Keeping the arts alive in our community


By Marilyn Delk


Darke County Endowment for the Arts’ stated purpose—to keep the Arts alive forever in our community— is certainly a lofty goal. The organization has existed since the 1990’s, originally funded with money left over from that decade’s ambitious Memorial Hall Restoration project which restored the iconic auditorium to its original grandeur. Since that time, the Endowment has assisted dozens of individuals and organizations through its annual grant program which provides financial assistance to achieve artistic goals.

Funding was recently awarded to three school groups and ten community organizations or individuals who applied for DCEA’s assistance this year. Students in Ansonia High School Art Department will gain hands-on experience working with clay as well as field trips providing unique photography opportunities with financial help provided by the Endowment, while members of Ansonia High School Art Club can participate in arts activities not included in the Art curriculum thanks to DCEA funding. Mississinawa Valley’s Art Department also won assistance for students to engage in artistic opportunities not available in the classroom including a possible field trip to Queen City Clay and new equipment for use in Photography classes.

Darke County’s Annie Oakley Festival will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year featuring entertainment made possible in part with Endowment funds. Thanks to funds provided by DCEA, Arcanum Public Library staff will soon restore and frame an historic World War I quilt discovered during a recent deep cleaning, enriching the knowledge of today’s citizens.

Greenville’s Boys and Girls Club provides safe, supervised space for local youngsters to learn and grow; Darke County Endowment for the Arts money will assist that education and growth through their donation assisting in the purchase of art supplies. Darke County Park District asked for and received funding for re-enactors and musicians performing at the historical encampment during July’s Gathering at Garst honoring our community’s rich historical heritage.

Local artist Mona Gazala will utilize Endowment funds to create a short film featuring Darke County art and history, and the sound of music will ring from the Marling Band Shell in Greenville City Park once again this summer with assistance from DCEA. New murals will continue to enhance downtown Greenville due to the ongoing efforts of Main Street Greenville’s Mural Committee; Endowment money will contribute to those efforts. Greenville Public Library will utilize Endowment funds to continue renovation of its third floor meeting room which is available to individuals and groups from the community.

Two highly anticipated local events requested and received financial assistance from DCEA. Main Street Greenville’s annual First Friday Artisan Stroll will award cash prizes to participants in its Art Contest thanks to Endowment-granted funds, and the Illumination Festival will once again bring inspirational fun and music to the Darke County Fairgrounds this September with help from the Endowment.

And that’s not all; Darke County Center for the Arts’ upcoming presentation of Missoula Children’s Theatre offering opportunity for local youngsters to participate in a fully-realized musical is made possible by DCEA sponsorship. DCCA’s Anna Bier Gallery annually offers funds to the Art Department of every local high school to provide assistance in producing work displayed at the Gallery’s annual High School exhibit; those funds are provided by the Endowment.

Wow! That’s a broad variety of artistic activity benefitting our community. And that is only one aspect of DCEA’s contributions. In addition to their General Fund from which the annual grants are awarded, the Darke County Center for the Arts Fund underwrites DCCA’s mission to present and promote the Arts to culturally enrich our community, and the Memorial Hall Fund is dedicated to the preservation of beautiful, historic Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall as a performance hall and community Arts center.

If you are impressed by these accomplishments and would like to make a contribution to help keep the arts alive in our community, donations can be sent to Darke County Endowment for the Arts, P.O. Box 155, Greenville, Ohio 45331. DCEA trustees are Ted Abney, Antonia Baker, Ryan Dynes, Rebecca Hartnagle, Andrea Jordan, Gail Overholser, and Kent Zechar; Nicole Gillespie serves as DCEA Treasurer.

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