Creative Corner

Ogle grant helps board members move forward with Vevay Art Center

Funding has allowed for classes,
exhibits and other activities

VEVAY, Ind. (September 2017) – Big changes are in store for the Vevay (Ind.) Art Center, which has been purchased from the Hocker Family with help from the Ogle Foundation and Switzerland County Tourism.
The building, at the corner of Main and Ferry streets, had been owned by city attorney Ron Hocker. When he died, the building was owned by his son, Matt Hocker.
The building has a long history. It is the Grisard Building, and at one time was a hardware store. The second floor had been a newspaper called the Reveille in 1855.
The Art Center is operated by the Switzerland County Art Center Board. They wanted the building under public ownership and decided to try and buy the building, so they searched for organizations to help make that possible.

Photo by John Sheckler

Ted Brown poses inside the Vevay Art Center.

“The Art Center is owned by the board of directors,” said board member Ted Brown. “It is a cooperative.
In past years, grants, especially Paul Ogle Foundation, have made a big difference in doing what we want to do, and what we had to do.”
Brown and his wife, Mary, had been on the board for quite some time and knew it was time to bring on new people with fresh ideas. So they went to work.
“We have received grants. Most were instructional,” said Ted Brown. “We were able to buy the building through the work of Mike Danner. “He knew the Ogle grant people and the Switzerland County Foundation people.”
The board ownership is guiding the Art Center through a lot of positive changes.
“The board owns and directs,” said Brown. “Building Manager Anita Danner manages the building and gets new artists with board oversight. She oversees decorating and day-to-day operations.”
“It really has been an exciting adventure,” said Danner. “We continue to get more local artists who want to show their work here. None of the artists live more than 60 miles away, so it is truly local art.”
The Art Center board has plans to move into the upstairs with ambitions for art classes, yoga and pottery.
“We are looking for all kinds of different classes,” said Brown.

Photo by John Sheckler

The Vevay Art Center is ideally located on the corner of Main and Ferry streets in downtown Vevay, Ind.

“We are doing instructional stuff involving all the area schools, including Trimble County (Ky.). We are doing that with donations. Art is a big deal, and we need to tell people.”
Brown credits Switzerland County Tourism for giving lots of help.
“Tourism money helped with paint and plastering and the work upstairs,” he said. “It is a cooperative effort on the part of everyone in town.”
The Art Center is now able to offer some scholarships.
“If we start with young people, hopefully, they will go on to school and want to come back,” said Brown.
“Every month, there is a featured artist. There was a recent exhibit of kids from Switzerland and Trimble County schools. Another recent exhibit was by Kent, Ind., artist Harry Elburg. We are lucky to have him.”
Brown is working to see that art from the Vevay Art Center is spreading beyond the Switzerland County borders to places like Madison, Ind.
Brown was a pipefitter and welder for 47 years, leading him to metal arts. Two of his sculptures have been on display in Madison for several months. A bicycle sculpture was at the Jefferson County History Center Museum.

Photo by John Sheckler

Glass artist Mary Brown poses beside her display at the Vevay Art Center.         

Another sculpture of brass musical instruments was in the window of the Village Lights Bookstore. Brown plans to expand the metal sculptures the entire length of the art center building.
Mary Brown is also a long-time board member. She has volunteered time for 3½ years at the center and works on Thursday to sell the local art.
“Ted and I grew up right across the street in the north side of Cincinnati,” she said. “It is pretty cool to meet people coming in here from there. Meeting the people is the most interesting. I like talking to people about my stained glass doing it for 20 years.”
Mary said she enjoys seeing the art center grow.
“As we started to get more artists, we started getting more people coming in – some who had never been here before. I enjoy the unusual tales I hear and hearing where they came from.”

• The Switzerland County Art Center is open from noon until 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (812) 599-4048.

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