it weren’t for OFFCenter a lot of peoples needs would not be met.”
— Artist who claims to use OFFCenter “156 + 1 day for leap year” times per year

“well I appricate [sic] the wonderful service here, I always loved art. I enjoy doing my art here. From a talented person you all are doing a good job providing all of this open for all people.”

“This wonderful place allows me to be a part of helping others to make art. I am also beginning to draw again, and the class I take here is helping me work past being dysgraphic. Thank you! I buy art here and I plan to work in many media here.”
— an artist who reported being “new” but now coming weekly to OFFCenter

“Because it reminds me to have determination and never give up in what I believe in.”

“When I walk in this place, it gives me inspiration and it reminds me when I was doing artwork with my aunt.”
— Artist who uses OFFCenter “1” time per year

“I like all the people in the art place. I fill [sic] good about come over here. I like all the people.”

“I really have only been in the area for less than 2 months, so it hasn’t really made a great deal of difference. Your work is fun and the studio atmosphere is warm. The work is of very good quality and the use of materials is both creative and inspiring. I look forward to meeting more of you.”

“OFFcenter gives me a chance to hang with my stepdaughter and create away from the chaos of llife. Provides space to explore, create, meet new people, energize, wind down, opens eyes and doors. It’s the best. Happy new year!”

“Inspiration and artists high [sic] wonderful place.”

“Healing trauma in a safe place. Thank you!”

“OFFCenter has created a central location for all types of people to come together and get to know one another through art. This space is super important to me and my life because I know I can come here to create for FREE and meet wonderful people. I feel this is a safe space and one that is open to all. I feel good coming here and it’s therapeutic, too! I’ve taken lots of inspiring classes a little or no cost which I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to take. I LOVE OFFCenter.”
— Artist who claims to come to OFFCenter “30+ (at least!)” times a year

“I am writing this for the man I bring here. He loves his art. This place is nice for him to come to. He does draw at home, but it’s good for him to get out. Otherwise, he will watch movies or sports on his TV. I am so happy he has a place to come. The people who come here seem to be good people. I think the people who open the doors, volunteer their time. Good people. Thank God for them.”
— caregiver for an individual she brings to OFFCenter on a regular basis

“A non-judgemental [sic] place where I can express myself with resources I may not be able to use without OFFCenter. OFFCenter enriches the city with it’s [sic] events and programing [sic] for anyone and everyone. Its [sic] eclectic diversity makes it a jewel to the downtown area.”
— Artist who claims to come to OFFCenter “30+” times a year

“OFFCenter make [sic] a difference in my life because it gives an alternite [sic] place for my cousin w/dissabities [sic] to have a harrassment [sic] NO BIAS enviroment [sic] where she can come and work on projects and other art w/her tharipist. [sic]”
— comes to OFFCenter “20” times a year

“For our clients, we are able to allow them to show their emotions thru the art they do here at the OFFCenter. We all enjoy coming every week to express ourselves.”
— Share Your Care representative who says they all come 48x year to OFFCenter

“It shows that I can express myself and it opens up me showing who I am and I can meet other people by their art even without meeting them but I can meet artist (virbly) [sic] and get ideas.”

“OFFcenter helps mommy feel better”

“Safe place to express creativity!”
— artist who claims to come “12 – 20” times per year to OFFCenter

“– I am inspired by other artists
— It enhanced my llife, fills me with joy
— allows me a space to show and sell my crafts.
— good people!”

“One of the very few public open submittal art venue [sic] left!!”

“Perhaps now more than at any other time (in the course of my lifetime) the creation of art in its many forms. The development of musical skills as well as the exploration of literature need [sic] to be valued and nurtured as intrinsic to human experience and expression. For me personally, OFFCenter offers the incentive and opportunity to pursue new skills, to communicate with others, and to contribute individually and collectively to the community. Everyone is an artist and everyone has the right to artistic expression. OFFCenter emphatically supports this premise and makes a difference in the lives of all of us.”

“It gives me oppurtunities [sic] and idease I can’t get anywhere else. I am free to explore new fields [sic] that I couldn’t at home or in school. Here (at OFFCenter) I found my trade and practiced it. It has sparked my artistic talent and taught me techniques that allowed me to sell my art successfully in the studio.                 The environment here is very posotive. [sic] Fellow artists are eager to share knowledge and help one another. It is easy to make friends and art. Each day I expand my knowledge more and hone in on skills. Everyone is very passionate about what they do and you can practically feel the freindlyness [sic] and creative energy. People are eager to support each other and praise triumphs generously, encourage expansion.
     These are the reasons I became a volunteer over the summer, in order to help the studio I love. It filled my time in the summer months with happiness, knowledge, inspiration and good times. It helped my youngest brother and I heal from the troubles in our lives, and when I go back to school in August, I can honestly say I had a very productive summer.
     Please stay open, and I love you all!”
— written by a 14-year old artist/volunteer who comes “more than 30” times a year

“OFFCenter made a difference today turning me with their caring and concern to my nature of happiness with their environment of materials to form art, an expression of my inner images. Turning me into a self and identity, a presence in my world and the world of others focusing my energies to form my nature of happiness.”

