By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 31, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Having a hobby is one way people unwind from the routines of daily life, and for some Soldiers, that hobby can be an escape.
And for Soldiers and community members, there's a place on Fort Rucker that offers a creative outlet for those looking to get lost in their artistry.
The Fort Rucker Arts and Crafts Center, located in Bldg. 9205 on Ruf Avenue, offers a multitude of activities for a wide range of interests -- from painting and pottery, to woodworking and engraving, as well as the Resilience through Art area, which gives Soldiers a place to practice their craft and express themselves through art, according to Darryle Jones, Directorate of Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation community recreation chief.
"Whether that's painting, making pottery, or whatever they feel they would like to do creatively or artistically, they can do in that room -- that's their outlet," he said.
The program, which began last year, is designed for the wellbeing of Soldiers, who oftentimes return from deployments in need of an outlet to release the stresses from their time away. The program is not an art class and Soldiers don't need any art experience to utilize the room, Jones said.
It's meant to be a space where they can come and enjoy time together or by themselves while they create their art, but Jones said that community members are welcome to use the facility when it is not occupied by Soldiers.
"It's got to be a tool for the entire community to use, so when Soldiers are not using it, we're definitely making that space available to the community," said the community recreation chief.
The arts and crafts center, as a whole, isn't just a place for Soldiers, but a place where people across the community can come to fulfill their artistic needs, said Jones.
"What I'd like for [the center] to be for the community is one of those programs that they can continually visit throughout the year and get their personal needs met," said Jones. "If they're looking to embroider something, looking to make something or looking to have something engraved, [the center is that] one-stop location where things can be done at a reasonable price."
The center offers framing, gifts and engraving, sublimation, custom embroidery, pottery and ceramics, and even a fully-equipped woodshop where people can come to craft their own creations from something small like a jewelry box to custom furniture. There are also classes when available, and the center is currently looking for volunteers interested in teaching their craft, whether it is sewing, quilting, drawing, painting or any other artistic outlet, said the community recreation chief.
There is plenty of merchandise that people can purchase and engrave, including the miniature sculptures of Sgt. Ted E. Bear; silver, bronze and copper award eagles; various plaques and trophies; as well as personalized name plates and office gifts.
People can utilize the center for woodworking and build things from as small as birdhouses to larger items, like furniture, but safety is a top priority when working with the equipment in the center, said Jones.
To use the woodshop or take classes in the woodshop, participants must first complete a one-hour safety course, said Jones, which will help people become familiar with the different pieces of equipment and how they work. Safety classes are available Saturdays from 9-10 a.m.
The woodshop has its own hours of operation, which are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-6 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If people would rather have someone do the work for them, the center also offers a host of services, including framing, gifts, engraving, custom embroidery, screen printing and sublimation, which allows people to customize just about anything from clothes, bags, mugs and more.
The center is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is open to Soldiers, family members, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and contractors.
For more information on classes or pricing, call 255-9020.