Village Life

Arts Council springs ahead

Spring into Art schedule

The following free events are scheduled for this weekend’s “Spring into the Arts,”
Friday, March 20:
6 p.m., Open house, Creative Explorations Woman’s Retreat, 253 Xenia Avenue
6–9 p.m., Opening reception, vintage graphic art posters from Poland, The Art Space
6:30 p.m., WildWater Band, Emporium;
7:30 p.m., Beer-making demo, Main Squeeze
8 p.m., Singer/songwriter Justin Moon, Brother Bear’s Cafe
Saturday, March 21:
1 p.m., Dungeons & Dragons Launch Party, Super-Fly Comics
2 p.m., Open house, Creative Explorations Woman’s Retreat, 253 Xenia Avenue
3 p.m., Joanne Caputo film focus group, Senior Center
4 p.m., Writers Read, Emporium
4 p.m., “Taking Root,” Little Art Theatre

With the first toll of spring, the village will be transformed into an organized arts and culture hop as the Yellow Springs Arts Council jump-starts another year of seasonal programming.

Dubbed “Spring into the Arts,” the three-day event is actually the kickoff of more than the “Summer in the Springs” series put on by the Yellow Springs Arts Council, the Yellow Springs Chamber of Commerce and YS Kids Playhouse; it is also the kickoff of a newly structured Arts Council.

Incorporated in 1972, the Arts Council long had a focus on the visual arts and planning workshops and classes for the community.

Now, Arts Council is focused on aligning, supporting and promoting the arts mission of its members, and to present Yellow Springs as an arts destination to surrounding areas.

The Arts Council’s new mission was developed in consultation with Craig Dreeszen, a national consultant who works with arts organizations to develop capacity and organizational structure. Council members said Dreeszen led them through the Arts Council mission statement and helped them look at long-range goals.

The challenge is to strike a balance between past programming, capacity building and promotion in the present, and future intentions to act as a resource hub for area artisans, board members said.

The activities planned for this weekend could have been scattered around town on 10 different fliers, said Lisa Hunt, Arts Council board member who is also the company manager for YSKP.

With promotional organizing help from the Arts Council, events can be promoted to a wider, regional audience as a collective happening, which can draw a larger crowd, Hunt said. This collaboration also allows practicing artisans to be spared the time and expense involved in promotion, she said.

Members cite a lack of data on area artists as a problem. While many claim to live in Yellow Springs because of its strength in the arts, members said research that reveals the extent of the impact of local arts in area social, cultural, educational or economic spheres has not been conducted.

Arts Council has charged itself with looking into this knowledge gap as part of a push towards building an arts infrastructure for area artisans. Members envision an arts council that is able to connect artists to grants and opportunities, advocate for the needs of artists in policy making, and capitalize on the arts as an economic driver by promoting members’ work and educating the public about local talent.

“There is a need for a sustainable economic income in the village, and we feel like the arts can play a roll in that,” Brown said.

In order for the Arts Council to make a contribution towards economic development, board members will “need to do a lot of listening, a lot of learning, and then, ultimately, when decision making is happening we’ll be at the table,” Arts Council President Anita Brown said.

The “Spring into the Arts” event explores the broad definition of art embraced by the Arts Council, which includes 13 categories of creative work, including practitioner healing arts, movement arts, practical arts, media arts and theatre.

Friday, Arts Council will announce the Sculpture Competition, a collaborative public art project between Arts Council, the Yellow Springs Center for the Arts Steering Committee, the Village of Yellow Springs, and the Community Information Project. The challenge will award two prizes of $4,000 and one prize of $2,000 for a public art sculpture.

The competition will be announced at weekend events and can be accessed on Art Council’s Web site (www.ysartscouncil.org), along with a call for artists for the summer series.

“In my mind, what Arts Council is trying to do as an organization is to contribute solutions to some of the long standing issues in the community,” Brown said.

While Arts Council will be working “fast and furious” to ensure Yellow Springs grows as an arts destination, Brown said it’s time we also find ways to represent the community as much more than a funky place to come to on the weekends. Persons interested in helping to build arts-based infrastructure in Yellow Springs and the surrounding areas are encouraged to contact art {at} ysartscouncil(.)org.

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