Wapakoneta’s Riverside Art Center encourages, promotes creativity

WAPAKONETA — The artist community in Wapakoneta and surrounding area is alive and well — and growing — thanks in no small part to a local arts center that in 2022 is celebrating its 16th year in existence.

Borne out of necessity when a half-dozen local artisans sought a place to display their works, the Riverside Art Center has taken root in downtown Wapakoneta and is supported by artists, residents and corporate sponsors alike.

“We’re here to encourage people to be creative and to promote Wapakoneta as a cultural center,” said Melissa Shroyer, who serves as the center’s director and gallery associate.

Artwork, crafts, jewelry and T-shirts created solely by members line the walls and display areas of the art center, located at 3 W. Auglaize St. in downtown Wapakoneta. It’s all for sale, either through over-the-counter purchases or via the center’s online store at RiversideArt.shop.com. Shroyer said the online store “allows people all over the world to purchase artwork created in Auglaize County.”

Approximately 30 of the more than 200 artists who are members of the Riverside Art Center currently have their work for sale inside the store. Items are continually updated to keep the center vibrant.

Classes are offered by the center for art enthusiasts from age 3 to 80, Shroyer said, in mediums ranging from painting and drawing to stained glass art and crafting. Corporate sponsors on occasion help defray a portion of the associated costs.

“People love the fact that we offer the opportunity for classes in painting and crafts,” Shroyer said. “We work with the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and YMCA and host classes for those groups. We’ve had special needs students come in on field trips and do art projects at the center and we also have live music here from time to time.”

Several of the items for sale inside the art center pay tribute to Neil Armstrong, Wapakoneta’s native son who became the first man to step foot on the moon.

“Yes, we do celebrate Neil, but Wapakoneta is about a lot of other things, too,” said Shroyer.

Artists of every ilk are invited to share their talents with the community.

“We are in the midst of our annual membership renewal drive right now,” Shroyer said. “We are always looking for new members.”

Riverside Art Center, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was founded to inspire creativity through the arts. Normal business hours are Wednesday through Friday from noon until 4 p.m. and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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Melissa Shroyer, director of the Riverside Art Center in downtown Wapakoneta, shows off some of the artwork and craft items created by local artisans that are offered for sale inside the center.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/03/web1_RAC-…-Melissa.jpgMelissa Shroyer, director of the Riverside Art Center in downtown Wapakoneta, shows off some of the artwork and craft items created by local artisans that are offered for sale inside the center. J Swygart | The Lima News

Acrylic and watercolor paintings are plentiful at the Riverside Art Center.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/03/web1_RAC-artrwork-2.jpgAcrylic and watercolor paintings are plentiful at the Riverside Art Center. J Swygart | The Lima News

Art pieces created by nearly three dozen local artists are currently on display at the center.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2022/03/web1_RAC-artwork-1.jpgArt pieces created by nearly three dozen local artists are currently on display at the center. J Swygart | The Lima News

By J Swygart

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CELEBRATING OUR SPIRIT

Celebrating Our Spirit celebrates small organizations, showcasing examples where the little guys are accomplishing big things. Read more stories online at LimaOhio.com/tag/spirit.

Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464