The Arts are a Driving Force in Lancaster, Ohio

Posted by: Linda Woggon on July 28, 2014

In communities across Ohio, the arts are helping increase quality of life and drive economic development. Last week I had the good fortune of observing this in Lancaster, Ohio.

Barbara Hunzicker, a member of the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Board of Directors and one of Lancaster’s biggest arts advocates, was the perfect person to accompany me to the Edith Head exhibit. Barbara was instrumental in bringing this outstanding exhibit to Lancaster and it could not reside in a more beautiful place, the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio where Barbara is chairperson of exhibits.

Edith Head is one of the most recognizable names in film fashion history, earning 35 Academy Award nominations over her 60-year career. The costumes in this exhibition represent an amazing cross-section of films produced between 1937 and 1967. The exhibit was curated by Randall Thropp and has been outside of Hollywood only on one other occasion. It runs through August 17 and is well worth a visit.

Barbara and I also visited with art advocate Trisha Clifford-Sprouse, the Decorative Arts Center’s Education Director. She showed us the Wendel Center for Art Education. Drawing students of all ages, it is popularly referred to as “The Garage”, because it was formerly the carriage house of the residence that became the Decorative Arts Center. During our visit we were able to observe a class of four children paint self-portraits. We definitely saw some budding talent in “The Garage” that day! Back on the first floor of the Center another group of children were learning about jazz from the legendary Arnett Howard.

I spent the second part of my visit with David Scheffler, another strong advocate for the arts, David is an award-winning fine arts photographer. His studio is in downtown Lancaster and his work can be found at Art & Clay on Main and the Fairfield Heritage Association Georgian Museum.

We began our look at the arts scene with a tour of the outdoor sculptures located throughout the downtown. These sculptures are very special because they were created by area students. The students are mentored by well-known Lancaster sculptor, Ric Liechliter as they design and build their steel sculptures. Each sculpture is displayed downtown for public viewing then goes back to the school where it was created for permanent display. What a unique way to teach art in the schools and supply public art for the community!

We also visited the Ohio Glass Museum, watched a glass blower at work, and stopped in at Blue Shoe Arts. Blue Shoe is an accessible studio for artists with developmental disabilities. Each artist explores their own creative style in whatever medium they desire and the art is professionally displayed for sale at the gallery.

There is nothing better than seeing how the arts are helping to drive economic development and quality of life in Ohio communities. Thank you Barbara, David and all of Lancaster’s arts advocates!

Linda Woggon is Executive Director of Ohio Citizens for the Arts.

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