Dale Cooper, Curator and Visitor Information Center Manager for the Visit Michigan City La Porte tourism information center, is a true connoisseur of the arts. Cooper has worked there for 19 years with countless local artists in the La Porte County area to help them get the recognition they deserve.
“For as long as I’ve worked here, I just saw that there was a need to work with and support our local artists,” Cooper said. “As an artist myself, it’s important to get their work in the public eye and lend a hand in achieving their goals.”
Cooper stated that her fascination for art stemmed from her childhood. She loved to crochet, draw, and paint. Her family members were interested in the arts as well, including her father who drew and played the piano. Cooper attended the University of Alabama at Birmingham and graduated with a major in computer science and a minor in art.
“Working with the local community and sharing my love for art with others really motivates me every day,” Cooper said. “Serving the community and making La Porte County a better place to live means everything to me. We have such a vibrant and diverse community filled with talented individuals.”
Cooper also serves on the Board of Directors for the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, the Michigan City Public Art Committee, and La Porte County Historical Society Museum. She is also on a committee working to create a statue to honor African-American poet and Michigan City native Naomi Anderson.
Cooper stated that art is incredibly important to children, and her work is an effort to get them interested and cultivate their skills. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she taught a monthly art class at the tourism information center called the “Make and Take” class where visitors created their own artwork and then took whatever they made home at the end of the day.
“Art opens their minds and teaches them how to be creative,” Cooper said. “No matter what kind of career you have, there’s always a degree of creativity involved, so to teach children about art and its properties is an important way to help plant those seeds for their futures.”
“My experiences made me realize that I love to work with people and to volunteer as much as I can,” Cooper said. “I am happy with where I am at today. The more I can help others, the more content I feel about my own journey.”
In her free time, Cooper likes to paint, crotchet, make paper flowers and wreaths, and take photos.