Rec Dept. seeks details on possible arts program

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 5:00pm

In an effort to expand the programming offered by the Recreation Department, a group calling itself the Art Ark is hoping it will be able to sponsor several arts-based programs that the Recreation Department will help it promote.

Island residents Kristen Kiley and Sue Brown Black said they hoped to build a curriculum of arts-based programming one or two days out of the week. During the summer, the Recreation Department sponsors any number of activities, but they are primarily outdoors, athletic-based endeavors.

Black told the Recreation Board that she hopes she could recruit teachers for various media — whether it was painting, or weaving or any artform — and have the classes taught at various locations throughout the town. The summer recreation Department season lasts about eight weeks.

Sniffen said the first order of business for the Art Ark organizers was to “come up with a set program. That’s what we need, and then we can advertise it.”

“We can promote whatever you want, but you have to have a specific schedule,” said Chair Chris Willi.

Sniffen said that the programming could be advertised as “an arts camp.”

Board member Colleen Ernst, at first saying that the Art Ark was a “brilliant idea” asked why “you need the Rec Department to be part of it?”

Black said she was looking for support not only to advertise the programs but may also need some help with supplies.

Sniffen said he thought it was a good idea because the group was offering a variety of different classes, but other members of the board suggested that when the schedule for the classes was planned, one type of class be offered at the same time on the same day each week, even if the venue happened to change.

“Consistency is key,” said Willi.

Black and Kiley said they would put out a call for artist/teachers. Black asked if they felt there should be a minimum of students scheduled for each class before it was cancelled. Sniffen said “that would really be up to the artists.” He added that this idea was “something I feel strongly about.”

“I feel good about your positive energy and we can move forward with it,” said Black.

Heinz Field upgrades

The Board turned to a more serious matter when Sniffen said that the foul poles at Heinz Field needed to be replaced, with one located near the parking lot as the pole most seriously in disrepair. He said the poles were 24-feet high but replacing poles that height was expensive. He said he could get 12-foot poles for about $350 a pair to replace what he called the “rotting, rusty poles.”

“If they are a hazard then cut and cap them now,” said Willi. “The season is starting.”

Sniffen said he was also looking into purchasing enclosures for what are known as “automatic electronic defibrillators.” These are portable units that could be stored at places where public activity takes place, such as Ball O’Brien Park or Heinz Field. But the units need to be stored out of the weather.

The cost of the enclosures was about $1,000, said Sniffen, and said he was going to look into buying one for the AED the department already has.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Willi.

Member Shannon Cotter-Marsella asked “if you need to be certified to use it?”

“AEDs are for everybody,” he said.