by KRISTEN SENZ
“Spaces make things happen.” That’s a common refrain at the FAR Center for Contemporary Arts, where an expanding lineup of workshops is opening up a variety of art forms to aspiring artists of all ages.
Making use of its modern, versatile space at the corner of its namesake intersection, Fourth and Rogers streets, the FAR Center started offering more workshops this fall, setting in motion a pre-pandemic plan to connect the community with new learning opportunities and talented local instructors, says Chaz Mottinger, FAR’s community engagement coordinator and workshop lead.
Recent workshops have lead participants on explorations of watercolors, photography, calligraphy, movement, and more. “It’s really nice to learn and spend time in such an inspiring space,” Mottinger says.
Some workshops, including those connected with current exhibits, take place in the Pictura Gallery. Others happen in the FAR library or the larger theater space, with glass garage doors that open for added ventilation.
A photography instructor, Mottinger leads the FAR Photo Review, a free monthly Zoom workshop that invites photographers of all levels to share and receive feedback on their work. The casual, pop-in atmosphere of the virtual meetup facilitates open discussion and often provides participants with inspiration for future work, she says.
After-school art classes and photo workshops for kids, as well as a Spanish music and language class for toddlers, were recent features of the Pictura Kids workshop series.
Some of the workshops are organized by FAR, while others are driven by local instructors, with FAR providing the space and assisting with program marketing. Ultimately, the FAR Center aims to be a community resource geared toward making the arts more accessible and inclusive, Mottinger says. She hopes to build out the workshop calendar even more next year and is open to workshop ideas from local arts educators.
The Pictura Gallery is free and open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mottinger encourages people to stop in and check it out. “We may look fancy,” she says, “but we don’t want that to deter people from coming in and being in this space.”