Darke County Endowment for the Arts was founded in the early 1990’s to keep the arts alive forever in our community and has contributed to many life-enhancing projects and events during its existence. Funds donated to the Endowment are invested to produce income from which money is distributed through three funds: the Memorial Hall Fund, the Darke County Center for the Arts Fund, and the General Fund which annually awards grants to organizations and individuals seeking financial help. Through the years, DCEA has assisted with major renovations and upkeep at beautiful Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall, furnished the funds necessary to provide a summer theatrical arts experience for hundreds of local students through Darke County Center for the Arts annual Missoula Children’s Theatre presentations, underwritten “Art At the Mill” exhibits which benefit historic Bear’s Mill, helped local artists and writers fulfill goals by attending workshops or purchasing vital supplies, and more. However, in spite of all this activity, very few people seem to be aware of DCEA’s vital contributions to a vibrant artistic presence in our community.
So why bring this up during a pandemic? Well, I have two motivations for writing about the Endowment right now: (1) To make aspiring 2020 grant applicants aware that, due to the current health crisis, the deadline for submitting requests for funding has been extended to June 30; and (2) To heighten awareness so that community members who value the arts will remember DCEA when considering benevolent causes which they wish to support and/or remember in their wills, and thereby assure that the organization’s lofty goals can continue to be achieved long after COVID-19 is only a bad memory.
Since making concrete plans for the future is not an exercise in which we can realistically engage right now, people cannot reliably know whether their hopes for a future project can come to fruition; so they wonder about whether to devote time and effort trying to obtain help for something which may not happen this year or ever, or direct their energies elsewhere. Granted, we don’t know that things will be any less up in the air than they are presently by the time summer rolls around, but we do know that the possibility of DCEA directors gathering together to consider worthy applicants before the original grant deadline is slim to none.
If you have an idea that will artistically enhance lives in our community but are in need of funding to bring your idea to fruition, take advantage of this opportunity for financial assistance by visiting the Endowment’s website, supportdcea.org, and downloading the grant application form, or send your request for the form to DCEA at P. O. Box 155, Greenville, OH 45331. And if you want to help assure that Darke County Endowment for the Arts can continue to support the arts not only in the present moment but also for future generations of Darke Countians, consider making a generous donation through the addresses above, and including a legacy gift to DCEA in your estate planning.
The arts are a great source of assistance right now, helping us cope with the current days of isolation and uncertainty. By supporting Darke County Endowment for the Arts, you are contributing to a bright future within our community, a future filled with all the joy, wonder, creativity, and inspiration that the arts provide regardless of whatever dark clouds might lie ahead.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive 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.