The Art Association of Henry County, Inc. was formed in 1965 by Elizabeth Dodds Shaffer, one of the leading artists in East Central Indiana, and several other artists in the county. This group planned and worked to create an art center for the community.
In 1992, through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Verl Shaffer, the Art Association purchased a 100-year-old building in New Castle, which was renovated into the Art Center.
A dedicated group of volunteers undertook a three-year project to bring the Art Center to life. After obtaining a 501(c)(3) from the IRS to facilitate raising funds, and with the assistance of the Henry County Foundation, the Lilly Foundation, and the support of Henry County citizens, the Art Center was completed and dedicated in 1995.
The Art Center is on the site of the oldest retail establishment in Henry County (The Jennings & Sons Lumber Co., founded in 1865) and sits on the southwest corner of the property. Developing the balance of the three-acre property became possible when the Jennings family donated a significant part of the land to create a park to complement the Art Center. The balance of the needed space was acquired as a gift from the former owners.
Work on the Park required the demolition of eight old buildings and substantial excavation before construction could begin.
In 1999, the concept became a reality thanks to donations, volunteers, and the dedicated gardeners called the “Garden Group.” All the volunteers’ expertise, time, and work made the Park what it is today. Nancy Dietz and her team of volunteers work diligently to maintain the Park’s beauty and serenity.
The Park is perfect for concerts, weddings, receptions, festivals, music events, career fairs, etc. It also attracts local citizens and visitors who come to enjoy the gardens, ponds, and trees.
We look forward to your visit and hope you find the Park as enjoyable as we do.
Board of Directors
Kent Kemmerling – President
Greg Dietz – Vice President
Steve Weidert – Treasurer
Marilyn Witt – Exhibit Director
Angie Dishman – Education Committee
Vickie Bertram – Executive Director
Pebbles Caudill – Front Office Coordinator/Receptionist