An up-close image of brushes neatly tucked away in the Decorative Art Center of Ohio’s studios, where the organization conducts numerous arts classes. (Margo Sabec/WOUB)

Decorative Arts Center Provides Much for Southeast Ohio

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Situated in historic downtown Lancaster, the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio (DACO) is a lot more than a pretty house on a hill.

Built in 1835 by William James Reese (of the Reese’s candy maker family fame) for his to-be bride, Mary Elisabeth Sherman (the eldest sister of Civil war Union General William Tecumseh Sherman) the Greek Revival style Reese-Peters home now houses one of the most active arts organizations in Southeast Ohio.

Whether they’re putting up world-class exhibitions (such as the Circular Abstractions: Bull’s Eye Quilts, curated by renowned quilt maker Nancy Crow) or providing arts classes for those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, the staff of DACO is always busy.

The gorgeous historical exterior of Lancaster's Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. (Margo Sabec/WOUB)
The gorgeous historical exterior of Lancaster’s Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. (Margo Sabec/WOUB)

Co-director Elizabeth Brown served on DACO’s executive board for several years before becoming one of the organization’s director, alongside fellow co-director Tricia Clifford-Sprouse.

“We’re passionate about what we do here,” said Brown in a telephone interview late last month, as DACO prepared itself for yet another month of dependable community-oriented arts programming.

This month, DACO will continue to host Circular Abstractions (which WOUB’s Emily Votaw spoke to Nancy Crow and Jane Forrest Redfern of the Athens Dairy Barn Arts Center about last month,) and prepare to hold a workshop about machine quilting on April 1 with acclaimed fabric artist Donnalee Kennedy.

The following day, Nancy Crow will appear at the museum for a curator’s talk to discuss the creation of the Circular Abstractions exhibit, which will be on display at DACO until April 23.

The next large exhibition to hit the museum is entitled Three Voices: Conversations on Life and Conflict, opening May 20. The exhibition will feature the work of Cincinnati-based painter Leslie Shiels, Columbus ceramicist Carol Snyder, and Cleveland-based watercolor artist Judy Brandon.

DACO regularly holds classes for everyone from high school students to children with special needs to adults who just want to get an artistic skill under their belt. For a list of their regular classes, check out this link.

DACO is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located at 145 E. Main Street in Lancaster.

The sun-soaked interior of Lancaster's Decorative Arts Center of Ohio's art studio. (Margo Sabec/WOUB)
The sun-soaked interior of Lancaster’s Decorative Arts Center of Ohio’s art studio. (Margo Sabec/WOUB)