Article by Sharon Hernandez in The Elkhart Truth - A house on the corner of Fifth and Madison streets in Goshen might soon become a hub for visual arts programs aimed at teenagers.
Zachary Tate and Leah Schroeder made a proposal to buy the place at 324 S. Fifth Street.
The couple recently started Goshen Youth Arts, a nonprofit organization that plans to provide after-school, weekend and summer break art classes for middle and high school students.
Schroeder said the center will offer fine arts classes including drawing, painting, print-making, metal-smithing and ceramics to children ages 11 through 19.
She said both she and Tate found a need for a place that focuses on teaching the arts to teenagers.
“It’s a demographic that people just jump over,” she said. “You can find art programs for young kids and you can go to any of the guilds here as an adult and take a class. But we have definitely seen a great need for this sort of outreach programs for teens, whom a lot of people don’t like to work with.”
So Schoeder quit her job as the young adult program coordinator at the Goshen Public Library and started working on starting the nonprofit organization.
“This is kind of like my dream job essentially,” she said. “I knew I didn’t want to work in academia, and I had been working with teens in the library for almost three years, and I was doing a lot of after-school programs and I needed to do more.”
Tate, a research associate at the University of Notre Dame and ceramics artist, said he’s taught summer school arts classes to Goshen High School students for a few years and those classes seem to be growing in popularity each year.
Tate said the nonprofit’s ultimate goal is to offer the classes for free, but they are going to start with a sliding scale system so the classes are affordable to everyone.
The redevelopment commission approved the purchase agreement during its March 10 meeting. Tate and Schroeder agreed to pay $20,000 for the property, which has stood vacant for 10 years. The city purchased the property when there were discussions about possibly widening Madison Street, said Mark Brinson, community development director.
“Once the final decision was made by the state, then we knew there was no reason for the city to maintain ownership of the property,” he said.
Goshen Youth Arts initially made a proposal to buy a property on Third Street last year, but they were outbid, Tate said.
Eventually, the city decided to sell the property at 324 S. Fifth St., and told Tate and Schroeder about it so they could submit a proposal — the committee that reviewed the first proposal was supportive of their idea, Brinson said.
In addition to selling the property to Tate and Schroeder, the city will allow them to use the house at 211 E. Madison St., where Goshen Youth Arts will start giving classes in the fall this year. The property on Fifth Street needs to be renovated, which Tate estimates could cost up to $120,000. He said he is planning to request grant money from the Elkhart County Community Foundation.
Tate and Schroeder said they’ve applied for nonprofit status with the state and are waiting to hear back about it. They plan to accept donations — for more information on how to help, email them at email@example.com.
The city council will also vote to approve the purchase agreement at its meeting Tuesday evening.
Tate and Schroeder will also need to get a zoning variance for the type of renovations they need to make for the building to become an arts school. They might file with the board of zoning appeals to get their zoning variance in April, Brinson said.