DARKE COUNTY — Darke County Center for the Arts has been awarded funds from the 2022 State of Ohio capital budget for further development of the Darke County Art Trail. The Art Trail initiative will open for public participation on Friday, June 17 at a festive unveiling of the trail’s first new installation at Shawnee Prairie Preserve, 4267 State Route 502, Greenville, Ohio. This initial project commissioned for the Art Trail, a statue of revered Shawnee warrior Tecumseh by Union City, Indiana sculptor Joshua Shepherd, was also funded through monies awarded by the state.
The event, “Tecumseh Returns to Shawnee Prairie,” not only launches the Art Trail, but will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Darke County Parks District headquartered at Shawnee Prairie Preserve. Shawnee Prairie Preserve is an especially appropriate location for the unveiling of this artwork, as the park is located on the site where Tecumseh and his younger brother Tenskwatawa established a Native American village in the early nineteenth century. Festivities begin at 12 noon and will be attended by state and county officials as well as representatives of Shawnee tribes.
State Senator Stephen A. Huffman congratulated DCCA on receiving the award, offering the following statement: “The Darke County Center for the Arts recognizes that public art installations contribute to community uniqueness while adding cultural value. With the Darke County Art Trail, individuals will have the opportunity to enjoy recreation on the Tecumseh Trail Bike Path and on trails throughout Darke County while viewing commissioned public art installations. I am delighted to announce that the Darke County Center for the Arts has secured $180,000 in funding through the state capital budget to assist in the completion of this project.”
DCCA Executive Director Andrea Jordan states that she and her organization are extremely grateful for the state funding that has done so much to make the Art Trail concept a reality. “Our Art Trail Committee has been busy identifying already existing art in our community for inclusion in this project; the Tecumseh sculpture provides a prestigious first step in developing this cultural enhancement that will attract visitors to our wonderful community,” Ms. Jordan said. In addition to Darke County Park District, other local organizations contributing to the Darke County Art Trail are Wayne Healthcare and Darke County Visitors Bureau. Support has also been received from Darke County Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council; funds from the state budget are administered by Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
A map of already identified Art Trail sites will be available at the Shawnee Prairie event, and will soon be distributed throughout Darke County. Everyone is invited to submit suggestions of existing significant art to be considered for inclusion on the Art Trail; to do so, contact Darke County Center for the Arts by email at [email protected], by mail at P.O. Box 718, Greenville, Ohio 45331, or by calling 937-547-0908. “This is only the exciting beginning of an exciting project with an exciting future,” Ms. Jordan concluded.