JOINT BASE ANACOSTIA-BOLLING, D.C. --If you find yourself hankering to do something from scratch, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling’s Arts and Crafts Center may just be the spot for you. The center offers classes in custom-framing and wood shop safety to help guests tackle such projects like building a kitchen table all the way to framing an old set of postcards, pictures or military coins.
John Puskar, who spent six years in the Navy, started at the center in 2001 and has been its manager for the past four years. He’s amazed at some of the projects to come out of the center over the years and encourages anyone with a project idea to come by and make it a reality.
“Our goal for a beginner is to come in here and walk out with something you can hang on your wall or showcase at home. Everything is 100 percent custom-made,” Puskar said. “We don’t have any rules to what you can do here. Projects can be intricate or plain. Just go with it and have fun.”
Puskar said bi-monthly framing classes are held the first and third Saturdays of the month in the mornings for $35, while wood shop safety classes takes place the first and third Thursdays of the month from 6 9 p.m. That safety class costs just $10 and is mandatory for anyone looking to use the center’s wood shop. Anyone wishing to use the wood shop after taking the class can do so for only $3 an hour.
Bob Simons volunteers at the center’s wood shop during the week and has worked on numerous projects both on his own and with others. Not too long ago he helped someone build a poker table and has also put his craftsmanship to task by helping build various parts for airplanes, musical instruments, furniture and wooden pens.
“I like the variety of projects we have going on here. There’s very little you can’t do in a place like this,” Simons said. “It’s a great facility for someone like me. I can come in here where it’s relaxing and work on my own projects and also help and meet others with similar interests. It’s the best of both worlds.”
Also on site at JBAB’s Arts and Crafts Center is an engraving shop, which is where illustrator Anjie Flores can be found. He’s been working at the center since 1992 and specializes in laser engraving and all other finishing touches that help make someone’s custom-made project look even better.
“I really enjoy what I do. This is a great place to meet people and to learn new things. I still find myself learning new things after all these years,” Flores said. “The projects that have come out of here would surprise you. It’s nice knowing the center helped bring out the hidden skills in people.”
Puskar agrees the center is a terrific outlet for people to showcase and take advantage of their hobby. His hope is to see many more faces and new projects in the years ahead.
“We’re here for our troops, retirees and anyone with base access. Our motto is we serve those who serve us,” Puskar said. “I’m really lucky. What most people consider a hobby, I get to do for a living. Not everyone in the world can say that.”
The Arts and Crafts Center features a gift shop, automated photo lab, two computer stations with Wi-Fi and the ability to print passport photos. The engraving shop is open Monday Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed on weekends. Both the frame shop and wood shop are open every Tuesday through Thursday 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s closed Sunday and Monday.
The center is located at Building. 4472 along Arnold Avenue. For additional information, call 202-767-4422.