The Art Association of Randolph County is housed in a beautifully renovated historic railroad depot building at Union City, Indiana, which we fondly call the Arts Depot.
Founded in 1955, The Art Association of Randolph County was originally made up of a small group of artists who held an annual art show. From those humble beginnings, the AARC has become a full spectrum arts agency serving thousands of citizens with a variety of events throughout the year.
Through the efforts of AARC, Union City’s legacy as a railroad center has been preserved. For many years the Art Association had longed for a permanent home for the arts. In 1980, with $250 in its check book, the AARC began a restoration effort estimated to cost $100,000 for the 1913 passenger depot that had been deserted for 25 years.
First the organization achieved recognition on the National Register of Historic Places. Next a National Parks Service grant provided one-third the budget. The remaining funds came from individuals, businesses and industry within the county, matched with hundreds of of volunteer hours of hard physical labor. In May of 1986, the restoration won a state award for Best Renovation Project of the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Historic Preservation.
Events ranging from jazz to bluegrass concerts, drama to dance, art classes to art shows, poetry readings to photography displays are offered by Art Association. AARC’s programs serve over 15,000 people per year. By bringing the arts into every corner of Randolph County, East Central Indiana and Western Ohio, the association has proven that the Arts are indeed crucial to a community’s well-being.