A notice will soon go out announcing that Darke County Endowment for the Arts is once again soliciting applicants for funds the organization will distribute to underwrite the arts in our community. Established in the 1990s, the Endowment has been disbursing money to worthy artists and artistic projects and programs annually ever since; Greenville Municipal Band concerts in the park, art exhibits at Bear’s Mill, musical instruments for local schools, and much more have been assisted by these grants.
In addition to the grant program, the Endowment instigated and continues to fund ArtStart, a program administered through the Anna Bier Gallery benefiting visual arts classes in local schools and the annual week-long Missoula Children’s Theatre residency presented by Darke County Center for the Arts each summer. And those are just a few of the wonderful things the Endowment does to help keep the arts alive forever in our community.
The Darke County Center for the Arts Fund helps fund our local arts council’s operations, assisting with equipment purchases and other physical needs of the arts presenter. Additionally, the Memorial Hall Fund is dedicated to the preservation of historic Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, helping to assure that this treasured building continues to serve as a truly extraordinary home for the arts today and well into the future. The Memorial Hall Fund has been a core function for the Endowment since its very beginning, as the organization was founded in part with money left over from the widely-supported and highly successful restoration project undertaken by DCCA in the 1980s to return the hallowed building to its former grandeur.
Grant recipients gratefully acknowledge DCEA’s assistance in news releases and public announcements, which earn enthusiastic applause. When the Endowment’s goals and functions are presented to the public, almost everyone responds with high regard for the organization. And yet it seems that awareness of Darke County Endowment for the Arts recedes from view soon following these brief flurries of attention; in order to continue to function, wider recognition that the Endowment exists is essential, as no one gives money to an organization of which they are unaware.
The Endowment wisely invests the donations it receives, so that those gifts earn monetary dividends as well as fund aesthetic advancement; the Endowment continues to grow even as it dispenses money to serve its basic purpose. However, that growth cannot continue without an ongoing infusion of funds. A few stalwart supporters make annual donations to Darke County Endowment for the Arts, and every now and then, DCEA trustees are thrilled to receive notice of a legacy donation to help keep the arts alive forever. But in order to continue to fulfill that lofty goal well into the future, the Endowment must gain more recognition throughout the community it serves.
DCEA has produced and placed in various locations a lovely brochure outlining its purposes and soliciting donations; but those brochures must be picked up and perused to accomplish their goal. And the Endowment has a website proudly putting forth its goals and accomplishments; but one must visit SupportDCEA.org to learn more, and only those who are already involved are likely to do so. If you have read this far, I suspect that you could be motivated to support an organization dedicated to keeping the arts alive forever in our community if you only knew how to do so, ergo this column.
To learn more, visit the Endowment’s website (SupportDCEA.org), or contact the organization at P.O. Box 155, Greenville, OH 45331 or by email at [email protected]