By ADAM FALLUJI – CENTO WRITER
Attending a liberal arts school means expanding your creative horizons and learning to impact the world in ways you had not yet imagined. At Centre, students have the convenience of living just up the street from the Community Arts Center, a place where one can practice doing exactly that.
This federal building on West Main Street has been an artistic heart of the Danville community since 2004.
A hub of different forms of expression, the Community Arts Center is currently displaying a Horizon Contemporary Landscape show, featuring fifteen pieces selected from a nationwide collection of submissions.
More than just paintings of rolling hills, the pieces offer contemporary takes on landscape in various different mediums, including photography, collages, paint, and even pixels.
A walk upstairs in the Community Arts Center will take viewers on a tour of Danville’s buildings, re-invented through the Mainstream Illustrated show. Local artists that meet in the building once a month created pieces based on the architecture of Main Street. Additionally The Heart of Danville donated some historic photos to the show.
The Community Arts Center has provided a way for local talent to share their vision. “I like [the Arts Center] because it’s a good place to interact with the public,” local artist Mark Wilhelm said. He has worked at the Community Arts Center since last September. “I don’t place a really high value on selling art; more than anything, I like to see people’s reaction to it, and hopefully it makes them happier,” Wilhelm said.
“The Arts Center is great for that because you get a lot of people coming through here. The art scene might not be the number one thing on [these visitors’] list, but they’re exposed to [art when they come through] here.”
Wilhelm is working on an upcoming show in Feb., featuring pieces made from recycled materials. He is also attempting to gather people with an interest in the video game MineCraft to see if he can repurpose their skills in the game towards creating art.
The Community Arts Center encourages students to get involved in their various classes.
“I hope that Centre students will come to the Community Arts Center and find inspiration from the art on the walls and music in the hallways to take a dance, drama, or painting class and learn how to express themselves in a new way,” Marketing Director Chelsea Compton said. Compton would also like to encourage students “to come intern or volunteer with us and gain work experience that will benefit them in the future.”
Taking advantage of the classes offered at the Arts Center has proven to be beneficial in the long run for many former students. One such Centre alumna, Mariel Smith, now works at the Communications Office on campus as a Communications Fellow. Before that, she worked as the Marketing Director of the Arts Center for a year, following her positive experiences volunteering there as a student.
“At first I walked past it all the time and didn’t think to look inside, and that’s something I regret, because there’s so much going on,” Smith said. “It’s easy to get in this ‘Centre bubble,’ where students and the Danville community aren’t mixing. The Arts Center is a great place to go get more involved with Danville.”
Along with taking classes, the Arts Center also offers opportunities for volunteering that can teach valuable skills.
“I was connected to something bigger than myself,” Smith said. “You can learn a lot of skills there, like how non-profits work, because the staff is so small that you can be intimately involved in running it.”
The hands-on experiences that come of volunteering at the Arts Center can be their own reward.
“The fundraisers we have on campus are great, but at the Arts Center you get to have a more direct connection with the people you’re helping,” Smith said. “You get to look someone in the eyes and know that you’re doing something good for them.”
Enriching experiences and an appreciation of the arts are what Centre College is all about, so the next time you pass the Danville Community Arts Center, take a peek inside.