The Epicenter is a community design center that serves the town of Green River, Utah (pop. 953). They are committed to creating positive change locally by providing resources to residents and small business owners.Â In 2009, Auburn University Architecture Graduates, Jack Forinash and Maria Sykes founded the Epicenter. At that time, the designers were working as AmeriCorps VISTAs with Green River's Positive Action Community Team (PACT), focused on providing affordable housing assistance, exploring economic development solutions, and improving communications and resources within Green River. Through a USDA grant, Jack and Maria purchased a historic building in downtown Green River, redesigned the space, and renovated the structure. Today from that building, they co-direct the Epicenter and remain dedicated to its mission of affordable housing, economic development, and design and the arts. Recently with the help of the United Way of Eastern Utah, the Epicenter has started an arts and design-based internship for high-schoolers in Green River and begun hosting arts-based workshops.
Every month the Epicenter hosts a new artist-in-residence through the Frontier Fellowship.Â Frontier Fellows are creative professionals who come to Green River for four to six weeks to create art, mentor high school students, teach art workshops, and work at Epicenter.
The Epicenter is part of a larger effort in Utah. Locally, they belong to the non-profit parent organization called the Positive Action Community Team (PACT) which serves the town with affordable rental housing, a Boys & Girls Club, a food pantry, and a thrift store. In Green River, Epicenter partners with theÂ City of Green River, the Green River Business Group "Potluck",Â and the Green River CHEER Coalition. Regionally, Epicenter works withÂ USDA Rural Development of Utah, University of Utah (College of Architecture and Planning), Emery County Economic Development, the Business Expansion and Retention Program (BEAR), United Way of Eastern Utah, and Habitat for Humanity of Castle Country.
For more information on Epicenter's current efforts and for upcoming events, visit www.ruralandproud.org.