The Art Center has been off to a great start since its opening in 2017, including being recognized for its impact on the community and receiving the 2018 Governor’s Arts Award.
It currently offers an impressive menu of programming and events, including a wide variety of art and craft classes for all ages, painting style wine nights for adults and juice nights for kids, parties, live music and open mic nights in the outer space performance area, and a monthly rotating exhibition in the beautiful gallery space.
The Art Center has the potential to serve a significant role in improving the downtown entertainment, socialization and educational opportunities for the community. It is currently in need of a refined business plan, more staff and more space.
Renovations & Programming
The Art Center is currently using less than 20% of available space in the beautiful Eagles building. With a complete build out of this space the Art Center can offer significantly more social space and programming opportunities for the community, including an innovative new makers space.
Some of the updates and renovations could include:
The goal of a Makerspace is to foster innovation through the adaptation of advanced technologies and the advancement of the STEAM fields – science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Makerspaces provide collaborative stations designed for entrepreneurs, tinkerers, and anyone else wanting to learn new skills.
Oskaloosa is already an innovative community highly skilled at building, tinkering and creating as evidenced by the spectacular holiday parade. To further support this creative community culture, Oskaloosa should create a Makerspace within the Art Center for people of all ages to develop their skills and collaborate together.
The makerspace will bring in new audiences to the Art Center and provide more opportunity for the community with machinery and tools for industrial arts such as woodworking and ceramics in the basement as well as computer science and new technologies (such as 3D printing) on the first floor.
The Makerspace can be used on a drop-in basis or with a membership package. These packages could be excellent options for corporate benefits packages, awards or gifts as well.
Makerspace programming could include: Woodworking, computer coding, laser cutting, sewing and textiles, arts & crafts, graphic design, 3D printing, ceramics, games and puzzles.
Artist in Residence Program
The Art Center should consider creating an Artist in Residence program to continually bring in new talent, ideas, audiences, products and program offerings to the community. These residency programs have the potential to attract new talent from across the country and around the world and often they have a multi-year waiting list. It is recommended to work with many of the existing national arts organizations that can help promote this opportunity.
The artwork will be displayed or performed at the conclusion of the residency in a public event with an artist talk.
The artists can be from any discipline and the residency length could be 3, 6 or 12 months depending on the season and needs of the art center. The artist will receive free room and board in a newly remodeled space on the second floor and a monthly stipend of $500. They will be responsible for teaching classes, working special events, promoting the Art Center and creating a public piece of art working with community members (whatever their discipline).