calendar & activities
support & membership
H I S T O R YWhen Oak Ridge was founded for the Manhattan Project, individuals were brought to the newly formed city from all over the world. Isolated "behind the fence," they needed facilities to socialize, entertain, and provide intellectual and creative stimulation. They formed small interest groups and studied or worked together in specific areas of interest. The arts were a primary area of interest and brought people together with joy and the unique spirit of creative energy. Individuals worked in a variety places and loosely organized ways until 1952 when a small group of those participants banded together to create a formal structure and lasting presence for the visual arts in the community as the Oak Ridge Community Art Center.
The program was housed in rented spaces for several years before building an arts specific facility at the current site, 201 Badger Avenue, in 1968. The center had one multipurpose studio, one gallery, and a small work area for loading, storage, and maintenance. Later that small work room became our pottery studio and soon after we built a small addition for kilns. The program grew. Demand for exhibitions and educational programs was high. In 1978, two new galleries, a reception area and two walled gardens were added to the front of the facility and the old gallery was converted to studio space. As interest in hand made ceramics grew, the pottery department grew into the storage and maintenance areas and an area for outdoor kilns was added to pursue reduction firing and raku. In 1998, the walled gardens were enclosed, creating the Lee Shoup, Alice Runtsch Library and the Mirjam Koehler Collection Archives facility. As demand for programs increased and our pottery department not only outgrew that facility, but the capacity of the adjoining studio, we acknowledged the need for a much expanded ceramics facility. In 2007, we expanded the pottery facility, replacing the old kiln facility, kiln shed, and more than doubling the space.
Since 1952, the Oak Ridge Community Art Center has been a vital part of the cultural life of Oak Ridge and the surrounding communities. Our primary purpose is to support the experience, enjoyment of and participation in the visual arts. To accomplish that goal, we have developed programs for artists and arts enthusiasts alike. We are a museum with a world class collection and a rotating schedule of exhibitions in our galleries and a visual arts education center with classes and workshops in our studios. In each we strive to produce quality art programs that stimulate and enrich. Known locally as the "Oak Ridge Art Center" or the "Art Center", 0ur programs serve approximately 50,000 visitors, a membership of 400, and more than 1500 artists and student artists annually. In addition, we participate outside our facility providing arts experience on the street or in festivals around the region. The majority of our members and audience are from Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Cumberland, Loudon, Knox, Morgan, Roane and Scott counties.
Known locally as the "Oak Ridge Art Center" or the "Art Center", we are a private not-for-profit regional fine arts center and museum providing visual arts experiences and education to Oak Ridge and the surrounding region. Our gallery exhibitions typically emphasize the work of local and regional artists, but are extremely diverse and feature traveling exhibitions of national and international merit, African-American art, and children's art. These change every six to eight weeks to offer the community a variety of experiences each year.
Our collection is world class. While it has many facets, the core collection is primarily European Abstract Expressionism - work born of the same societal and political conflicts which created the need for the City of Oak Ridge - and possesses the work of many internationally recognized artists.
The educational program features five regular terms of classes each year, a series of special workshops and seminars by local, regional, national, and international artists and craftsmen; docent programs in our galleries; and an active outreach program. Throughout our history, participants have had the opportunity to learn to draw, paint, throw pots, sculpt clay, create jewelry, cast bronze or silver, fuse glass, and so much more. In addition to classes and workshops, enhancement programs are designed to increase the educational benefit of our exhibitions and knowledge of artists and the techniques they utilize. The Art Center's programs have produced many professional and hobbyist artists who are practicing in this region and literally, throughout the world.
Because the Art Center's goal is to make visual arts both accessible and enjoyable for everyone, the museum is open to all visitors at no cost, seven days a week , year round. We offer many activities for individuals of all ages, interests, and educational levels. We are able to do so through committed, active volunteers who donate thousands of hours annually to the production of our programs.
The Oak Ridge Art Center is open to the public seven days a week.
Admission is free, but donations are very welcome.
|©2008 Oak Ridge Art Center|