Arts leaders have big picture in mind for Elkhart County projects

Arts leaders have big picture in mind for Elkhart County projects

On Sept. 26, Elkhart County’s arts community came together to go forward

The Elkhart County Arts Leadership Summit brought together around 40 representatives from arts organizations to network, collaborate and dream big. The summit, fittingly enough, took place at downtown Goshen’s Art House venue.

The summit was prompted by discussions by Vibrant Communities leaders earlier in 2019 during brainstorming about potential arts events and the benefits of bringing arts groups together to collaborate.

“There were people there who maybe didn’t know each other before. Now they do,” said Terry Mark of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, one of the co-sponsors of the Vibrant Communities movement.

“There were people there who maybe didn’t know each other before. Now they do,” said Terry Mark of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, one of the co-sponsors of the Vibrant Communities movement.

Discussion at the summit revolved around initial plans for an upcoming Arts Day for Elkhart County students. Patterned after the successful Manufacturing Days initiative, the idea is to expose students to the many career opportunities available in the arts. Arts Day will be piloted in 2020 at Elkhart-area schools with the intent to expand to include more school systems.

The arts representatives also shared their intent to do a major collaborative arts venture next fall.

Additionally, three artists were awarded $1,000 Little Big Idea Grants at the summit. The winning proposals are:

Steve Freeto’s “Coffee Talks.” He and other writers will interview patrons at local coffeehouses about why they happen to be there that day. The stories will be written into various vignettes highlighting the lives of stories of local residents and presented at each of the respective coffeehouses.

Stephanie Pairitz’s Epic Holidaze Dance Concert at The Lerner Theatre in Elkhart on Dec. 5, 2019. Approximately 200 performers, including many from Pairitz’s dance studio, will celebrate American dance through various genres from hip hop, jazz, tap, contemporary, and ballet in a presentation set to Duke Ellington’s “Harlem Nutcracker.”

Justin Rothshank’s plan to offer free pottery throughout the Elkhart County community. Rothshank will create 40 ceramic art pieces and “hide” them in the area. Once found, the pieces become the property of the person who found them. This project is an expansion of a similar Little Big Idea Grant award that he did in Goshen earlier this year.

Adrienne Nesbitt, event director with Goshen’s Eyedart Creative Studio, was part of the summit’s organizing team. She felt the assembled arts representatives had good things to say.

“I was pleased with attendance and engagement and I’m looking forward to future collaborations and increased communication amongst Elkhart Co arts organizations,” she said.

2 Comments

  • Laura Coyne says:

    We did try this valiantly in the early 90s but there wasn’t much there, at least not in the foreground. But we tried! The burgeoning present saya a great deal about the synergistic magnet Elkhart Country has become. It’s been transformative in economic and cultural sectors. Rejoicing!

  • Fred Swartzendruber says:

    I hope that Dick Leaman was invited!

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