A big thank you to Wassenberg artists for completing these birdhouses (many more to come) for our Birdhouse Fundraiser Auction scheduled for June 6, 7, and 8 at the Wassenberg Art Center.
A big thank you to Wassenberg artists for completing these birdhouses (many more to come) for our Birdhouse Fundraiser Auction scheduled for June 6, 7, and 8 at the Wassenberg Art Center.

The arts don’t directly feed a child. The arts don’t battle and prevent disease. The arts don’t immediately provide shelter after a natural disaster. When I was little I was dreaming about what I wanted to be when I grew up. My mother simply replied by asking, “What comes easiest to you Hope?” I like to draw, she smiled then I trotted off thinking about all of the things I liked to do. She died in the summer I was ten years old and that simple, clear advice slipped into a faint memory in the dicey process of growing up. In those years, I decided that the arts were frivolous and not important enough to be considered. They didn’t feed people, cure people or help the environment. So, I decided to save the whales, bears or some type of North American beast and initially majored in a wildlife technology program. I then learned how brutal trapping a belligerent 60-pound beaver in mid-March to determine its gender could be. “What comes easiest to you, Hope?” …maybe just draw the giant rodent…

Years later after publishing some designs in the form of ceramic music boxes and tableware, I realized art made people smile. Interesting. After entering the toy design field I saw art could make kids and people laugh. Hunh. “Do what comes easiest”.

O.k. art has been paying for my girl’s lessons, and a choir trip to Europe. That’s good. At some point my major changed and I learned how a culture’s identity is vitally important to community morale and that high morale increases energy and a positive sense of wellbeing. Another job taught me that creating was at the base of all human nature as the only being the only way of communication for some. After learning how the suppression of a culture through assimilation and economic depression causes some of the deepest demoralization of a community. I became overwhelmingly convinced how our songs, food, art, architecture, design, and our pride of place is tied together for overall good health and economy. Art may not be directly responsible for sustaining life. It makes life worth living.


The Wassenberg Art Center has been around for 58 years quietly supporting the above efforts. Through the Wassenberg fund, which is administered by the Van Wert County Foundation, it is poised to continue supporting Van Wert at full throttle. Projects should never be completed. That can result in stagnation and we must never think we have arrived. A healthy culture expands.

Birdhouses are starting to arrive for the Annual Wassenberg Peony Festival! The houses are providing smiles and laughter and stories. If you could use a truly unique, one-of-a-kind birdhouse that has been transformed into original art, get your bid on! Birdhouses will be sold by silent auction here at the art center during this year’s Van Wert Jubilee Flower Show. Both are scheduled for June 6 & 7 during the Peony Festival. Birds and flowers, a perfect partnership.

Speaking of our vital downtown and local culture we are pleased to announce that the art center will be open until 10 p.m. during the popular Fountain Park Concert Series! Stop by after the concert cool off in the air conditioning take in visual arts and refreshments to top off your Friday night without having to leave town!

You don’t want to miss our next big event! The opening reception for the 58th Annual June Art Exhibit will be on Saturday, June 14 from 6–10 p.m. and will be on view through July 6. Fifty-eight, (58) years is a long history for one art exhibit in a community this size to have been going on. Be proud and join in, Van Wert. Most communities don’t have what we have. We are so excited to announce that Dan Dickerson and the Harp Condition out of Fort Wayne will be performing at this year to celebrate these awesome works of art.

Dan has taken a piano and created a new kind of harp out of the spare parts. He then added electricity and technologic gadgetry to create a unique one-man-band. Using a looping technique he creates his own sound and has a popular following in Fort Wayne and around the state of Indiana. Other performers will accompany him as well, so be sure to check it all out. Our art receptions remain free-of-charge and we are serving gourmet tacos, desserts and providing a cash bar.

For information on exhibits, classes and programs listed on there as well. The Wassenberg Art Center is located at 214 South Washington Street (former Van Wert Armory). We can be reached by telephone at (419) 238-6837, email: info@wassenbergartcenter.org and our website is: wassenbergartcenter.org