Though Fairfield Parks and Recreation is known for beautiful spots such as Harbin Park and Waterworks Park, Fairfield’s parks and rec department is also behind a hidden gem where residents of all ages can learn and explore new activities.

With an art studio, theater, senior lounge, kid’s room, art gallery, dance studio and space for events, the Fairfield Community Arts Center (CAC) really does offer something for everyone. “The mission for us is to be that community connection to allow the residents and other people who live in Southwest Ohio a place where they can explore their creative side, to explore leisure opportunities as well as creative opportunities, and to do that with people who also have those same interests,” says Arts and Program Manager Heidi Schiller.

The CAC’s many classes and activities are open to anyone, though Fairfield residents can claim a discount on classes. Classes include dance, fitness and art

for children and adults.

One of Schiller’s favorite things about the CAC is how lively the building becomes with the various activities going on. She can see children taking ballet

classes in the dance studio, seniors playing cards and taking computer classes in the senior lounge, or artists firing the kiln in the art studio as she

 leaves for the day. “A lot of different people have a lot of different ways they use the arts center,” she says.

The gallery hosts regional, national and international artists for two exhibits per year. Visitorscan still catch the vibrant, colorful paintings of Art Academy of Cincinnati alumnae Mary Calkins in “Color Infusion: The Art of Mary Calkins” until Feb. 18. The gallery will also display traditional oriental paintings by Taiwan-born artist and former Cincinnati Public Schools teacher Huei Chi Connally March 4-April 8.

The crown jewel of the CAC is the state-of-the-art theater, which hosts concerts, comedians, musicals, plays and everything in between. From Miami Valley Ballet Theatre’s spring ballet April 21-23 to Juice Newton April 29, acts from around the nation and world grace the stage.

The theater is also home to the nonprofit community theater group the Fairfield Footlighters, which will perform The Boys Next Door Feb. 17-26. The hilarious and heartwarming play tells the tale of four mentally handicapped men living in a communal residence under the supervision of an earnest but burnt-out social worker. The Footlighters will also perform the fast-paced, funny musical The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee May 19-28.

Also coming up in the theater, Theatreworks USA will perform a musical version of the young-adult novel The Lightning Thief March 3 and the Canadian Comedy Award-winner Bob Cates will make audiences laugh and wow with advanced juggling, wild unicycling, magic, lasers and more March 25.

Macy’s and Artswave will host family activities and performances at the Fairfield Community Arts Center Feb. 18 as part of the Macy’s Arts Sampler, an annual festival that celebrates creative things at locations across greater Cincinnati. For a complete schedule of Arts Sampler activities and to find out more about the CAC, visit the CAC page of the City of Fairfield website.

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