Brian Moonshower, of Brent Gibson Masonry peers through an opening that will become a doorway to access outdoor classroom options at the new Wassenberg Art Center. (Photo submitted)
Brian Moonshower, of Brent Gibson Masonry peers through an opening that will become a doorway to access outdoor classroom options at the new Wassenberg Art Center. (Photo submitted)

Michael Carroll, director of the Center for Regional Development and Katarina Ruedi Ray, director of the school of art at Bowling Green State University presented the findings on the economic impact of the arts in Northwest Ohio at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center today. This study has given black and white statistics to the economic importance of arts and culture right here in our own back yards.

The arts may not be an obvious contributor to revitalization, but the $2.4 billion generated by arts industries in Northwest Ohio alone speak otherwise. If you are interested in learning more about some of the innovative programs communities similar to ours have used the arts to boost their local economies give us a call. We'd be happy to meet with you or your group to discuss these findings and brainstorm ways to utilize this powerful industry right here in Van Wert.

Work has begun with a vengeance this week on our own creative space at the Van Wert Armory. The block walls are cleaning up very nicely and look brand new. Holes have been punched in an exterior wall to create a door in the soon-to-be classroom space so students have easy access to the outdoors for extra messy projects or simply work outside. Old cupboards are being torn our and a welcome reception window has been cut so we can say hello when guests walk in.

Our window sun-catcher class has filled up and instructor Jerry Mazur is downstairs getting our existing classroom ready for the students. We can't wait to see the jeweled color combination they will come up with! The Wassenberg Art Student Show & Tell exhibit will open on Saturday, Feb. 9 and run through March 3. Any person (or youth) who has taken a class with us in the last two years is welcome to submit pieces of their work they would like to share.

We have an original painting currently on view by David Humphreys Miller along the Wassenberg Art Center Collection. David Humphreys Miller was originally from Van Wert and as a young man in high school became interested in the Battle of Little Big Horn.

Miller wanted to investigate the legend from the perspective of the Native Americans. Learning five dialects he individually interviewed and painted from life the 72 survivors of the battle. From this project, much of the information we know as truth today is attributed to Miller's research. This exhibit will open on Saturday, Feb. 9 and run through March 3.

Don't forget on April 24, our friends at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center will have international National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore for a color saturated presentation on photographing some of the worlds most exotic wildlife and another event, "Remembering Rockwell," presented by Ceci Wiselogel and scheduled for March 14 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Visit the Niswonger Performing Arts Center website for ticket information. Tickets are only $5 and this is a great way to learn more about America's favorite illustrator, Norman Rockwell and is the next best thing to a Rockwell museum visit.

If you have any questions regarding the classes or programs and would like to sign up please call the Wassenberg Art Center at (419) 238-6837, email: info@wassenbergartcenter.org or register for classes online at: wassenbergartcenter.org. Hours during exhibits are: Tuesday through Sunday 1-5 p.m. The Wassenberg Art Center is located at 643 South Washington Street in Van Wert.