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'What we want it to be is a community center' Kern River Valley Art Association now utilizing new building

The building, named "The Art Center" by the KRVAA, is a roughly 5,000 square foot building directly off of Wofford Heights Boulevard
Posted at 6:42 PM, Jun 02, 2024

WOFFORD HEIGHTS, Calif. (KERO) — This past year saw the opening of several new spaces from the Kern River Valley Art Association, including Alchemy, an industrial arts space, The Station – which is a formerly abandoned gas station, and their most recently acquired building, The Art Center, which President of the association Chris Folsom says he envisions as a place the community will come to gather.

  • The Kern River Valley Art Association recently acquired a new building that they have already used as a venue for live music, a [place to hold the art classes they offer, and as a theater to screen movies.
  • Put any important dates here
  • The building, a former warehouse, used to be home to a Western Wholesale store.


“It is more important to everything else that we do here because to me, what we want it to be is a community center,” said Chris Folsom, President of the Kern River Art Association.

Folsom is talking about the association’s newly acquired, roughly 5,000-square-foot warehouse off of Wofford Boulevard.

“We can hold events here, we can have different people come in and do talks, we are showing movies on Friday evening.”

The Art Center -- formerly the Western Wholesale store – is a key part of what the Art Association hopes to achieve - recently receiving funding from a state Neighbor to Neighbor grant.

“It’s to combat loneliness, which is the biggest epidemic in the state right now.”

Which Folsom says goes hand in hand with their plans to turn The Station, a formerly abandoned gas station the Art Association took over last year, into a coffee shop and bookstore.

“It's been a while since we refurbished it and got it to the point where it’s someplace nice to walk into.”

The goal to turn it into a coffee shop is coming to life.

Espresso is now served on a cart outside from 6 to 10 AM, based on the availability of volunteers - but Folsom says there are plans to expand its capabilities and turn it into a bookstore.

New signage is currently being created.

The inside has completely changed from the end of last year, and they currently hold art classes inside. Folsom says he is appreciative of all the community support

“People keep giving to us, which is great, we are a non-profit.”

Recently, they received a very unique donation.

“A 1966 Cadillac Hearse.”

The Art Association has lofty ambitions, and dedicated volunteers are working to bring them to fruition.

“Everybody’s wondering what the next step is gonna be and how it’s gonna go and what we're gonna do, as I am too.”

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