Are you interested in stepping inside this old building and envisioning the future possibilities it holds? Join us for a quick tour on July 14 9:30am-11:30am at the front entrance.
Are you interested in stepping inside this old building and envisioning the future possibilities it holds? Join us for a quick tour!!
May 2 and 16 at 4pm at the front entrance.
We would like to thank the family of Ken Neuenschwander. After the sudden unfortunate death of Ken, our founding President, the family helped raise over $15,000 to the project. Ken had a vision for the center to bring economic growth to Napoleon and a much needed Theater and recreation center to the residents of Henry County and the surrounding area. It is people like the Neuenschwander family that will make this project a reality.
To find out ways you can help the project please visit our website www.culturalcenterhc.org
Picture: Char Neuenswander, wife of Ken and Julie Busch CCHC Co-President.
What seemed a dying dream has turned into the Little Engine that Could. “I think I can, I think I can.” “I know I can, I know I can.”
Assuming a co-presidency for the Napoleon Civic Center last Fall, Steve and Julie Busch (who stopped the wrecking ball that seemed destined for the Napoleon Armory) are driving the Little Engine that Could in an uphill climb. The goal is $1.3 million to repurpose part of Napoleon’s old Central School into a performing arts and athletic center serving Henry County and the outlying areas.
“It took a lot of work for Ken Neuenschwander and his team to get the Napoleon Civic Center organization off and running,” commented Steve recently. “With Ken’s failing health and other unforeseen circumstances, it looked like the project was stuck in its tracks.”
“But we have a new load of fuel for climbing that hill,” smiles Julie. “Part of it is the name change from Napoleon Civic Center to the Cultural Center of Henry County. This opens up the project to the entire county and even beyond.”
Board Treasurer Mark Schwiebert from Hamler, adds: “The ‘#HenryHas’ marketing theme presented to the Commissioners recently is a nice way of promoting all the plusses that Henry County can offer to new businesses. One amenity missing, though, was the project we are working on—a performing arts and athletic center. That will be the frosting on the cake.”
Recently, an anonymous donor came forward to pay the debt owed to the Napoleon Civic Center’s architect, G5. “We are certainly grateful for this person’s generosity, Schwiebert said. “And we have completed the paperwork process to be exempt from real estate taxes.”
“Roger Fisher [executive director] and Peg McDonald [marketing director] of the Defiance Cultural Center have provided a lot of direction that we plan to follow,” committee member Gary Westhoven commented. “Their lineup of performances hits all ages. That’s what we hope to provide for Henry County. The building has two large gymnasiums for athletic and fitness activities.” The auditorium can seat up to 700.
Public tours of the building are being planned for the near future.
To help the Little Engine that Could climb the hill, thank you for considering a gift for the Cultural Center of Henry County, P. O. Box 585, Napoleon, OH 43545.
Dear Ms Lyne:
On behalf of Bert G Taylor Post 300 of The American Legion, Napoleon, Ohio and it’s Executive Board, it is my pleasure to write this letter in support of the proposal to save, renovate and restore the historic John L. Johnson auditorium and the adjacent west wing of the former school building.
We understand that the renovation of John L. Johnson Auditorium will result in the following venues being provided for the residents of Napoleon and Henry County.
- State of the art community center
- Reception hall space
- Meeting rooms
- Visual and performing arts auditorium
We fully support the efforts of the Napoleon Civic Center in this endeavor. Any project that can provide a venue to bring the community together is worthwhile and it is our sincere hope that the efforts of the Napoleon Civic Center will provide the necessary funding to bring this project to a successful conclusion.
Terry L. Hoops
Bert G. Taylor Post 300 of the American Legion
Dear Napoleon Civic Center:
It is my pleasure as the President of the Napoleon High School Alumni Association to write a letter in support of the renovation and restoration of the historic John L. Johnson Auditorium. We support the efforts of the Napoleon Civic Center as they seek external funding to support a future community center and performing arts venue for the residents of Henry County.
NHS Alumni Association
Letter of Endorsement for the Renovation & Restoration of John L. Johnson Auditorium
Mission Statement: The Henry County Chorale is a newly formed non-profit adult community mixed chorus that is based out of Napoleon, Ohio. Our mission is to provide an outlet for those adults who wish to be a member of a choral ensemble. The chorale’s additional mission is to entertain and provide scholarships to area graduating high school seniors who are pursuing a degree in musical arts. Repertoire includes lighter numbers such as show tunes, jazz, pop, patriotic and some sacred music. Concerts are presented throughout the year.
