Johnstown’s BOTTLE WORKS Ethnic Center is the area’s top art and culture spot. The center offers a range of activities for everyone’s taste. Different exhibits, classes, live performances, and catered events are among some of the happenings that BOTTLE WORKS brings to the community.
Located in the cultural district of Cambria City, BOTTLE WORKS operates a garden area and Gallery Shoppe within their two neighboring facilities. One building was previously home to the Tulip Bottling Company, inspiring the building’s iconic, blooming murals.
Expansion has not stopped there as BOTTLE WORKS is now working on a new area called The Green Space Project. The Green Space Project is preparing to take a deteriorated lot across the street from the center and develop it into a cleaner, more vibrant area.
BOTTLE WORKS can give credit a lot of its lively activity to its Executive Director, Angela Rizzo. Holding a master's in Public Administration and Non-Profit Management from the University of Pittsburgh, Rizzo has over nine years of experience with non-profits. Her drive has pushed BOTTLE WORKS to the forefront of activity in Johnstown, and Rizzo has no plans of slowing down.
In your own words, what do you do at BOTTLE WORKS?
I am the Executive Director at BOTTLE WORKS and that means I do a lot of everything. Some days I’m meeting with artists and donors, and some days I could be cleaning the bathrooms. That’s some of the charm of working with non-profits.
And where have you worked before?
In my last position, I was a Development Director for the Learning Lamp. I was responsible for a lot of marketing, fundraising, after-school programs, and the EcoKids consignment boutique, which was a really exciting project.
You have been the Executive Director of BOTTLE WORKS for around 2 years. What have been the highlights of that time?
I have to say it’s been getting to know artists and people. You know, a lot of people ask if I’m an artist myself. I’m not an artist, but I love the art. A recent highlight, though, has been moving forward with the Green Space transformation in the lot across the street from BOTTLE WORKS. We’re really looking forward to developing a green, bright area for the community.
And your biggest struggles?
I think keeping up with it all. Sometimes there are just most opportunities than we can handle. Events, classes, galleries. Sometimes we have to walk away from things because we only have so many hands. I just always keep in mind that I can’t beat myself up over it.
What is your favorite event or work?
Hmm. Probably the “Art Defines You” fundraiser. Everyone brings a piece of art they either created or collected that defines them in some way. It’s a one-night exhibit so that means a lot of running around to professionally display each piece for the event, but it’s worth it. Last year we had over 90 pieces displayed.
Where do you see BOTTLE WORKS in the future?
My big vision is to have as much activity as possible. I want everyone, young and old, to come together to make BOTTLE WORKS a hub of activity. I always want it to be a welcoming piece of the community.