Sat, Dec. 14

Cottonwood Teen Center to transition to creative arts venue

Allen Marx

Allen Marx

COTTONWOOD -- The Verde Valley Teen Center, opposite Cottonwood Middle School on Mingus Avenue, is getting a philosophical facelift.

To be re-dubbed Cottonwood Arts at the Park, the former Fire Station building is proposed as "a creative space dedicated to the visual and performing arts." Gone is the "teen" designation with a new direction proposed "for ages 12 and up, including adults."

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday morning.

Cheri Marx, who along with husband Allan have been anchors of the center since it first began, said, "We figured we would have to give them something to do, rather than just hanging around. We are going to offer things that will draw them in, teaching them music and art because the schools are getting away from things like that."

"We will still be open as a teen center," Marx continued, "so for the kids that want to come and just hang out and play pool, we will still be open for that, but we are offering a wide variety of new opportunities.

"We are working on grants and things so that we can hire someone to be here and coordinate volunteers."

The Center property continues to be owned by the City of Cottonwood and leased to the Verde Valley Teen Center Inc., a 501C3 non-profit corporation. More people have been added to the board, including Sheri Twamley, Carlos Godina, Greg Feltman and Jacqui Nairn.

Allen Marx said, "By moving into arts, we provide something that both kids and adults will want to do together. It's something that adults enjoy doing and something that kids want to learn."

Twamley, who spoke at length, said she initiated the change to give the center more interest. She also pushed to update the color scheme and paint murals on the building. Architects Jason Fetterbush and Nadia Begin of Reynold Raddocia Architects contributed to the exterior update. They said a public hearing will be required with the Cottonwood Planning Commission to adopt the new sign and look of the facility.

Twamley said the transition will change the facility into "a vibrant hot spot to engage young creatives, a place where bands, vocalists, dancers and artists can practice, perform or form a band. A place to hold open mic and karaoke nights. An outdoor space behind the Teen Center building in the Garrison Park could be created to hold summer concerts and showcase local talent."

Twamley said she already has had people volunteer to teach yoga and Zumba and another offered to teach aerobics as well as a bluegrass group to mentor kids.

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