Art is everywhere this spring, thanks to Little BIG Idea Grants for flower sculptures, vases, fiber art and murals

There’s going to be so much art that you might not know where to look first.

The latest round of Little BIG Idea Grant winners features art in all sorts of mediums, and in at least a couple of cases, will require you to go out and find them.

In Nappanee, sculptors will be creating large flower-themed pieces to be displayed within garden planters in the city. While Flower Gardens Art in Bloom will be on display starting in May 2018, organizer Jeff Stillson said the pieces will eventually become part of a permanent exhibition in the Nappanee park system called the Art Path.

Meanwhile, in Goshen, Justin Rothshank will be using his grant to hide 40 handmade ceramic vases. People who find the vases may keep them to do as they wish, Rothshank said in his grant application. The Vase Giveaway will serve as a promotion for the Michiana Pottery Tour that Rothshank co-founded.

Public art is a great way to bring people together, and it’s wonderful that the Little BIG Idea Grant inspired so much creativity, inspiration and community spirit. Launched in August 2017 under the Vibrant Communities initiative, the Little BIG Idea Grant has to date awarded 30 projects ranging from student art exhibitions in Elkhart and Goshen, the Middlebury Pumpkin Races, and a countywide event centered around the children’s toy “slime.”

Here are the other winners of Little BIG Idea Grants and recipients of up to $1,000:

Sally Bawtinheimer — Little Library

A resident of Elkhart’s west side, Bawtinheimer says many school children pass by her home on their way to Daly Elementary School and West Side Middle School, so her idea is to create a free little lending library so that students (and adults too!) could “find a good book and dive in!”

Gregory Korte — Windmill in Goshen

A lifelong resident of Goshen, Korte proposes to celebrate the early Dutch settlers of the east Goshen area with a recreation of a Dutch windmill in Dykstra Park. Korte has worked with the East Goshen Neighborhood Association on the project and has also gotten the OK from the Goshen Parks Department.

Elisha Rauch — Sports Podcast

Elisha is a big sports fan, and the pre-teen from Goshen is starting a podcast to discuss sports with other fans. Elisha said he hoped to inspire other students to start their own podcasts, as there aren’t many in the area, he said in his application.

Carrie Beachey — Fiber Art in Art Alley

A Middlebury resident, Beachey and her husband will create a unique public art piece comprised of reclaimed wood and other natural materials from around Elkhart County. The work will be displayed in the Goshen Art Alley off the 100 block of South Main Street. Beachey said they will also create a do-it-yourself craft station during First Fridays so that people can make a piece inspired by their work.

Annika Miller — Student Mural

A sixth grade science teacher at Goshen Middle School, Miller organized students to paint a mural in the community. Working with seven community partners, the students designed each of the murals and then painted them. This year’s project will take a similar approach, perhaps with the same community partners or new ones, she said.

Amanda Wagner — Youth Arts on the Millrace

A Goshen resident, Wagner will be using her grant to expand opportunities for student artists to create and exhibit their works at Arts on the Millrace. Wagner organizes the kids art activities at the annual event, and the grant would also allow for a larger area for this creativity.

The Little BIG Idea Grants are intended to spread love, creativity and community through programs, events and projects that celebrate life in Elkhart County. The more people who can get involved or be affected positively by a project, the better!

Grant applications for up to $1,000 awards are still being accepted at www.LittleBigIdeaGrant.com. It doesn’t matter if you’re 8 years old or 88 years old. The Little BIG Idea Grant and the Vibrant Communities initiatives believe in the power of creative people being inspired to shine their light across the community.

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