Keeping the arts alive forever


An exciting new piece of art has been installed in Union City! The official unveiling of the colorful mural was a festive event with mayors from both Union City, Ohio, and Union City, Indiana, a Darke County Commissioner, and state elected officials’ representatives in attendance. But the guests of honor were Troy-based artist Timothy Wells, Mississinawa Valley Schools art teacher Ashley Austerman, and the artists themselves — Mississinawa Valley students who designed and created this loving depiction of the community which it celebrates. Ms. Austerman conceived and executed the impressive project, raising funds to provide the residency by Mr. Wells who mentored and inspired his students, as well as for necessary supplies and equipment. Darke County Endowment for the Arts is proud to have been one of those contributors to this impressive project which will creatively decorate the old underpass at the entrance to town for years to come.

Darke County Endowment for the Arts annually grants funds to deserving organizations and individuals who apply for this assistance; the MV mural was among those projects funded during the 2020 grant cycle. DCEA recently announced the 2021 grants awarded, assisting projects which will also enhance our community throughout the foreseeable future. Mississinawa Valley’s Art Department once again received funding to assist with a new exciting endeavor in which a professional artist will mentor and inspire students to creatively explore light; this innovative project will also involve and benefit the entire community.

Mississinawa Valley is not the only school district receiving assistance from Darke County Endowment for the Arts. Ansonia’s Art Department hopes to enrich students’ lives by offering new interactive creative experiences through a variety of field trips which will be partially underwritten by Endowment funds. Greenville High School’s Instrumental Boosters’ fundraising efforts were somewhat curtailed during the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; that organization requested and received money to enable students’ participation in band festivals and adjudications in spite of that curtailment. Adult students will be added to those receiving assistance from DCEA when Greenville Art Guild hosts a workshop this summer teaching urban sketching to local artists of all skill levels.

Arcanum Preservation Society has undertaken the formidable task of restoring the endangered historic Town Hall and Opera House; Endowment funds will provide assistance as the preservationists work to achieve their hoped-for goal to once again create an inviting arts performance space for our community. Darke County Park District presents performing artists at their popular annual festivals; DCEA funds will help defray the costs of compensating performers who will entertain at The Gathering at Garst and Prairie Days. The Gathering at Garst will also be presenting local artists displaying their wares in the Anna Bier Art Tent at the upcoming festival; the Endowment has underwritten the expense of that tent.

Versailles Towne and Country Players’ annual Summer Concert Series will present performances at Heritage Park this summer with monetary assistance from Darke County Endowment for the Arts. Darke County Center for the Arts is for the first time planning a fundraising drive on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 30; the Endowment will provide money to match gifts provided by generous donors in this new effort.

The arts inspire creativity, provide solace, and bring joy; Darke County Endowment for the Arts promotes those positive results by offering opportunity for interaction with the arts throughout our community while striving to achieve the organization’s purpose: to keep the arts alive forever in Darke County. Donations and legacy gifts to assist DCEA in achievement of those lofty goals are desperately needed. In addition to the General Fund from which annual grants are awarded, the Endowment also underwrites our local arts council’s work through the Darke County Center for the Arts Fund, and helps with preservation of treasured Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall through the Memorial Hall Fund. Donations to the Endowment can be sent to DCEA, P.O. Box 155, Greenville, OH 45331. More information can be obtained at

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.

No posts to display