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The Dairy Barn Arts Center Receives Grant Award from the Ora Anderson Conservation Fund


Fund Honors the Legacy of a Regional Conservation Leader

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Ora Anderson Conservation Fund Committee Chair Jean Andrews (right) presents a grant award to the Executive Director of The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Jane Forrest Redfern. From left to right,  David Reiser, Ora Anderson Conservation Fund committee member; Jane Forrest Redfern; Joyce Mullins, The Dairy Barn Arts Center marketing director; Jean Andrews; and Bruce Wentworth, The Dairy Barn Arts Center board member.

Athens, OH – Ora Anderson wore many hats in his life – journalist, conservationist, lobbyist, artist, bird watcher. One of his lesser known hats was the role he and his wife, Harriet, played in conserving a piece of Athens County history, a now noted arts institution, The Dairy Barn Arts Center. The Dairy Barn Arts Center will now be able to remember that legacy through an $8,000 grant from the Ora Anderson Conservation Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) for The Dairy Barn Arts Center Ora Anderson Nature Trail.

When dairy operations at the barn ceased in the 1970s, it was slated for demolition. However, the work of the Andersons, the Hocking Valley Arts Council, and other community partners saved the barn from this fate, allowing it to become an arts center. Today, The Dairy Barn Arts Center sits on 35 acres at the former dairy operations site where people from throughout Appalachian Ohio and the country can enjoy important arts installations.

“We wouldn’t be here today without the efforts of Ora and Harriet Anderson and other members of our community,” said Executive Director of The Dairy Barn Arts Center, Jane Forrest Redfern. “We so appreciate this grant from the Ora Anderson Conservation Fund which will allow us to honor the legacy of Ora Anderson in the best way possible by getting people into nature through the construction of a nature trail.”

Since its transition from dairy farm to arts center, much of the land on The Dairy Barn Arts Center’s grounds has been reclaimed into wooded areas from the pastures located there previously. Because of its close proximity to a natural ridge and hillside along the property, the location offers vistas worthy of a nature trail. This grant award will support the development of a loop trail from The Dairy Barn Arts Center to the edges of the property along the ridge and back. The award will fund the convening of partners in the project, both organizations and individuals, as well as the creation of the plan for the trail, related programming, and trail signage.

“This project combines so many things Ora Anderson was passionate about – a love for the outdoors, the beauty of our Appalachian hills, and getting people to experience those things,” said Jean Andrews, a committee member for the Ora Anderson Conservation Fund. “We are excited to see The Dairy Barn Arts Center collaborate with community members on this project to develop something that will be enjoyed for years to come.”

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s mission is to create opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. A central part of this work is to support communities across five areas essential to community and regional quality of life. Called the Pillars of Prosperity, these areas include arts and culture, community and economic development, education, environmental stewardship, and health and human services.

For more information about how the Ora Anderson Conservation Fund supports conservation efforts in our region and how you can honor the legacy of those committed to it, please contact the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio by visiting www.ApplachianOhio.org or calling 740.753.1111.

About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org.

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