The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, Jul. 14, 2024

Looking ahead to the year 2015

Here’s to a happy, prosperous, healthy and arts-filled New Year!  Looking back on 2014, it was a successful year for the arts in Van Wert. The Van Wert County Foundation salvaged a Van Wert landmark by making the Armory into the new Wassenberg Art Center, providing our area with yet another cultural wonder to enjoy. The parking lot is now taking shape and this spring will sprout with greenery and landscaping, making it an attractive corner on one of our busiest highways running through town.

Next up is the Franklin Park project, which is already being anticipated by many for the benefits it will provide. I just returned from our Rotary Club meeting and heard how the YWCA is looking forward to utilizing it for summer and after-school programs.  What a wonderful project this is going to be for Van Wert, and its location is right in the heart of town. Thanks once again to The Van Wert County Foundation and the Scott Niswonger Foundation.

We had another successful Fountain Park Summer Music Series this past summer, thanks to The Van Wert County Foundation once again teaming with the Van Wert Parks Department. As I stand at First United Methodist Church and gaze toward the park, it amazes me how quickly winter turns to spring and then, suddenly, we are into another summer of concerts in the park.

I am off to New York City in search of talent for the coming summer concerts as well as next season at the Niswonger  (I hope the police are in a protective mood!  And you can bet at some point during my visit, I will stop a NYC cop and thank him or her for their service). When I return, it will be full speed ahead into planning for next season.

I am never short on ideas from interested patrons of the Fountain Park concerts or the Niswonger season. These are taken into consideration and mixed with some first-hand concerts I get to experience as well as advice I receive from other presenters and agents.  As a programming committee, we consider many aspects of most every concert that is programmed at the Niswonger.  We want to offer diversely entertaining and culturally enriching events we think people will either want to attend or at least give them a chance.  We have high principles we wish to uphold for the concerts we select, knowing the rich traditional values most in our community cherish.  Unfortunately, on occasion, we get disappointed by some things that are said from the stage. Obviously, we have little control of these situations. I appreciate that most understand this and give us credit for trying our best. We always will!

As we look at programming at the performing arts center, it is amazing at how many performers there are who would love to perform at our center. It is because of this that we rarely repeat performers. One of the most difficult aspects in programming is to find something that we think all will enjoy. It is virtually impossible to find something everyone will enjoy. But, as I have said many times over the past 12 years of writing this “Music in Van Wert” column, my greatest joy comes from introducing new performers to you and see how much you enjoy another new “musical” experience. Discovery keeps us new, fresh and alive!  Thank you for your openness to new things.

As we look into 2015 and beyond, I applaud so many of you for expanding your cultural and artistic tastes by attending so many of our concerts. The remainder of this Niswonger season offers everything from a world-class national Geographic photographer to comedians, Broadway shows, kids’ shows and music of all kind. Variety is the name of our game and we will continue to cross over many boundaries to expand the arts culture throughout the region.

Happy New Year to all! I look forward to a wonderful musical year ahead and most of all, sharing it with you, our cherished patrons!


POSTED: 12/31/14 at 7:06 am. FILED UNDER: News