By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The November First Fridays focused on the art of the everyday, according to First Friday’s coordinator Katrina Maust.
From the Art of, well, Fine Art, to the Art of Wellness and the Art of Diversity, staff members of Downtown Goshen Inc. tried their hardest to see the artful in the areas around Goshen, according to Maust.
“We wanted to showcase all the neat things we’re surrounded by,” Maust said. “There’s a lot of good, positive things in Goshen.”
Maust said one of her favorite installments was the decorated bra exhibit in Woldruff’s Footwear and Apparel. The exhibit, brought together by IU Health Goshen Hospital, showcased the winners and voter favorites of the contest to raise awareness of breast cancer, Maust said.
The First Fridays event will carry into today, with events going on downtown from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Downtown Goshen Inc. director Gina Leichty said.
“It’s traditionally a two-day event. Usually not as many businesses participate,” Leichty said. “This year, we wanted to encourage as many downtown businesses to showcase how they do things creatively.”
Leichty said some businesses hosted artists, or highlighted their own “artistic” talents, even if they are not traditionally considered art. The Nut Shoppe demonstrated the Art of Chocolate with demonstrations throughout the night.
Pat Hochstedler, mom of shop’s owner and one of the chocolate makers, made chocolate-covered almonds for part of the demonstration time.
“I enjoy when the chocolate turns out well,” Hochstedler said, fingers covered in melted chocolate. “It’s supposed to come out shiny and dry well.”
Another highlight of the November First Fridays was “I Spy the First Fridays Guy,” a hunting game that had Goshen children going location to location on a map for a chance to win prizes. Found Gallery owner Keith Graber Miller said he saw many children participating in the game.
“We’ve already seen about 40 kids come by,” Graber Miller said around 6:15 p.m.
Graber Miller said he saw more activity earlier in the evening than in past First Fridays.
“Normally the traffic for us comes in at 6 p.m.,” he said. “Today, we had a crowd at 5:15 p.m.”
Also celebrated was the Art of Diversity through dance performances at the Goshen Theater. Councilwoman Julia Gautsche, who serves as the council’s representation on the Community Relations Commission, said she hoped crowds enjoyed the performances and the space, as well.
“We did the first part of Diversity Day in May with the Taste of Goshen, and now we have the performance piece,” Gautsche said of the event.
Beyond the art celebrations, First Fridays featured the “Party at the Goshen Powerhouse,” a celebration of the recently completed public parking lot near Interra Credit Union and on the site of a remediated brownfield. City Brownfield Coordinator Becky Hershberger, along with help from the Redevelopment Commission, Community Development Department, Interra Credit Union, the city of Goshen and the federal Environmental Protection Agency, saw the vision for this site and led the project to reclaim it from what it once was — a junkyard and old industrial site.
“It’s been a long process, and it’s exciting to see the final project,” Hershberger said as she looked out on the space. “There have been so many pieces to this space... This is the first piece of the millrace developed. We’ve done the clean-up, and I hope the city can see that this is the development they can see — something new. We have the tools now.”
Patricia Polston with the Environmental Protection Agency, said Goshen may prove to be a national example of what can be done with federal grant funds, which helped pay for the project.
“We think Goshen has a great story... This is exactly the process we want. We’re taking lots of pictures today to hopefully showcase Goshen at a national level.”
Polston said she also gives credit to Goshen residents when it comes to development like this.
“Goshen is a wonderful community,” she said. “I’ve been up here for public meetings, and it was neat to see Goshen residents come to these meetings with ideas, opinions and discussions. It’s what you hope you get in a community.”
Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman thought back on his years in Goshen before he was mayor when he addressed the crowd at the parking lot’s ribbon cutting.
“To know really how incredible this is, you have to be as old as me and have lived in Goshen as long as I have,” he said.
He gave credit to many involved in the project, from the EPA and the Goshen Chambers to several city departments and staff members.
“All of this stuff counts toward building our quality of place,” he said. “Great things happen when you have great people doing great work.”