LAUREL ARTS COUNCIL
November 10, 2020
The Laurel Arts Council (LAC) held its November meeting from 6:05 pm – 7:39 pm via GoToMeeting in Laurel, MD on November 10, 2020. Chair Melissa Holland called the meeting to order.
PRESENT: Heather Brooks, Charles Clyburn, Bharati Dhruva, Joanne Hall Barr (Dept. of Parks & Recreation, DPR), Melissa Holland, Inka Patel, Chae Reid, Leigha Steele (Dept. of Economic & Community Development), Monica Sturdivant
ABSENT: S. Nisa Asgarali-Hoffman, Marilyn Byers, Christopher Dwyer, Angela O’Neal
Minutes from last meeting were accepted.
GUEST: Joyce Jackson, Assistant Director of Laurel TV
- Melissa began the meeting by discussing updates on mural planning. She noted that Maryland Public TV will feature a program on muralist Juan Pineda, whose work is all over the DC area. LAC had previously considered him as a potential muralist for Laurel. Melissa will send a program link to the group.
- Melissa mentioned that while working the polls with Senator Rosapepe, he offered support for getting funding and permission for public art. He is enthusiastic about displaying art at bus stop shelters and along public transportation routes. LAC would need to develop a plan and he would identify sources for funding.
- Melissa discussed the letter of support that she wrote for the Laurel Historical Society. The organization was nominated for a national medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The letter discusses LAC’s collaborations with the Laurel Historical Society. Melissa posted the letter on the LAC Google Drive.
- Melissa reported that Prince George’s County is doing a study on cultural arts in the county. She attended a virtual meeting for Prince George’s County residents. She shared the link to the study and invited LAC members to participate in the on-line survey. The study will assess strengths and gaps in the county’s cultural landscape and creative economy, and the results will help the Prince George’s County Planning Department and the Arts and Humanities Council make decisions about programming and funding for the benefit of all. The creative economy includes people who make a living from the arts. Melissa discussed how the participants in the virtual meeting were invited to enter free form responses to different questions relating to arts in the county. The responses emerged in word clouds, with larger clouds reflecting more frequent responses. Melissa noted that for questions about artistic strengths in the county, the biggest cloud related to diversity.
- Melissa introduced Joyce Jackson, Assistant Director for Laurel TV. Joyce discussed tips for conducting recorded studio visits. She suggested that instead of focusing on the word “studio,” put more emphasis on introducing people to the arts in the form of simple videos. If the videos are three minutes or less, they can be run on Laurel TV and on the associated bulletin board. She discussed how an artist or performer can make the videos on their own, filming themselves with a cell phone or laptop or iPad, while they discuss and demonstrate their art form. The videos can be edited by using PowerPoint to make a title page together with the LAC logo, which can be inserted at the beginning of the video. A music track can be added as well, and a statement about the LAC can be included with each video. Joyce suggested practicing before finalizing the video. She also offered the use of a tripod. Bharati asked if she could bring on someone as a guest. Joyce said that doing so would be fine. Inka asked if she should submit a compilation of images. Joyce said yes, noting that the best compilation would be video. Joyce offered assistance with editing the video. She suggested introducing yourself on video, putting the story together with the different sections in the desired order, and sending the result to her. She will reply about any needed enhancements, and then the video can be shown publicly. Laurel TV will need mp4 videos for their system. Melissa asked if there was free software available to edit mp4 videos. Joyce replied that she did not know of free software, but that Laurel TV uses Adobe and Final Cut. She also stated that iPhone has iMovie, but scenarios are chosen for you with time restrictions. She will check into more about iMovie. Chae suggested using possible free apps available on cell phones.
- Monica updated the group on The Postcard Project. She was contacted by Laurel TV to do an interview about the project on the following Friday. Melissa asked that Monica send the link to the interview when it is completed. Monica has been putting new postcards on Facebook, the latest being from the Girl Scouts. Melissa suggested that Heather work with Monica on adding postcard images to the new Instagram account. Heather offered to coordinate that before the next meeting. Melissa also encouraged the group to “like” the images posted on LAC’s Facebook page to increase the LAC’s reach. Heather suggested that members share relevant things from their own Facebook walls.
- Charles discussed the newsletter article that he wrote for submission to the first issue of The Voices of Laurel, a quarterly paper forthcoming from the Laurel History Boys. The subject of his piece will be the LAC. He asked Melissa to send the piece to other members for edits and comments. Monica will also be contributing illustrations to the issue. The first issue will be released in January. Joanne offered to post Charles’s piece on the city’s social media.
- Melissa reminded the group of the December meeting with Rhonda Dallas and asked for help with making the presentation and presenting questions. She noted that having Rhonda work with LAC will be great for the city. Melissa discussed the virtual meeting in which she and four other members organized criteria for scoring a possible mural location. For primary mural location criteria, Bharati described how the mural should be easily visible on Main Street and be on a path of high foot traffic. She also pointed out potentially suitable buildings and noted the challenges of various types of wall surfaces. Heather agreed and added that looking at the buildings in person makes a difference, as she, Bharati, and Melissa had walked together to scout locations in the arts and entertainment area of Main Street. The three proposed the arts and entertainment area as the best location for the mural. Inka discussed possible locations and mentioned the idea of a wraparound mural, for which she described numerous esthetic advantages. She also asked Leigha if the city had preferences or concepts in mind for the mural. Leigha replied that the Historic District Commission would have input on the design of the mural. Inka asked Leigha if the city already had a funding in the plan when she worked on the mural project years ago. Leigha replied that the arts council was interested in doing a mural at that time; however, it was an idea that city officials broached when the arts council was initiated. Joanne suggested formulating questions for Rhonda because she will be able to identify sources and time frames for mural funding in the county. Leigha added that the CRA (Community Redevelopment Authority) owns three lots on Main Street: 312 Main, the former Farmer’s Market, and the parking lot between St Mark’s and the liquor store. Although they are not buildings, the lots do offer the option of having a sculpture or statue with a small mural painted on it. She mentioned how other cities have installed and painted iconic statues, such as the bird sculpture series in Hyattsville, for which she showed examples. She noted that it would be easier to put statues on a CRA lot than to get permission to paint a mural from a commercial property owner. Leigha asked that the LAC come up with a plan for the mural and identify funding before property owners are approached. Melissa said that grant sources often want a location pinned down before awarding funds, resulting in a circular decision process that makes it hard to know where to start. Charles asked if murals on street surfaces were a consideration. Inka replied that sidewalk and crosswalk murals have been and are being considered.
- Upcoming Meetings
- Tuesday, December 8 at 6 pm
- Tuesday, January 12 at 6:00 pm
- Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00 pm