LIMA — Local art lovers gathered at the Allen County Museum Thursday night to not only enjoy good food, prepared by chef Brian Keegan of Old City Prime, but also to support local artistic programming by raising funds for the Council for the Arts of Greater Lima.
“It’s great to get exposure for the council,” Don Fischer, co-chair for Thursday’s event, said. “It’s an opportunity for local people to get together and celebrate the holidays and the arts.”
The council helps provide free and low-cost arts programs for Lima area residents. One program the council aids is the free summer concert series in Lima’s city parks, bringing in blues, jazz, Motown and folk artists into the city.
“We also fund artist-in-residency programs, where artists from out of town are brought into the community,” Fischer said.
The council can also use funding to secure art-focused public and private grants, with more than $350,000 in outside support drawn into Lima over the past 10 years. For Fischer and others involved with the council, including the arts is a vital way of enriching life in Lima and the surrounding area.
“It makes us more diverse as a community,” he said. “It’s not just about one thing. This enables people who have talents in art to share them with other people who can enjoy them. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body, but I enjoy art.”
Fischer was not only excited to promote the work of the council, but also the Allen County Museum.
“This is great exposure for this museum,” he said. “There are people who were coming here tonight and said that they had not been to the museum since they were kids. They can walk around and enjoy the museum and tell others about it.”
The museum, along with artistic programs and venues, are untapped resources in this area, according to Fischer.
We’re very fortunate in this community to have things like this,” he said. “Another example is the Civic Center here. Sometimes people take things like this for granted. Having a function here gives people the opportunity to see the amazing things that the museum has put in place here for the community to enjoy.”
Along with the entry fees, those in attendence had other opportunities to support the work of the council while indulging their love of art.
“We also have art here donated by local people that will be sold during a live auction, with all the proceeds going to help the council,” Fischer said.
Donors could rest assured that all the money raised during Thursday’s event would go back into the community, with little to no overhead.
“This is 100 percent volunteer,” Fischer said. “None of the money that we raise goes to pay salaries or office staff. There are no offices that we have to pay for. It is all done out of people’s homes. This is entirely a volunteer effort.”