A new vision for longstanding mission


At Darke County Center for the Arts’ annual meeting, DCCA board, members, and staff reviewed the revolving, evolving fortunes of the aptly named 2019-2020 “Kaleidoscope” season that began with sparkling color and ended in a splash of disappointment as one performance after another had to be canceled due to the pandemic; and then, they moved on to consider the upcoming 2020 “Vision” season that awaits in a swirl of uncertainty. Seeing the future clearly, always a difficult task, is not at all possible right now because of the unknowns surrounding COVID-19. And yet, DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan states that the organization is “excited for the future.” Huh? Is she looking through rose-colored glasses, not seeing clearly, her vision blurred by too much stress in the current moment?

According to Andrea, her clear-eyed assessment of the situation is based on the organization’s ability to move forward through uncertainty, innovating and adapting as needed to continue presenting outstanding performing artists to an eager audience in our community. Granted, David Warner, now in his second year as DCCA Artistic Director, has been kept busy postponing or canceling more shows than he has presented, a frustrating truth for all concerned. But DCCA staff and board members are committed to exploring new ways to enrich lives through the arts, and excited about looking at things differently while they work to fulfill the organization’s mission. Included on DCCA’s forward-thinking 2020-2021 Board of Directors are Angie Arnold, Ty Baker-Baumann, Betty Birt, Katie Gabbard, Amber Garrett, Julie Graber, Becky Maurer, Darrell Mehaffie, Gail Overholser, Keith Rawlins, Dan Schipfer, Justin Sommer, Matt Steyer, Julie Strait, and Kent Zechar; Becky Luce serves as the organization’s treasurer. All are known as visionary citizens strongly committed to serving their community.

Tamera McNulty, Director of the Anna Bier Gallery which operates under the DCCA umbrella to display visual arts, has not scheduled any exhibits for 2020-2021 and could not hold last season’s Annual High School exhibit due to school closings last Spring. However before the health emergency shut down classrooms and most other public gatherings, Tam had gathered the art of kindergarten through eighth grade students for the Annual Elementary exhibit, and while not able to invite visitors to the Gallery, showcased the youngsters’ work online. That delightful show, which is still available for your viewing on the Gallery’s Facebook page, can continue forever, spreading joy, warmth, and beauty virtually for an infinite time period! This new and exciting prospect will continue to be utilized by the Gallery, and also adapted for future DCCA presentations.

Until it is possible for audiences to gather together, DCCA’s live performance options are extremely limited; however, artists are brainstorming for new ways of reaching an audience, and DCCA personnel is eager to reach out for concepts utilizing different means of achieving their mission to enrich lives in the community they continue to serve. All of this is currently a work in progress awaiting clarity, but offering promise of progress as the new vision becomes clear.


By Marilyn Delk


Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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