Example of our upcoming Stage Make Up Class.
Example of our upcoming Stage Make Up Class.

In addition to our well-attended 35th Annual Wassenberg Photography Exhibit opening this past Saturday our new fall classes have started in earnest this morning with our ongoing watercolor class.

The main gallery was filled with people painting and by the sounds of the laughter, having a great time. Our classes run typically once a week for a month and some are a quick 1-2 day stint. So if you are interested in creating but have a challenging schedule, check out the dates and times. Some workshops take no time at all.

In addition to many of the photographs currently on display being for sale our Annual Artists Sale and Exhibit is rapidly approaching. We are looking forward to our favorites and some new artists joining in this year. We'll be accepting entries Nov. 6-10, 1-5 p.m.

If you are a practicing artist, hobbyist or merely dabble, for the price of a $20 artist membership you can exhibit your work. Entries are judged for cash awards.

The exhibit will open on "Black Friday," Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24 beginning at 6 p.m. with great music, fine food and mulled wine. This is an excellent opportunity to begin your holiday shopping and purchase just the right gift for anyone. Unique and one-of-a kind items, crafted by regional artists is a wonderful way to say you are important to me and also a great way to support local talent.

Adults and parents with children who are in need of the coolest ever Halloween costume or carved pumpkin are in luck! Just in time for Halloween we are offering a stage make up class taught by Mark LeMieux. Mark has had extensive experience with high level costuming having won awards at area ComicCon conventions.

He will teach you, your child or both of you how to create whatever creature you'd like to transform into this Halloween season. In addition, we are having a creative pumpkin carving class taught by Matt Temple and myself. Carve 3-dimensional faces in your pumpkins for a unique creepy, happy, funny glow.

Decorative Ceramic Carving is coming up on Nov. 7, with Matt Temple. Sgraffito is one of our favorite techniques for ceramics around here. Sgraffito is a surface carving on the clay through a layer of colored glaze. This works well even for those who think they can't draw because it adapts so well to patterns. You will take home a plate or bowl that is a functional piece of art!

For additional and detailed class offerings scheduled through March, check your mail, the website or simply give us a call.

Can the arts literally bring vitality back to a community? How in the world? First answer, absolutely. Second answer, there are hundreds of communities whose manufacturing bases have all but disappeared in the past decades causing population decline and the resulting fallout such as downtowns losing their vibrant businesses and events. There are those communities who have successfully turned to creativity and the arts to rectify the problem.

Even as far away as remote Homer, Alaska and as close as Grand Rapids, Michigan art centers have acted as a type of incubator for new ideas, organic growth and small business start ups. Those very events and businesses have transformed their tired communities into a literal attraction, a place people want to go and eventually stay. In turn, this is what companies look for when choosing a place to locate larger manufacturing companies.

It is these examples that energize and inspire us to move our dreams forward with the Van Wert Armory. It's sitting with the interior demolition work 95 percent complete and waiting for the next phase. School students from Vantage, community volunteers, members of our board and some area businesses share our vision and have chipped in and lent a hand and we cannot thank you enough. On to the next adventure soon, we hope you all join in.

The Wassenberg Art Center's hours during exhibits are: Tuesday through Sunday 1-5 p.m. and you may contact the art center at (419) 238-6837, by email: info@wassenbergartcenter.org or via our website at: wassenbergartcenter.org. The Wassenberg Art Center is located at 643 South Washington Street in Van Wert.