“Art is therapeutic. I’m not sure I have any talent. I had breast cancer only in my right breast and right lymph nodes in 2008. I’ve always enjoyed creating art since I was a child. My mother enjoys oil painting, although I only like non-toxic media, especially after having chemotherapy.”
— Artist who comes “4?” times a year to OFFCenter

“I come to OFFCenter for company and to seek friendship, to be of service, to be part of artist community.”
— a 94-year-old artist who comes to OFFCenter

“OFFCenter was an oasis for my art hungry soul. Thank you.”

“OFFCenter made difference. By as a result of their environment I express my inner images in my art making setting. I made a cowboy hat I wear and a necklace to hold my glasses on. Their writing group increased my self-esteem. Their staff listened to me and shared my joy in my art making….I now feel a difference as a more whole human being.”
— artist who claims to come to OFFCenter “twice a week.”

“Brought art back into my life – yea! Thank you!”

“OFFCenter enriches my life by creative art in a community setting. I love the teachers who teach art. I am happy to make a contribution for a class.”

“It keeps me busy, and I like to come. I have good friends. I like to make things that make me happy.”
— Elderly woman who comes “2 times a week” to OFFCenter

“The generosity is paramount as well as the accepting environment. To have such an open venue creates open doors, open avenues, for people in so many ways. People are always nice also. That always helps and makes it easy to come here. It’s beautiful that OFFCenter is very down to earth.”

“OFFCenter has given me several more hours a week to expand my style and process toward a living made by art.”

“I believe art making makes a difference. I am [convinced] that every human wants to function and even shine to be full-functioning [sic]. In our family living we want to relate in a healthy exciting way. We can share our shame about what we wish we were – we can share our guilt which [?] us to be all that we can be. We can share our fear and as we breathe together our common breath as our [?] can grow courage and smiles to share while we are about the art. Art making is one times [illegible] OFFCenter is for me a way to become aware of my inner images, a [?] for my hidden energies. The expressive arts I share my self and others see what I can’t see outside of my studio of art making. I believe that those I have been found by I have intermingled push themselves in our world by my art making. Often, I am seized by forces I am not aware and somehow in making art I become unaware of depth of my experience that help me the….

2010

“OFFCenter has given me an outlet for creativity and a place to get away from the lonely apartment. So many people who [are] disabled, jobless, or elderly need an outlet for socialization and to gain skills of all kinds. OFFCenter meets a need that seniors or other community centers do not meet because OFFCenter serves many different kinds of people from all backgrounds.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “over 100” times per year

“I have been coming to OFFCenter for about 4 years. I find OFFCenter lifting because I do art therapeutically and meet wonderful people. I have also acquired skills and techniques while at OFFCenter.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “over 150” times per year

“It allows me to use my time wisely, and to be around others who also love art. I enjoy their art and the time we all got into art. Alleviated depression and being too alone. It’s a great center. I hope it stays open always. I come as often as I can.”

“The first time I noticed the OFFCenter was about two years ago. I meant to inquire on it, but never did. Last week, I walked in and was fascinated. The staff is helpful and friendly; the artists that come to the center are very respectful and willing to teach others their art. I was amazed by all the materials, the workshops, the equipment and assortment of tools for our use. I suffer from severe depression and the OFFCenter has really brighten my days. It has made a great difference in my life and I feel a sense of peace and also very creative at this wonderful center.
— artist who uses OFFCenter “150” times per year

 “It helps me to get out of the house and be around other artists and like the convenient location.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “156” times per year

“OFFCenter serves so many purposes. For me, I attend a Tuesday class for two hours. I learn each week from a teacher and other students. I love that there is no economic strata. We all work together. The center provides a wonderful creative energy and space. I enjoy being with all sorts of artists, but also being able to work alone.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “20” times per year

“This place was a good place to come and take time to have fun with life and a good way to stay out of trouble but I love all art and would come here any time I’m back in Albq. And would tell people to come here and see how much fun this place is.”

