WassUp at the Wassenberg Art Center

What is on my our minds at any particular given time.

Strive to Thrive

Hope Wallace - Thursday, April 16, 2015
This weekend we saw the results, firsthand of yet another example of how a community truly comes together to make things happen. Paducah Kentucky, located in southwest Kentucky on the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers suffered much the same economic fate as many small communities. A district called Lowertown was dilapidated, riddled with crime. Vacant properties predominated and suffered the subsequent plummeting real estate values. In 2000, community leaders and groups such as the local Main Street Association, CVB, city government, Chamber of Commerce, financial institutions and economic development worked together, and with their combined brain power decided to take action. The result was getting artists involved in property renovation in an artist relocation project, which in turn, facilitated one of the most successful urban renewal efforts of its size in the country. What was once an area most persons would not even go is now a vibrant neighborhood with happenings and things to do on almost every corner. Friday night we saw people strolling down the quiet streets on their way to a venue, dinner or simply to enjoy the spring weather. Saturday evening was bustling with larger numbers. There were bands here, d.j’s and bands there, an art opening at the centrally located art center and a play in the adjacent theatre. A newly opened brewery located in an old bus station a few blocks away was receiving some great reviews by the folks we met. We listened to and met the members of Gideon’s Rifle and Clusterpluck, toe-tappin’ funk bluegrass bands who would be happy to visit us in Van Wert in the future. Restaurants offered unique menus and upper stories in downtown buildings were filled with apartments or bed & breakfasts. Yes, there was an empty storefront or two. Construction was evident here and there and a few for rent signs were hanging in windows. No place is perfect, there is always turnover and we have all weathered a tremendous financial storm. How we ride those waves, stay afloat, and thrive is up to us.

The arts at the Wassenberg Art Center are doing their part to add vitality. We are happy to announce we have hired two part-time persons to assist us with our events and facility. The positions of Facility & Grounds Attendant and Gallery Coordinator have been filled and we look forward to introducing you to our newest employees very soon!