Sunday, May 15, 2011

Community Arts Lab

The Community Arts Lab (CAL) was a unique experiment in community art making that has deeply informed the TAB narrative and practice. CAL was a learning environment, a production facility, a a gathering place, a theater, puppet production studio, gallery, library, office and who could forget “art-supply alley”. This was a place where artists and cultural workers of all ages could come to teach, create art, learn or launch new initiatives. Every day and evening was busy, with phones ringing and schedules packed. It was a dynamic environment that birthed many new initiatives at a time of renewed interest in civic engagement and social change.

There were several ongoing program areas that included workshops for people of all ages and abilities. These initiatives fell under four program areas:

  • Youth Community Arts Training Program (YATP)
  • Community Arts Training Program
  • Popular Education and Labor History
  • Women’s Space

Workshop samples included drawing, painting, sewing, paper making, print making, collage, photography and theme based workshops such as “How Would Fredrick Douglas Respond to Big Mountain?”, “Stone Soup” and “Community W.O.R.K.S.”.

From 1998-2004 CAL grew and developed alongside of TAB. Events became larger and more dynamic. CAL had outgrown it’s small studio. The center, maintained by a volunteer collective, simply didn’t have the resources needed to re-open at a new location that was up to code.

In 2004 the decision was made to close CAL, incorporating it’s rebirth into our long range planning. That day may not be far off, and as with all TAB projects, it will be something new, unexpected, exciting and cutting edge.