Big changes ahead for the Pomerene Center for the Arts

| October 28, 2020

Let’s just say it – 2020 has been one tough year. Life as we knew it was turned upside down with COVID-19 requiring all of us to make tremendous adjustments and sacrifices. The effects of the pandemic left very few unscathed, including the Pomerene Center for the Arts. Recently, its board of directors made the difficult decision to move the center out of the Johnson-Humrickhouse home at 317 Mulberry St. Too much time and treasure were being spent at the expense of the Pomerene’s mission.

Anne Cornell has been at the helm since 2000. Through these two decades, the way people learn, make/consume art, and access music has changed dramatically.  Embracing that change, Cornell has led the organization asking, “Who in the arts community is doing what and how? What is not being done? How and with whom can we collaborate to meet that need?”

The Heritage Quilt Barn Trail, Little Social Histories in the old SOTA/Selby Building windows, the artPARK and ART CONNECTS (education/manufacturing program artists in the schools and creating large-scale industrial art in the artPARK) were born of this attitude.

Most recently – social gatherings being out and social distancing in – the Pomerene partnered with Coshocton Regional Medical Center on an arts and health project called Need A Mask, Take A Mask. The artwork for the installation was created by residents of GentleBrook Lafayette Meadows with guidance from Habilitation Specialist/artist Beth Dillehay. Lead artist Anne Cornell zoomed in for the workshops and assembled the work in the Pomerene studio. “Need A Mask, Take A Mask” is currently being installed outside the medical center.

The Pomerene is ready to focus its mission of involving the community in the arts with this kind of community art making. Their goal is to bring people together – businesses, schools, artists and the general public – to create collaborative temporary public works of art. This will require a new studio space, and downtown locations are currently being explored. The Pomerene is also looking forward to the day when social gatherings are permitted again and its popular musical performances can resume in the artPARK.

The timeline for moving out of the Johnson-Humrickhouse home (left by Warner and Lora Pomerene to the benefit of the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum and owned by the library board) has not been finalized. The Pomerene will be working to develop a strategic plan with Linda Linham, a former Coshocton resident who recently returned to the area. A talented artist in her own right, Linham is the owner of LML Consulting and Successful Ventures and brings a wealth of experience in strategic and tactical planning with businesses and nonprofits.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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