Our Story

Mission Statement

To encourage the learning, appreciation, and enjoyment of the arts in the community, through the use of art classes, demonstrations, seminars, exhibits, and lectures regarding all types of art.

The Riverside Art Center Story

Riverside Art Center (RAC) was founded to inspire creativity through the arts. Located in beautiful & historic downtown Wapakoneta, Ohio, Riverside Art Center is home to a variety of art classes and exhibits for all ages!

Nestled along a bend in the Great Auglaize River, Wapakoneta is proud of it’s role in Ohio’s history as the 18th & early 19th century Council Seat for the Shawnee Nation. Native American influence is evident in the names of streets, businesses, and government, such as Blackhoof, Auglaize, Pusheta, and Duchouquet. More recently, Wapakoneta has become well known for it’s Air & Space Museum, honoring it’s most famous native son and our country’s first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

Wapakoneta has had its fair share of economic downturns with factory closings, small business casualties, and job losses, but it has also seen recent growth with the addition of Wal-Mart, Lowes, and several new restaurants and hotels. However, most of this expansion had been located near the I-75 & US-33 corridor, which is several blocks from the downtown business area. In recent years, downtown business owners formed the Wapakoneta Antique and Specialty Shops and a second organization called the Wapakoneta Downtown Partnership, concentrated on downtown buildings and revitalization. These groups in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce joined forces to think of ways to address the issue of attracting more interest in the downtown. Upon reviewing success stories from other small cities in Ohio, they realized that the arts had played a very important role.

The Chamber contacted a small group of local artists, who began to organize in the fall of 2005 with the assistance of the directors of Arts Place (St. Marys, Ohio and Portland, Indiana). The artists studied different types of art organizations and decided to form a not-for-profit community art group, which became the Riverside Art Center on May 3, 2006. They took a leap of faith in renting an empty building and vowed to stay within the heart of downtown Wapakoneta. Within four years, RAC has grown from six artists to a membership of more than one hundred. Through the hard work and dedication of it’s volunteer board and members, it has gained a reputation for excellence as a premier fine art gallery, an art education center, a gathering place for artists, and a friendly environment for free membership meetings (which include interesting demonstrators). RAC provides a new downtown venue for many types of activities including poetry readings, civic group meetings and tours, nursing home tours, and free children’s arts & crafts (held during city-sponsored festivals).

Riverside is the recipient of many Ohio Arts Council Grants and through that support, it has gained the respect and trust of the community. This is evident in the number of new memberships and a dramatic increase in volunteers, participation in activities, and donations for the second half of 2008.

 

Through the dedication and hard work of the  volunteer board and members, it has gained a reputation for excellence as:

  • A premier fine art gallery
  • An art education center
  • A gathering  place for artists on free studio nights – every Monday from 6-9 PM
  • A friendly environment for free membership meetings (which include interesting demonstrators)

RAC provides a new downtown venue for many types of activities including:

  • Poetry readings
  • Improv, civic group meetings and tours
  • Childrens arts and crafts
We offer many Adult and Children’s classes for the  beginner to the experienced in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Come visit us today!

Lifetime Members and Founders

Janice Belgiovone

Richard Chenoweth

Angie Elshoff

Debra Henkener

Gary Herman

Larry McLean

John Rausch

Cindy Staples

Mary Beech

Deb Somerville

Jim & Joyce Kent

Mary Kent

Lisa Barrett

Tracey Wright

If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.Vincent Van Gogh

News

  • The 2016 Member Show is coming soon! Entries will be accepted June 16th and 17th from 12-4pm. [More info]
  • New Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Friday, Noon-4PM, Saturday 10:00AM-1:00PM. [Contact us for information about additional hours].
  • Hang your artwork at Wapakoneta High School Performing Arts Center! If interested, contact Anna Fisher at 419-738-2129
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