A Community of Art

A Community of Art

A common passion for art connects our community. Artisans, artists, and their supporters are helping grow Goshen’s identity as a vibrant center of creative enterprise.

The recent creation of the Mayor’s Arts Council, led by Amy Worsham seeks to support emerging networks and help new artists get established.

Dick Lehman is a master potter who has supported many apprentices and interns, contributing to a deep web of relationships and an artistic legacy appreciated around the globe.

The Community Resilience Guild invited these leaders to explore the intersections between Goshen’s past and present relationships to the arts, and the challenges and opportunities before us.

Watch the Full Video:

To dig in deeper, explore the arts related content mapped out in the Guide, or see the program and interactive map below.

Dick Lehman’s work and philosophy as a ceramics artist are featured in the video below, while Amy Worsham and the creative local context she’s working in are highlighted in the following Good of Goshen video.

Dick Lehman’s Background

“There were many days I think that the customers had more faith in my ability to weather this change than I did, and I think one of the things about Goshen is that there’s been an enormous support for artists.”

(from a downtown studio to the development of The Old Bag Factory)

10 Essential Elements

“As I thought about how Goshen could become the kind of place that it is today, I identified what I think are 10 essential elements.” -Dick

Including: Goshen College; Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Center, Goshen Chamber of Commerce; Dave Pottinger; City of Goshen; Community Foundation of Elkhart County; Midwest Museum of American Arts

How do you see changing technological and economic contexts reflected in our arts community?

Mapping Community Assets

“The last 16 months, the Arts Council has been developing a database to put information online, so that people can look up and find artists, and that changes the way that people buy art.”

“Every community brings different pieces, so part of the challenge is in understanding the assets that are in a community and how best to bring that to the public in a way that’s going to be used.” -Amy

Looking to other communities and models for inspiration

“I’ve been keeping my eye on Springboard for the Arts, a program in St.Paul/Minneapolis, that offers many of the same resources and different ways that artists can plug into very specific needs that you have as an entrepreneur or a creative, without an immediate network for saving money, posting jobs, etc. Its just a number of ways to reach out and reach in.” – Amy

“In Ohio, there’s an organization called Ohio Designer Craftsmen, who were doing on a State level what Amy has been charged with, and they’ve succeeded. … One of the bits of feedback they got from artists were comments about how hard it was to buy affordable insurance, so they created a statewide group insurance option for artists.” – Dick

Goshen’s Artist Population

“How do you address the different needs? We have artists that are coming right out of college. We have mid-career artists. We have artists that have been doing this full-time all their lives. … I’ve focused many of my efforts in creating artist meetups, where we talk about these kinds of topics and try to bring everybody up to speed and level the playing field.” -Amy

Artist Development and Livelihood

“I had the good fortune over the years to employ about 50 people,10 of whom have gone on to their own full-time careers in clay. Having a working studio to bring folks in and introduce them to tasks, from the most basic to the most sophisticated; to involve them in marketing and involve them in product development and teach them a set of skills that they can take with them other places, is something that developed over time.” -Dick

the ‘Michiana Wood-fired Aesthetic’

How does Goshen regard different types of art and support works of craft as well as fine arts?

Diverse Types of Art

“We are a city, a community, that knows how to work with their hands. I think the Indiana motto is a state that works, and we are a city that does just that. We know how to use our hands; it’s kind of ingrained.” -Amy

“Some folks would call me a clay artist probably based on those things, but I’ve just tried to make what interests me and I’m happy to let someone else worry about the classifications and designation.” -Dick

“Getting the art into the community seems like a vital part of what we do to contribute to the community … that’s also where the market is — people want to buy from you because you’re a part of the community. … The artists are a part of the community, going into the community, as well as trying to bring the community into the studio. … That kind of interaction seems very important.” -Merrill Krabill comment

Community Intersections and Relationships

“I think about the range of relationships that took place during my years there at the Bag Factory — and how I was invited into some of the really sacred spaces.” -Dick

“We have such receptive places and spaces where artists are not on the fringe — they are tied deeply to who we are as a population.” -Amy

Seven Questions Creative People Must Face

by Dick Lehman

1) What is my tolerance for failure? What do I do when things go all wrong?

2) Am I able to see the seeds of possibility and genius in my failures?

3) What do I do when I don’t know what to do?

4) What is my tolerance for ambiguity, ambivalence, paradox and uncertainty?.....(and to what extent am I able to embrace these as ‘friends’?)

5) How do I live with creative ingenuity while, at the same time, living within REAL limits?

6) To what extent, finally, am I willing to follow my heart? What do I do when my inner voice comes in conflict with the expectations of others?

7) Who are my influences, and why is it important that I pay attention to them?

Japanese Influence

“Perhaps the real meaning of sensei — master — is that one continues to carry an empty cup waiting expecting it to be filled — not by any single person or influence or single experience — but by and through one’s increasing abilities to apprehend, receive, recognize, express, and embrace beauty.”

(Dick reflects on his interviews with three generations of Japanese master potters, drawing from several published articles)

Supporting Generativity

“Ambitious ambition can have a terribly negative reading, but I would like to be talking about ambition in its most positive definition. But we give our life to making work, and I think a natural question when we get to the age I am right now is ‘was that enough, was it enough to invest my life making beauty?'” -Dick

Learn more about Amy’s and Dick’s work and activities through the map below:

About The Author

Phil Metzler

As the director of the Community Resilience Guild, Phil helps design and facilitate community initiatives that build relationships and navigate complexity. A passion for building community resilience and a reverence for life guide his work.

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