Board or Committee Meeting
Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 6:30pm


Meeting Minutes
January 8, 2019

The Laurel Arts Council (LAC) held its January meeting from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at the Laurel Municipal Center in Laurel, MD on January 8, 2018. Chair Kelsey Eustace called the meeting to order.

PRESENT: Marilyn Byers, Bharati Dhruva, Cheryl Dyer, Kelsey Eustace, Christian Givens, Nadia Janjua, Melissa Holland, Alisa Kerr, Leigha Steele (Department of Economic & Community Development, ECD)

ABSENT: Angie O’Neal, John Drago, Joanne Hall Barr (Dept. of Parks & Recreation, DPR)

GUESTS: Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, Christopher Dwyer (Artistic Director at Prince George’s Shakespeare in the Parks, St. Vincent Pallotti High School Head of Theatre Program), Khalia Evangelista (Laurel resident), Zinoosh Farbod (Laurel resident, Artist),

The minutes of the November 13, 2018 meeting were approved by all LAC.



  1. Special Guest: City of Laurel Mayor, Craig Moe. The Mayor thanked the LAC for its work the past year and a half in producing many arts events and in launching community projects to create art in public places for the City.
  2. Special Guest: Christopher Dwyer
    1. Christopher Dwyer was invited to share how St. Vincent Pallotti’s Theatre Program and the Prince George’s (PG) County Shakespeare in the Parks may be involved with LAC, and in particular, with the City’s 150th Anniversary Celebration.
    2. Christopher Dwyer shared that St. Vincent Pallotti High School has programs which provide opportunities for students to get an intense study of arts starting from Freshman year, as well as dual programs with focus on dance and music. He is well connected with Christel Stevens at Maryland National Capital Planning and Parks Commission, who oversees the Shakespeare in the Parks program. That program takes Shakespeare plays and gives them a modern twist. They tour different Municipal buildings owned by Parks & Planning in PG County. He was recently contacted by Montgomery County to bring the shows there as well. They have performed in Laurel at Montpelier Mansion.
    3. He is interested in helping Pallotti students become more involved in the arts community at Laurel, for example, through musical performances or poetry readings in the gallery space at Sip @ C St. Flats.


  3. Year in Review
    1. Members are to send Chair Kelsey photos from all events LAC has participated in at [email protected] by Saturday, January 12th.  
    2. After adding notes about membership and photos, Christian will send out the “Year in Review” Newsletter to Members.
  4. City of Laurel 150th Anniversary in 2020
    1. Kelsey and Marilyn will be attending the 150th Anniversary dinner on Thursday, January 10th at the Municipal Center.
    2. Cheryl will head the Subcommittee and shared ideas about how the arts can be involved in this celebration including poetry, music, planting 150 trees, 150 prayer flags, etc., as outlined in the Agenda. Marilyn and Bharati will also be on the Subcommittee.
    3. The celebration will start in 2020. This year will be used for planning. LAC can also piggyback on City of Laurel initiatives such as “Riverfest,” or Emancipation Day Celebration by St. Marks Methodist Church.
  1. Tile Mural Project
    1. Cheryl reported that Allen Ernstein, one of the Art Teachers at Pallotti, had some of his students create sketches for this project, and LAC will purchase the basic materials he needs to get started.
    2. After Cheryl meets with Mr. Ernstein, she will buy the concrete boards and glass using grant money by contacting Joanne (DPR).
  2. Theatre Ticket Program
    1. Melissa suggested we foster awareness of our two local theatres by offering students at Laurel High and Pallotti High free tickets to performances that Director’s would deem appropriate at Venus Theater and Laurel Mill Playhouse.
    2. There were six students from Laurel High who attended Venus Theater’s show “Running on Glass,” and they loved the experience.
    3. Melissa wants to propose that the City of Laurel fund 5-6 students and Theater teachers once or twice a year to attend. Christopher Dwyer suggested approaching students who are focused in this field. Melissa will email Joanne about this.
    4. Members agreed to put this line item in budget for giving tickets to students of choice at local High Schools. Melissa will follow up.
    5. Marilyn will attend the Community meeting with Principals from local schools on Thursday, Jan 17th at 8 AM.
  3. Artist of the Month
    1. Laverne Debnam is no longer on the LAC, so Christian will need help with the Newsletter.
    2. A reporter from Laurel TV, Myleah Lofland, contacted LAC about doing video interviews in addition to the written interviews.
    3. Members decided to do quarterly newsletters. Melissa can help in networking and connecting with other artists.
    4. Marilyn suggested that we also feature Art Educators in our Newsletter.
    5. Guest Zinoosh Farbod mentioned that in surrounding cities there seem to be Collectives or spaces where the community can come together to do various art themed activities (for example, “Board & Brew” in College Park, MD). It’s not necessarily an open establishment, but open certain days for eclectic movie screenings or board game nights. Zinoosh mentioned that there are so many buildings for sale on Main St. and wondered if the community could come together to use them as a communal space to express their art. Mayor Moe commented that he has encouraged local establishments to consider providing such spaces. 
  4. Upcoming Meetings
    1. Tuesday, February 12th @ 6:30 pm
    2. Tuesday, March 12th @ 6:30 pm
    3. Tuesday, April 9th @ 6:30 pm


Meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm. 

Nadia Janjua                                                                               Date: February 5, 2019                     

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Parks and Recreation

The Department of Parks and Recreation offers recreation programs and services throughout six facilities and 19 park sites encompassing over 222 acres of parkland.