Abby Deaton - Community Blogger
Abby Deaton
Abby Deaton, a senior communication major at Goshen College, is working with FiveCore Media General Manager Kyle Hufford to research the use of video on community blogs through the college's Maple Scholars program.

Deaton will be creating videos that focus on events and people in the Goshen community. In the summer of 2013, she did a similar project for Goshen Commons. She is one of several former Goshen Common's bloggers that will be contributing to The Elkhart Truth's Community Bloggers section until Goshen Commons returns the fall of 2015.

Goshen artists craft community

The first annual Arts on the Millrace highlighted Goshen’s growing number of entrepreneurial artisans. Take a closer look at some of them in this feature video. 

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.

Abby Deaton is a senior at Goshen College who is creating a series of videos about people in the Goshen community as part of the Maple Scholar’s program. Visit her community blog for The Elkhart Truth, Speaking of Goshen..., to see more of her work.

It’s rare that a theater group and a construction company team up to host an arts festival, but that’s exactly what happen at the Arts on the Millrace event on June 7.

Adrienne Nesbitt, artistic director at New World Arts and coordinator of the event, believes the Goshen community’s support for the artists makes partnerships like that possible.

“It’s not just the artists supporting artists,” Nesbitt said. “It’s everybody recognizing the artists in our community are valuable and important.”

The first annual Arts on the Millrace was held on June 7 on the north end of the Mill Race Trail in Goshen. The event was meant to celebrate the artist community in Goshen, as well as showcase the construction project being done by La Casa, Inc., on the Hawks Building. La Casa is renovating the building to create the Hawks Arts and Enterprise Center, which will have living and work spaces specifically for artisans.

According to Nesbitt, the creation of the Hawks Arts and Enterprise Center coincides with a rising number of artisans and new businesses in downtown Goshen. Nesbitt said there is an entrepreneurial spirit in Goshen that has been supported by the community in recent years.

“You go to a store downtown, more than likely somebody who’s working there is an artist or a young person who’s trying to start a business,” Nesbitt said.

Jenny Frech, a vendor at the Millrace event and owner of The Soapy Gnome Home Goods Store, believes businesses flourish when owners are artistic.

“I think that a community that supports the arts is a creative community and creativity is essential for building businesses,” Frech said.

The Soapy Gnome, which opened up a new location at the beginning of June, features not only Frech’s soap, but 10 local artisans’ work as well. The store features items such as soap dishes and shaving mugs created by a local potter, aprons, cloth napkins, baskets, jewelry and handmade postcards.

Frech believes collaborating with other artisans encourages artists to try different projects they may not normally work on.

“For instance, I make soap and somebody else makes a soap saver that they can stick the soap in,” Frech said. “So we’re both selling a local product.”

Frech hopes that as The Soapy Gnome grows it can be a place where other artisans can start their small businesses. She hopes these micro-businesses can sell their products at The Soapy Gnome and then “maybe even outgrow The Soapy Gnome” to start their own businesses.

Nesbitt believes the continued support for local artists will help to nourish the Goshen community. With efforts such as La Casa’s work on the Hawks building and small, collaborative art businesses like The Soapy Gnome, Nesbitt believes the number of artists that will come to Goshen will only grow.

“A town void of an artists or any creative culture is going to be a town that no one wants to live in,” Nesbitt said. “And I think that’s why Goshen is growing and changing in such a positive way because artists are sticking around.”

Would you like to become one of The Elkhart Truth’s community bloggers? Get in touch with our community manager, Ann Elise Taylor, at ataylor@elkharttruth.com.

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