A salute to the Wassenbergs

Van Wert, Ohio is an art community that seems to place little worry on the doom and gloom of a sliding economy.  After all, harvesting artists is what they do and if it takes more grit to get the job done, so be it.  Through sponsorships, grants, donations and membership dues, the Wassenberg Art Center has been a rock of creativity and pride for over a half century.

     Charles Wassenberg had the insight to recognize this unique community and bequested his own home to the advancement of art in 1954.  He and his wife, Vera, appreciated the beauty of the earth and never wanted it to be forgotten.  Raising and selling peonies was their art media of choice and one that spread to all corners of the world.  Giving back a piece of his good fortune only seemed fitting.

     Today, the Wassenberg Art Center has grown to include numerous art classes, workshops and summer camps, in addition to temporary and permanent exhibits.  The mood is one of celebration and achievement, as regulars and newcomers expand their knowledge and skills of several different types of media.

     As a child that expands their wings and takes on new expectations, leaving home is always inevitable.  The house that has given Van Wert its great start, has also reached a point of growth, whereas in the late summer, WAC moves into a new, larger location to advance the art needs of the community at 214 South Washington Street, the former Van Wert Armory which will bring 11,000 square feet of much needed space. 

Artist Rendition of the new Wassenberg Art Center at 214 South Washington Street, former home of the Van Wert Armory.

Artist Rendition of the new Wassenberg Art Center at 214 South Washington Street, former home of the Van Wert Armory.

     Not only a 6,000 square foot arena to serve as a gallery, but lots of indoor space for classrooms, studios and art-in-residence quarters.  Expansive grounds incorporate the city with paths that connect to the downtown area.  An artistic extravaganza that will include a water display, veterans’ memorial area, and sculptures from local artists are in the plans to bring aesthetic attention to the property.

     While Charles Wassenberg could only hope that his dream of keeping the Van Wert community active and appreciate the world of art; he would have been overjoyed in seeing that his home had served its purpose.

     To learn more, call Hope Wallace at 419.238.6837 or see www.wassenbergartcenter.org.

Published by on May 2013. Filed under At the Centers dept, Northwest Passage Record/NWPR, Ohio, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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