DCP and DCCA team up for Art Trail


By Robb Clifford

Darke County Parks

By now, I’m sure you’ve encountered at least one of the recent additions to the Darke County Art Trail, the collaboration between Darke County Center for the Arts and Darke County Park District. With four pieces scattered along the bike path and park facilities, they tend to draw the eye, especially the newest additions! The two newest additions, both created by artist Kirk Seese, include a butterfly and a larger-than-life bear that have been installed at Bish Discovery Center and Historic Bear’s Mill.

Hovering above a flower, made of repurposed kayaks, a butterfly made of old drive-in movie speakers and other repurposed items sits proudly on the front lawn of the Bish Discovery Center. This piece does a fantastic job of representing the importance of reusing items that would otherwise be sent to the landfill as well as the vital importance of pollinators.

Over at Bear’s Mill, the new jumbo Bear, “Gabriel”, welcomes visitors along the mill-race trail on the way to the dam. Painted in a unique paint that alters colors based upon the light and angle of the viewer instantly draws the eyes of all who visit. Kids and adults alike marvel at the unique “origami” look of the bear. Getting the bear to his final spot was a bit of a challenge, but with the help of staff, the artist, and especially Spencer’s Landscaping, he arrived with only a bit of mud to be washed off! Thank you to all who helped “float” him across to his location.

Darke County Parks and Darke County Center for the Arts will once again team up on August 3rd with Ohio Second Lady, Tina Husted, at Historic Bear’s Mill as part of its 175th-anniversary celebrations. Join us for this special “Family Art Day at the Mill” for several FREE try-it art stations, including pottery, flower pounding, natural rubbings & stamping, painting and more!

Be sure to learn about the 88 unique paintings that Mrs. Tina Husted is creating for all 88 counties in Ohio (Darke County’s featuring Historic Bear’s Mill!) while you enjoy refreshments and music on the deck. Several examples of the other counties’ artwork from Mrs. Husted’s project will be represented. Purchase a full-size print or postcard to take home a piece of this unique 1/88 artwork. All sales of the Bear’s Mill print will go towards the funding of future youth programming.

This special FREE family event will be a great opportunity to test or flex your artistic talents as you merge these art mediums with the natural settings of Historic Bear’s Mill. In addition to the art stations, the Mill will be open for tours, with guided tours occurring on the hour between 10-12 pm. The Mill’s gift shop will of course be open as well.

I am excited about these partnerships and bringing new and exciting events and features to the county for residents and visitors to enjoy! This summer is shaping up to be an exciting one full of community events, summer camps, updates, and more! If you get a moment, take a walk at your favorite park, and enjoy the wildflowers, birdsong and fresh greenery filling the tree canopy above. I’ll see you on the trails!

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