I wrote the above mission statement in December 2010, hoping that the initial grouping of individuals would number around twelve. To my joy, we have concluded our first year with almost forty individuals who have joined the chorale for not only the reasons as described in the mission statement, but also joining for the joy of singing and performance, experiencing the self-appreciation of artfully performed music as a result of intense rehearsal, discovering the comradeship of fellow singers, finding a niche shortly after moving to the area, providing a community service to the Henry County area, and simply enough, just having fun.
Why do we value music? In an article entitled Vision 2020, edited by C. K. Madsen(2000) and published by the Music Educators Nation Conference, Reimer makes the statement “that to be human is to make meaning and seek meaning. A life full of meaning, including musical meaning, is a life fulfilled in one of its primary needs”. We as human beings often ask ourselves “why were we placed here on earth?” The typical high school student asks that by wanting acceptance by peers, wanting to find his/her niche in the school setting, by wanting to belong to a group. “The best reason to study music is that it gives people a reliable, thorough, and efficient way of becoming expert at creating, communication, and deriving meaning musically in the world of humans (Madsen, 2000).
How do individuals participate in music? Jellison stated that “music teachers across this country every day provide pleasurable, enjoyable creative music experiences for their students. Yet, it appears that many children and adults do not choose to continue many of these music experiences outside of school (Madsen, 2000). Perhaps we need to plan more directly for the future musical lives of students. This can start with the renovation of John L. Johnson auditorium. The mission of the Napoleon Area City School District is to “lead, learn and live in the pursuit of excellence.” The ultimate objective of all standards, all music curriculums, and all school personnel is to help all students gain the broad skills and knowledge that will enable them to function effectively as adults and to contribute to society in today’s world and tomorrow’s. As the ultimate goal of music education…is to identify those skills and experiences that are important building blocks on which to structure adult music experiences” (Madsen, 2000).
President John F. Kennedy remarks at Amherst College, October 26, 1963, made clear the need for a nation to represent itself not only through its strength but also through its art and as he said, “full recognition of the place of the artist.” Two years later, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, creating The National Endowment for the Arts. Kennedy also stated in his speech, “I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past, and which will build handsome and balanced cities for our future… I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well. And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.”
As director and founder of the adult community choir, The Henry County Chorale, I fully endorse the renovation and restoration of John L. Johnson auditorium. As a music educator, I see the need for the district and community to not only provide for the numerous extra-curricular sporting activities, but more importantly to provide for the board adopted curriculum-based music education within the district with a performance arena that allows for the culmination of what is taught in the classroom. The first priority of the performance area should be for the arts, music, dance, drama, and not to diminish these disciplines to secondary users of the facility. A gymnatorium does not support the classroom pedagogy. An acoustically renovated auditorium not only supports the classroom pedagogy, but also will aid the student in learning proper etiquette and decorum for an artistic performance. It will also be a reflection upon the Napoleon community in general as President Kennedy declared in his speech, to “enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens”. The Henry County Chorale would be proud to call the renovated and restored John L. Johnson auditorium, “home.”
Director and Founder
Henry County Chorale
The Henry County Arts Council
Napoleon, Ohio 43545
Re: the Napoleon Civic Center Concept
We at the Henry County Arts Council, believe that retaining and improving the Napoleon Area Schools’ Elementary and Middle School Building on West Main Street, Napoleon is a viable and exciting idea. We very much like the ideas of gathering the non-profit organizations of our area into one space not only for convenience, but for financial reasons. The John L Johnson Auditorium, which is the ONLY theatre space in our county large enough to seat 750 persons is so important for our community. The cafeteria space and gym space is great for on-going practices and use.
We believe that this building is a cornerstone of our town. We wish the support group that is heading this project good luck in the success of a civic center for ALL OF US in Napoleon and in Henry County.
Mary Katherine Meyers
Henry County Arts Council
The River City Rodders Car Club is an organization of classic, street rod cars and trucks and original finds, from our community of Napoleon, Ohio and the surrounding area. We love to show off, brag and sometimes dazzle the eyes of many. We also love to restore, while preserving the beauty of some of the many vehicles that might be discarded. We as car enthusiasts enjoy the arts in different avenues, but all work together to preserve the past.
In this aspect the River City Rodders Car Club have a lot in common with the “Save the John L. Johnson Auditorium”.
This worthwhile community center and performing arts facility is a huge part of Napoleon and its talented people.
We support and endorse this valuable project to save this historic auditorium, and to keep the arts alive.