by Erinn Burgess
Installation Management Command Europe Public Affairs
The Arts and Crafts Center on Smith Barracks was recently awarded 41,000 dollars from the Office of the Secretary of Defense to help modernize the program.
The grant comes from a funding authority made by Installation Management Command in the amount of 810,642 dollars for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Arts and Crafts Modernization Initiative Expenses. Army garrisons worldwide submitted requests for a portion of the funding in January, to include U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz.
Competing for the grant required a valid justification on behalf of USAG RP Family and MWR, according to Janna Henderson, Nonappropriated Funds Support Division chief.
“We developed a new business strategy to respond to changing trends and high customer demand for unique, customized items,” Henderson said. “The strategy moves away from traditional retail craft store operations toward production of services and products such as plaques, trophies, uniforms, embellishments, engraving, sublimation and more.”
The grant will allow current equipment and software to be replaced with newer models and versions, enabling the center to expand offerings and provide customers with new capabilities.
“I believe Baumholder Military Community members will appreciate the convenience of shopping near home to attain high-quality, customized products locally, saving travel time and money not having to drive the distance to Kaiserslautern or Ramstein areas for similar items and services,” said Joan Fortin, center manager.
Since she began working at the center last June, Fortin has seen sales and demand of services increase, despite sometimes lengthy turnaround and production times for customer projects. The increase is due to the highly talented, friendly and accommodating staff, she said.
“The new equipment and software upgrades will not only decrease production time, but will also give the staff more creative room to further improve services, offering unique and customized products,” Fortin said.
Elizabeth Lane, Family and MWR supervisory informational technology specialist, explained some of the upgrades community members can expect.
The current sublimation printer will be replaced with a new printer that will provide “more vibrant colors, better resolution and is perfect for transforming favorite family photographs into beautiful mugs or shirts that can be used every day,” Lane said. A new computer with the latest version of a graphics suite will help the staff design images with greater control and efficiency.
Software purchases will allow the center to maximize the use of existing hardware, such as the embroidery machine, Lane said. “Customized embroidery projects are difficult to create with the current software, but with the new software, the sky is the limit on the customized gifts that can be made.”
The facility will also purchase a vinyl cutter, allowing creation of unit T-shirts, customized awards, banners and other unique items.
A small facility renovation has begun in order to accommodate the new equipment. The new services and products are expected within the next six months, Lane said.
There are several services and programs community members can enjoy in the meantime though, Fortin said.
The center offers classroom rentals for birthday parties, balloon services, and event decorations such as centerpieces, balloon columns, arches and backdrops. They also host the Grapes and Graffiti sip and paint program monthly at Kazabra Club on Vogelweh, and the Warrior Zone and Tavern on the Rock on Smith Barracks.
The Arts and Crafts Center is located in Bldg. 8104 and is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. To find out more, call 0611-143-531-2895 or visit baumholder.armymwr.com.