The Artisan Village of Coolidge was formed to take advantage of the area’s rich arts history including the Coolidge Performing Arts Center and the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, the first prehistoric and cultural reserve established in the United States under President Benjamin Harrison in 1892.
“Have you ever had that feeling that what you are doing is exactly what is supposed to happen”, asked Lynn Parsons, Executive Director of the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce. “That’s how I feel every day.” when discussing Artisan Village of Coolidge. “You think about something you need one day and wonder how you are going to get it, and the next someone is telling you they have it or someone is donating it”, said Jack Malpass, Facilitator of Artisan Village.
The City of Coolidge in collaboration with the Coolidge Unified School District and the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce has reopened an elementary school into a regional community maker space. Artisan Village of Coolidge opened its doors in summer 2014 bringing classes from local artisans to further enhance learning and culture into the community. It is a place to foster discovery, creativity and innovation through the arts. A major component of the Village is the continuing education and skill development of the area youth.
The Village sits on approximately 4 acres in the heart of the City making it one of the most accessible buildings in Coolidge. Plans are underway to take the Village from its current school design into an active Maker Space community offering classrooms and work areas for entrepreneurs who can showcase and sell their creations. Plans also include housing the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce, visitor center and a coffee café.
Because of this activity, the entire City has become engaged with the Artisan Village with the potential for significant economic impact. More than 30 artists, from all mediums, have volunteered their time to fix up, clean, donate to and create classes for the Village. Dave and Mary Scott, long time residents, donated three generations of rock and mineral collections along with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. “The Superintendent of Coolidge Unified School District, Charie Wallace, Coolidge City Manager Bob Flatley, Executive Director of the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce Lynn Parsons, David Gray our Facilities Planner and Rick Miller who focuses on commercial development and I have a vision for Artisan Village. It will be a place where technology, education and art will come together and focus on Maker Space activities, a place that will be dedicated to creating programs for our youth and a place that artists can come and sell their art.”, said Malpass.
The Flagg Mineral Foundation has on loan, for 10 years, to the Village Museum, a large collection of rocks and minerals.
Classes are offered to the community including health, mosaic tiles, gems, photography, painting and science. “The Artisan Village of Coolidge shows how local government and non-profit organizations can come together to build something great, said Bob Flatley, Coolidge City Manager. “We saw an empty school building and found ways to transform it into a space that can live on for many years to come.”
Numerous clubs and organizations have emerged from the Village including:
- The Golden Era Doll Club was formed in August 2014 under the leadership of Elaine Goulden, a local doll enthusiast and owner of the Golden Era Toy and Auto Museum in Coolidge. Kathleen Bye is Vice President of Operations and Membership for the club.
- The Coolidge Photography Club was formed in July of 2014 and is looking for members interested in photography.
- The Collector Car Car Club of Coolidge was formed in August of 2014 and is looking to expand its membership.
- The Pinal Gem & Mineral Society was formed in August of 2014 and is looking to expand its membership.
All clubs listed above are a division of the Coolidge Performing Arts Center Foundation, Inc., a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) charitable foundation and meet at Artisan Village.
Looking for a great club, event or even just to have some family fun, then contact Artisan Village below:
Artisan Village of Coolidge
351 N. Arizona Boulevard
(Arizona Blvd & Northern Avenue)
Coolidge, Arizona 85128
Phone: +1 520-723-3009