Darke County Center for the Arts has much for which to be grateful during this season of Thanksgiving, including enthusiastic support from a vibrant community, as well as the steadfast service of a talented staff and governing board.
However, DCCA’s success is also due in large part to the venerated venue in which many of their presentations take place; DCCA is exceedingly thankful for Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall!
The historic building itself helps DCCA attract audiences and engage artists who love to perform in the grand and beautiful space. The most recent accolade came from Too Slim, the bass-playing, face-slapping member of Grammy Award-winning Western quartet “Riders In the Sky,” who announced to the audience assembled for DCCA’s presentation of the group’s “Round Up at Kids’ Corral”: “St. Clair Memorial Hall is such a gem within your community!” In conversation with DCCA staff following the show, Too Slim’s cohorts Woody Paul, Ranger Doug, and Joey the CowPolka King reiterated their admiration for the revered facility in which they have played multiple times, and commended the upgrades accomplished during the recent renovation of the Hall.
Owned and operated by Greenville City Schools, Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall has served its community since 1912. In his bequest to the school board, Henry instructed that a memorial hall be erected “for the use and betterment of the public schools, in whatever manner said board thinks most practicable and beneficial for the public.” In the intervening 104 years, the school board has followed that instruction, diligently maintaining the revered building and overseeing the plethora of events taking place therein. DCCA gives thanks for that diligence, as well as the community spirit which governs school officials’ decisions regarding this treasured building. The generous cooperation of school personnel contributes greatly to DCCA’s ability to present outstanding artists who bring inspiration, joy, and enrichment to the community.
Of course, maintaining such a grand structure as Memorial Hall can be quite costly, and over the years the grandeur faded somewhat as school officials worked to spread their allotted funds among the district’s full range of required responsibilities and emergency demands. So, during the 1980’s, Darke County Center for the Arts spearheaded a community fund-raising drive to restore St. Clair Memorial Hall to its original state of splendor. Following that highly successful effort, Darke County Endowment for the Arts was established to receive and manage charitable gifts to be invested to produce income benefiting cultural enrichment in our community, including essential upkeep and maintenance of Memorial Hall.
Donations to DCEA can be designated to a general fund from which annual grants are awarded, a fund helping underwrite the mission of Darke County Center for the Arts, or the Memorial Hall Fund, dedicated to the preservation of Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall as a performance hall and community arts center. Past projects assisted by Endowment funds include upgrades to ever-evolving technical equipment essential to performances in the Hall, as well as restoration of the Hall’s crown jewels, the stunning stained glass windows adorning the main lobby.
If you, like DCCA, are thankful for Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, consider participating in the preservation of this hallowed structure with a gift to Darke County Endowment for the Arts. Donations may be sent to DCEA, P. O. Box 155, Greenville, OH 45331; or contact your attorney to learn how you can follow Henry’s example, leaving a legacy that will enable Henry’s magnificent gift to keep serving a grateful community for generations yet to come.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.