The Art Center is a community arts organization dedicated to improving quality of life by promoting the enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts and related arts through studio art instruction, educational programs for children and adults, exhibitions and the acquisition, care and display of a permanent art collection.
Western Colorado Center for The Arts (d/b/a The Art Center) has a long history of service to Western Colorado that began when community leaders spearheaded an effort to establish a permanent art institution for the Grand Valley community. This effort culminated in The Center's incorporation in 1953. The Art Center purchased a two-story house on Seventh Street in Grand Junction and an all-volunteer workforce accomplished the remodeling. As the community and The Art Center grew through the 1960s, expansion of its arts exhibition spaces and studios became a matter of paramount importance. With the help of area residents and businesses a new facility was erected just north of the original building and dedicated in 1970. Expansion continued with major additions in 1983 and 1993 to our current 13,000 square foot complex at the corner of 7th Street and Orchard Avenue housing four galleries, classroom and studio spaces, a gift shop, two enclosed courtyards, climate-controlled permanent collection storage area, and staff offices. The Center is currently in its 60th year of operation. The annual operating budget of over $400,000 is supported by over 1,200 individual and business memberships, 20 major sponsors, and revenue from educational programs, exhibition sales, fundraisers, philanthropy and grants.
Over the last few years exhibition and educational programs have grown tremendously. In the last three years The Center has built and grown its ArtAbility: Arts for All Program which serves mentally and physically challenged artists from the community of Grand Junction. In 2007, two adult workshops in painting and ceramics were offered; in the last six years this number has more than tripled. Last year over 20 workshops were offered, hiring both locally and nationally known artists. Three years ago The Center began exhibiting its permanent collection in three major external venues annually -- Mesa County Library, The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens and most recently in 2012 at St. Mary's Hospital.
"The Western Colorado Center for the Arts is truly committed to making art available, accessible and affordable to EVERYONE! Their programs for people with special needs have had a tremendous impact on many people, but most especially people with physical and intellectual disabilities. The classes are a form of therapy, they improve self-esteem, they teach new skills, help improve dexterity and fine motor skills, and offer so many other "soft benefits" related to new environments, new concepts and new friends.
The Western Colorado Center for the Arts is a wonderful asset to our community, with exceptional outreach to involve not just an elite few, but the entire community. They are also very promotional, for example they exhibit at many community events such as festivals promoting hands on art projects for children at the events.
An investment in The Western Colorado Center for the Arts will have great returns for the citizens of Grand Junction and the surrounding area."
- Jeff Nichols, CEO, STRIVE (Formerly Mesa Developmental Services)