“Since I have no job, or money, OFFCenter lets me create what I wish. It makes a monumental difference in my life.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter  “260” times per year

“Oh, the wandering artist. How many times have people said that. Any day I go to the OFFCenter is a good day, because I hate to stay home. It has help me to see that artists need each other. People need to be around other people. Artists and craftsmen, craftsladies among like minds. An idea is born when ideas are flowing freely among creative people, atmosphere and conducive to exploring the inner child.”

“I came to OFFCenter in the first place because I thought it would be a service for people who had no other place to go to make art. That was in 2001. The years have gone by and I am now 94 years old, as I age, my life is slower but OFFCenter, because more and more valuable to me and to more and more people. It is an inspiring place to me and to many others.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “45” times per year

“I have attended the Tuesday drawing and painting class regularly for over a year. I have attended many an art class, but this one with Dave Blecha at OFFCenter has provided me with the most nourishment and support of all. Partly it’s due to Dave. His openness, his love of art, his passion for the creative process…it’s infectious. But it is also due to the environment, the atmosphere at OFFCenter. Whenever I go to OFFCenter, the place is alive with activity. It’s buzzing with people of all socio-economic levels, of all manner of artistic interest (metalwork, painting, sewing, printmaking, etc., etc.). I find this “buzz” incredibly inspiring. It motivates me. It moves me to continue my own artistic endeavors. OFFCenter is important to me right now, since I am emerging as an artist. OFFCenter provides an open space for artistic expression. There is no judgment, no pressure, no dogma that impinges upon one’s natural inclination to create art. I find this openness to be essential to my continued development.
            What is also important is that OFFCenter provides a meeting place for people of similar interest. OFFCenter sustains a community of artists (of all ages, of all abilities, of all levels, of livelihood) where we can see each other’s creations and share with each other’s successes and failures, where we have opportunity to give and to receive from one another. I am fortunate that I have found my way to OFFCenter’s doors. May its doors forever remain open.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “~50” times per year

“OFFCenter is a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of race and status. It is not only a great place to meet new friends, but you can’t help but be inspired by what is going on around you. OFFCenter may look cluttered on the inside from all of the donations, but the atmosphere is extremely relaxing and one feels refreshed after spending some time there. It is good for the soul.”
— artist who uses OFFCenter “120” times per year

“I am at OFFCenter 3 – 4 days a week. I work at the Center as a ServiceCorps employee. This provides me with a salary and a steady job while I’m in school. This is the best possible job I could have. I get to be of service daily to help anyone at [OFFCenter.] I provide labor to help day to day services continue. I also learn a great deal about art, community, working as a team member to make OFFCenter as efficient as possible. I am also learning a lot of valuable computer and printing skills. I help clean and organize the studio daily. A great number of people depend on OFFCenter in many ways. It’s my honor to help in any way I can.”
— CNM ServiceCorps employee at OffCenter

“If I didn’t have an outlet for my creative energy, I would stay home and feel sorry for myself. Isolation is a bad thing. People are social beings and need to have others in their lives. Too much isolation is bad and too much crowded undirected energy is bad, too. I’m learning to find a balance of alone quiet time to reflect, plan, problem solve, work on a group project, ask others for important input and disregard that which is not important in the scheme of life. When all else fails it helps to know I have a higher power and I don’t have to know all the answers to everything. Some call it group think – group conscience, collective conscience. Water is my element, because born under the zodiac sign of Pisces, the 2 fish. Mutable which means changeable. I think we are in the age of pisces…”

“The fabric of my life has created many quilts with all the various places and people I have crossed paths with. OFFCenter is another place such as these however it is the most colorful! My life as an art and music teacher has always been about others and nurturing their talents. I found this place, while sharing in another artist’s enthusiasm for paint, his “picture of life,” lead him here to find his way as an artist. I suddenly realized I had not been nurturing my own art and go lost somewhere along the way. As I was busy about the arts and mentoring him, I made this discovery while visiting OFFCenter. In my life as an artist of song, I painted many “sound pictures” and never really gave it much thought. As I walked…

“It helps me stay focus on myself. Brings out the kid in me. Helps me keep an open mind about different outlook on the outside of my own little mind. It helps me in so many ways that now I see in inner-self a lot. (the Happy go luck little girl) Thank God for OFFCenter.”
— artist who claims to use OFFCenter “5” times per year

“This place makes a difference in my life because it makes you think of not just only what you are here for but what you can make of yourself and to become what nothing in the world looks at you as but looks at you of what you made of it, and so they say “expression” of a different life.”
— artist who claims to use OFFCenter “5” times per year