Darke County Endowment for the Arts receives charitable gifts which are invested not only to provide funds for the preservation of St. Clair Memorial Hall, but also to benefit the arts in Darke County. Since its founding, DCEA has annually awarded grants from its general fund to deserving local artists and organizations who propose projects promoting, strengthening, or advancing the arts in our community. This year’s grantees also embrace the cultural heritage of our community in unique ways, an added bonus that will enhance local lives.

The Greenville Municipal Concert Band has been an active performing ensemble for more than one hundred twenty-five years! Generations of Darke countians have enjoyed the band’s concerts at the Marling Band Shell in Greenville City Park, connecting the present to the past musically. The DCEA grant will help fund the series that begins this Sunday; the full band will play five subsequent concerts on July 12 and 19, Aug. 9 and 16, and Sept. 6. The band’s jazz ensemble will perform on July 26 and Aug. 30. All except the opening and closing concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.; the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend shows are at 7 p.m.

Darke County Park District will present their annual Summer Concert at Shawnee Prairie Preserve’s outdoor amphitheater featuring popular acoustic duo Higgins-Madewell on July 18 at 7 p.m. That performance plus those of Joseph, Silver Grass, and Berachah Valley at the Park District’s annual Prairie Days Festival on the last weekend of September will be underwritten by DCEA grant funds. Adding performing artists magnifies the Park District’s preservation of our cultural legacy, deepening its mission to preserve land areas that possess special natural and historic features for the benefit of the residents of Darke County.

Thanks to Endowment funds, historic Bear’s Mill will from July 24 through Aug.16 host a display of art featuring the work of two former area residents. Marcus York, who lives near Arcanum, submitted the grant application hoping that our community would see and appreciate the artistic accomplishments of Marilee Pallant and Christopher Madden, both of whom were positive influences in his life. The opportunity to experience artwork nurtured in part by local roots can inspire and motivate others to pursue their artistic aspirations.

Annie Oakley is a local cultural treasure; the Annie Oakley Festival celebrates the life and times of this Darke County native who became a world-famous superstar admired for her shooting skill as well as her charismatic and generous personality. DCEA monies will help the Festival committee present an old-time melodrama, a Western Arts Showcase, and a free historical bus tour. The festival, which will be held July 24 through July 26 at York Woods, has been a cultural mainstay in the community for many years, attracting a broad spectrum of attendees, both local and from across the state and nation.

A free summer arts camp for youngsters entering grades 5 through 7 will take place at the Cardinal Center in Gettysburg Aug. 10-14. This program is presented by Friends of the Cardinal Center, an organization working to preserve heritage, build community and enable success through education and inspiration; the group was formed to preserve the historical and educational heritage of Gettysburg School. Whether the arts camp students eventually become working artists or simply expand their creative abilities, this project will enhance local lives this summer and beyond.

Main Street Greenville is also a 2015 DCEA grant recipient; however, final plans for their exciting proposal won’t commence for several months, so disbursement will not occur until the proposed project actually takes form. “Street Art Saturdays” will bring a free arts festival to downtown Greenville during the warm summer months, augmenting the already popular Farmers Market. Main Street Greenville promotes historic preservation and economic development resulting in a cultural downtown district that attracts and retains businesses and entrepreneurs; “Street Arts Saturdays” can help fulfill that mission.

Darke County Endowment for the Arts hopes to keep the arts alive forever in our community. With programs like those receiving funds in the 2015 disbursement, that hope is well on its way to becoming a reality.

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