Always Open

The Arlene Francis Center is a hub of community art and conversation

Having a social venue with an eclectic gathering of people, a diverse culture and a wide range of stories to share is vital to our community.

The concept of peace and sustainability can truly be nourished in a collective of people who trust one another and build strong bonds based on simple conversation that involves listening, learning and sharing. Santa Rosa’s Arlene Francis Center for Spirit, Art and Politics was founded with these ideas in mind.

It’s fun to be yourself here. Whether you are having a bad hair day, going through a lot personally or are just super-stoked about life 24/7, you will leave this place knowing your time was well spent.

The center is a nonprofit organization run with the help of dedicated volunteers. We host benefits for other nonprofit groups and classes taught by members of the community. Our Wednesday weekly open mic is always a blast, and if you walk by and see Bruce on his laptop, you can pretty much bet on him opening the doors to you, even if we’re “technically” closed.

In addition to entertainment, another primary focus of the AFC is the encouragement of lifelong learning. We have special guest speakers, spoken word events, jazz ensembles, dance parties, free-style artists, folk singers, punk singers, independent film screenings, trapeze artists, symphony orchestras, comedy shows, rock musicians, Black Panther parties, world-renowned poets, flamenco dancers and, for the first time ever, the center’s director, Martin Hamilton, will be staging Shakespeare.

Groups such as Americans for Safe Access, Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez and the Heru Network meet to discuss issues. There’s also a weekly improv jam, Saturday morning capoiera, and Green Party and Homeless Task Force meetings. And every Wednesday afternoon, the break-dancing crew takes the floor.

At the Arlene Francis Center, the space is yours. The ideas are free, and the possibilities are endless.

Angela Gonzalez is assistant to the director of the Arlene Francis Center.

Open Mic is a weekly feature in the ‘Bohemian.’ We welcome your contribution. To have your topical essay of 350 words considered for publication, write [email protected].