January 14, 2013

Arts Alliance sets stage for 2013

by Mitchell Kirk

— Cass County Arts Alliance met Saturday to hash out the details of 2013, a year that will bring new events along with old favorites, complete with strategies to accomplish it all.

CCAA is made up of local organizations advocating for arts-related events and education in the area. It partners with organizations like Civic Players of Logansport and Performing Arts Council.

Recurring events that CCAA helps organize include Artrageous, Jazz Fest and Art on the Avenue.

Artrageous, which consists of a dinner and art auction featuring the work of local artists, is slated for early March.

Artrageous saw an increase in income of over $3,000, mostly from a boom in art sales and corporate sponsorship, according to the profit and loss previous year comparison report complied by CCAA Treasurer Jon-Myckle Price.

Jazz Fest is set for June 8. CCAA member David Herman, who is helping spearhead the festival, said he was still seeking acts to book.

Art on the Avenue, which showcases various musical acts, is expected to return in September. At the meeting, Price noted a slight drop in attendance for this event compared to the previous year, something CCAA hopes to improve through increased marketing.

While CCAA engages in contemporary marketing through social networks like Facebook, members also seemed to place equal importance on their newsletter, which provides a listing of events produced by organizations within the Alliance along with its partners. The newsletter’s circulation is currently at around 1,000. CCAA Co-President Angie Minglin said she hopes to raise that number to 1,200 for 2013.

Another strategy discussed at the meeting was increasing the amount of free tickets for performances to be given away on area radio stations. While giving away tickets does nothing to directly increase funds brought in for theater and concert performances, members reasoned that any increase in attendance would likely have a positive impact in the future.

“If we do our job, they will buy tickets in the future,” said CCAA Co-President Sheila Wildermuth.

Another way CCAA plans on keeping arts alive in the area is by increasing awareness among the county’s youth.

“My interpretation of advocacy is education,” Wildermuth said.

Wildermuth went on to talk about two summer theater workshops in the area last year, saying that both could have been better attended.

She may get her wish, as one area in which arts education in the county seems to have gotten a boost is from an educational arts program set to be available for local elementary school students in the fall of 2013. David Herman, who also serves as the Alliance’s Tippecanoe Arts Federation representative said a program like this used to exist in the past, but hasn’t been possible for years. While a specific program hasn’t been chosen yet, he said it would be performance-based, involving elements like music, acting and workshops led by performers from all over the country. The program is made possible by the Performing Arts Council, which donates money to the Cass County Community Foundation, the interest of which accumulates and is able to fund this and other events.

“When funding gets cut in schools, the arts are the first thing to go,” Herman said. “We’re excited about being able to do arts in the school corporation again.”

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or