Neighborhood of Pine Ridge Reservation where the Warm Up the Ridge items were delivered.
Neighborhood of Pine Ridge Reservation where the Warm Up the Ridge items were delivered.
The arts seep into all areas of life, because it makes up everything we do. So, because we have paintings of survivors of the Battle of Little Bighorn, we ended up in South Dakota.

We traveled to Pine Ridge Reservation to deliver the proceeds of the Warm Up the Ridge clothing drive for a few residents of the reservation. Most of these (may I assert) United States citizens live in abject poverty and this level of the degradation of a people should not exist globally, let alone in the United States. Life expectancies, infant mortality and more horrific statistics are similar to many third-world countries. This is unacceptable.

While there, we met with an engaging person, Summer Nikola Nige, who is working toward improving the condition of the people of Pine Ridge. Vibrant and energetic, even with a foot in a cast, we explored many ideas to use a combination of the arts and other areas to potentially improve conditions at the ‘ridge.

One of the benefits to any travel is the opportunity to explore other cultures. Culture being at the core of any travel experience is shouts to the observer: This is who we are. We and our differing cultures are integral to existence. It doesn’t matter where or who you are, it is the same truth the world over. Celebrate the diverse and support your culture It makes the world go round. Don’t forget.

Deadline for Enchanted! art is Jan. 6 and 7. Call for entries. The Enchanted Exhibit will explore fantasy, faeries; and their gardens and houses, dragons, wizardry, elves and anything that means magical to you. This show is open to anyone 15 years old and up and is an all-media show accepting drawings, paintings, sculpture and photography. Art intake is scheduled for Jan. 6–7. A $25 entry fee gets you the opportunity to display four pieces of your artwork from Jan. 14–29. We encourage you to list your work for sale, but it is not mandatory. Complete guidelines are available online, here at the art center or give us a call and we can send you a prospectus.

ArtNight this week is…Fairy Doors. We have several different blank doors ready for your embellishments. Hang them in your house, garden or hang on a garden gate. ArtNights occur every Thursday evening from 6–9 p.m. It’s free to hang out at ArtNight, but if you want to take part in the project, there is a small fee (check our website) which includes your first glass of house wine (additional wine at regular WAC prices). Feel free to bring snacks and invite your friends.

Art Classes:

Classic Watercolor: will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 10, from 10 a.m. – noon. On-going. $40 art center member price/$45 regular price. Instructor: Pat Rayman. Materials required. Online sign up available.

ArtNight: ArtNight will resume on Jan. 5, 6–9 p.m. Just in time for our “Enchanted” Exhibit entry deadline, this will be the night for making magical fairy doors. You will be provided a blank “door” to decorate in mystical ways with various materials natural to glittery. Paint, moss, wood, mushrooms, glitter, and pixie dust — we don’t care, each individual fairy door is your threshold into enchanted realms that you can put in your garden, hang on the wall or tree. We encourage you to enter your creation in our Enchanted Exhibit coming up in January. Go here for details: $15 includes fairy door materials and your first glass of house wine. Additional glasses at WAC regular prices.

ArtReach (ages 7–11 and 12–15) Ongoing: Sign up whenever you want. We still have space available in our popular ArtReach after school art program. Ages 7-11 meet on Tuesdays and ages 12 and up meet on Thursdays. This after-school art program continues for the duration of the school year. Students receive a snack and then get down to creating.

Parents can drop off their youngsters after school and pick them up at 5 p.m. Our program provides students with a much needed boost in visual art instruction, which has been proven to boost critical thinking, math skills and many other academic and social benefits.

ArtReach instructor Diane Bendele earned her bachelors degree in art education from Bowling Green State University and her Masters degree in education from Ohio State. As an art educator for 35 years, she has worked with students of all ages. Cost for the program is charged monthly and is $40 for Wassenberg Art Center members and $45 for regular price during the regular school year. Supplies are provided.

All holidays and cancellations will follow Van Wert City School schedules. An online registration is also available on our website. Need-based scholarships are available. Please contact the Wassenberg Art Center for more information.

For more information on exhibits or to sign up for classes and events visit: The Wassenberg Art Center is located at 214 S. Washington St. (former Van Wert Armory). We can also be reached by telephone at: 419-238-6837, email: and our website is: