by Courtney Hayslett
An environment cultivating life through conversation, art, and music can be found inside the historic brick building on the corner of Locust and Center. Tucked in the hub of downtown Visalia, 210’s magnetism creates a comfortable living room for the community, nourishing life and imprinting culture daily.
With a San Francisco-meets-New York City interior design, the withstanding brick walls, exposed beams, industrial lighting, and cozy furniture adds to the warm appeal of 210 (pronounced “two-ten”), making it the perfect location to enjoy a cup of coffee, sandwich, and a pleasing piece of literature. Once home to various bars, dance clubs, and a Studebaker dealership, the space has now been completely redeemed and renovated to house an assembly room, holding 200 individuals for large events and concerts, a full service café with free Wi-Fi access, a lounge, conference room, and a prayer room.
The goal of 210 is to provide a resource to those who need it. Nearly 1,400 hours of free space was supplied to local assemblages in 2010 alone, partnering with the community through organizations such as the Visalia Rescue Mission, Turning Point and Proteus, as well as church and high school groups.
Owned and operated by the First Presbyterian Church, 210 is for the community—giving back to the neighborhood, while striving to empower and be an agent of change for all who enter its doors. The center offers a safe niche for high school and college students, young adults, and knitters alike (which meet every Monday and Wednesday morning)
An ideal spot for business meetings, conferences, church events, concerts and shows, large family gatherings, or even weddings, 210 is an encouraging and professional locale ready to serve the needs of the community, open Sunday to Friday, 6:30am to 9:00pm.
The works of local artists adorn the walls within 210. The site also provides a resource for social interest groups such as TOMS Shoes and Invisible Children. Extending the center’s regard for social issues into the café, 210 uses local produce and products, including certified organic, fair trade, shade-grown coffee derived from small family farms that are loyal to sustainable agricultural practices. 210 also offers coffee catering, further stretching its hand out to those outside of the corner lot.
Jason LeFaive is the current Director of 210, coming on staff full-time in August of 2010. Jason graduated from Vanguard University and has served the community of Visalia in several different capacities for over a decade now. Jason is committed to the vision of 210 and seeing the culture of Visalia continue to grow and thrive through the work and ministry of 210.
The conflict, risk, and rejection that has been experienced at times since its origination has been followed by nourishment and growth at 210. Continually refining the vision and mission to be the stage for culture and creativity within the Kingdom of God, 210 is persistent in developing an environment where the community can find comfort, hope, and sincerity.