Monday, April 12 will forever mark a monumental day when the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation team of professionals that present Van Wert Live events returned to action. With eighteen shows presently planned in 2021, the headquarters of the VWAPAF is abuzz inside the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. The starting line-up for the Van Wert Live Team includes Matt Saunier as Operations Steward, Michelle Agler as Director of Hospitality & Facilities, Hugh Saunier as Technical Director, Quincy Thompson as Box Office Director, Marie Miller as contracted Marketing Director, and guided by Tafi Stober as Executive Director. Retaining this dynamic staff during the pandemic is a reflection of the dedication and commitment that each has towards the vision to make Van Wert an Entertainment Destination. Also, a vibrant part of the Revive Live Reboot Camp was VWAPAF Chairman, Gary Taylor and Van Wert County Foundation Executive Secretary, Seth Baker.

We understand the value of the performing arts as it relates to the quality of life. We also know that the Board and Staff are not enough to revive the live performing arts. Thanks to community leadership and invested support for the arts throughout the years, live entertainment has flourished in Van Wert County. Van Wert was known for the Community Concert Series, the Fountain Park Summer Music Series, The Messiah, and then the Niswonger Performing Arts Center really put live entertainment on the map in Northwest Ohio, all powered by the Van Wert County Foundation. This legacy of music is reflected in the lauded school music and drama programs that currently exist in Van Wert County schools. We love live performances and it shows. It is being cultivated into our youth who are returning to be part or supporting its continuation. 

We are focused on creating connection points for anyone to become an active part of Van Wert Live events. Soon and very soon, information will be shared to rebuild the community around live entertainment in our music city. This includes Membership and Volunteer opportunities as well as the freedom to purchase tickets. The vision to make Van Wert a live entertainment destination means something all of us. We are all stakeholders. Seventy-two percent of the 250,000 tickets sold to Niswonger shows came from outside of the city of Van Wert. This is an outstanding number of guests who have chosen to spend their money in our community. The benefits of this economic reality has sustaining impact on our businesses. This in turn positively enhances the services and amenities available for our residents. We are deeply honored to be part of the quality of life equation. For that reason, we reach out to engage ambassadors in our continued success.

A commanding aspect of our future planning is to ensure the safety of those who are part of the revival of the arts. We are working in close coordination with the Van Wert Health Department in establishing protocols that are in line with the ever-evolving state of Ohio guidelines. This will ensure the safe return of our patrons, volunteers, staff, artists, and industry partners.

We are back so that you can come back and we can return together safely to a stage of inspiration in Van Wert. Stay tuned to our social or as we bring you "live" updates!