Board or Committee Meeting
Tuesday, September 8, 2020 - 6:30pm

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Virtual Meeting-September 8, 2020 at 6:30pm


1. Take roll

2. Review and vote on editing or accepting minutes from the July 29 virtual meeting

3. Conduct business



1. Elections

a. Chair

b. Vice Chair

c. Secretary

d. Treasurer

2. Guest Presentation: Ben and Allison Farmer 

a. Mural Proposal

3. Postcard Project (Monica)

4. LAC and Friends-of-the-Patuxent Collaboration (Inka & Cheryl) 

a. Decorate the planter boxes at south end of Main St.

5. YouTube Visits with Local Artists (Melissa & Inka)

6. Open Group Discussion and Project Ideas

7. Upcoming Virtual Meetings

a. Tuesday, October 13 at 6:30pm

b. Tuesday, November 10 at 6:30pm

c. Tuesday, December 8 at 6:30pm


Meeting Minutes
September 8, 2020

The Laurel Arts Council (LAC) held its September meeting from 6:43 pm – 8:32 pm via GoToMeeting in Laurel, MD on September 8, 2020. Vice Chair Melissa Holland called the meeting to order.

PRESENT: S. Nisa Asgarali-Hoffman, Heather Brooks, Bharati Dhruva (by phone), Kelsey Eustace, Joanne Hall Barr (Dept. of Parks & Recreation, DPR), Melissa Holland, Inka Patel, Leigha Steele (Dept. of Economic & Community Development), Monica Sturdivant

ABSENT: Marilyn Byers, Charles Clyburn, Christopher Dwyer, Angela O’Neal

GUESTS: Cheryl Dyer (Friends of the Patuxent), Alison Farmer, Chae Reid (Dance teacher and new Laurel resident)

Minutes from last meeting were accepted.



  1. The meeting began with thoughtful words from Kelsey and the election of officers.  
    1. Kelsey thanked the LAC members for all of their hard work, dedication and support. She thanked Melissa for acting as Vice Chair and stepping up when she was unable to be present. She thanked Monica for being the Secretary and Bharati for being Treasurer. She also thanked Joanne and Leigha. Kelsey remarked that so much has been accomplished since the group was formed and that it has been a privilege to serve along side of them.
    2. Melissa was voted Chair, Bharati was voted Vice Chair, Monica was voted Secretary and Inka was voted Treasurer.


  1.  Monica updated the group on the Postcard Project. The response has been slow, but several creative postcards have been received. She noted that artist Leigh Marget responded to a weekly email to Laurel Historical Society volunteers with an answer to the postcard question and images of her art. Leigh will also send in a postcard. Monica discussed how there have been problems with receiving mail at the PO box. Joanne offered to put out collection boxes at several city locations for collecting postcards, giving respondents the option of submitting postcards without mailing them.
  2. Melissa introduced Alison Farmer, who discussed an idea about a public mural in the Main Street area. She and her husband wrote a letter to the mayor about this and the mayor’s office connected them with the LAC. They are interested in beautifying the community and marking Laurel’s 150’s Anniversary with a mural. They are not muralists and they do not own a business on Main Street, but they bring enthusiasm, a background in fundraising and a willingness to persevere. Alison expressed the desire to contribute to Main Street’s growth and vitality. Kelsey noted that the LAC has looked into murals, but one of the biggest obstacles has been funding. She discussed the challenges of including the public in creating a mural.  Alison asked what the LAC would recommend for next steps. Kelsey replied that if funding is secured, a location is selected and a set of requirements is ready to go out, a call for interested artists could happen. Nisa asked if we could begin by addressing one of the easiest challenges. Joanne replied that getting a location would probably be the easiest to tackle. She mentioned that the city can easily permit a mural on its own property, but that the city does not have property on Main Street, so we should look at sites the city owns in other parts of the city. Joanne also suggested that we could approach business owners on Main Street and that some of the businesses Leigha works with may have an interest in offering outdoor spaces for public art. The city could come up with an easement regarding what those businesses would agree to and that would go through the legal department. Inka agreed that once we know the space, it is a lot easier to plan what we are going to do. Melissa suggested that the LAC form a working group, meet with Leigha about possible properties and identify city properties with Joanne. We could also start looking for muralists. Leigha has a list of possible city locations for murals. She mentioned that Hyattsville has done public art projects on commercial property, and she will reach out to them to learn about their process. She also suggested considering murals painted on structures other than walls. Joanne suggested securing an established artist, finding out how much it would cost and approaching business owners with that information. Leigha suggested an artist who did a presentation at a past meeting about window and wall art. He did the windows for the nature center in Laurel. This could be an option for second story windows on Main Street that are not being used. Melissa will begin the process of coordinating the work group and making a list of what to do. Inka suggested that members make site visits after making a list of possible locations.
  3. Cheryl discussed a potential collaboration with Friends of the Patuxent. She noted that there are five large empty stone planters in the 100th block of Main Street that could be a site for native grass gardens and public art installation. Sculptures of fish could be installed at different heights. They would be on poles, covered with glass mosaic and have heavy concrete bases submerged deep below the soil level. The glass mosaic on the fish could show a transition of colors along the five planters. Cheryl showed the group photos of different fish themed art. She suggested that an alternative to glass mosaic, and easier for public participation, is fish cut out of wood. Cheryl stated that wood has to dry for a year. In that time, the pieces could be given to different community artists for a variety of decor, then the pieces would be sealed and installed. Cheryl mentioned that the mayor told her that the planters belong to the state, which would have to give permission. However, there are other empty planters along upper Main Street, which Joanne confirmed belong to the city and are available to use. She noted that the project could flow from the pool location to the end of Main Street and it could continue the theme of the pool location’s mosaic. Cheryl liked Joanne’s suggestion. Joanne stated that she will check with the mayor about providing a contact for the planters. Cheryl remarked that Frank has done a great job with the garden beds around all of the signs and she could coordinate with him in the choice of plants to avoid replanting every year. Melissa asked if the planters were round or rectangular. Joanne confirmed that they are round concrete planters. Melissa expressed support for the idea and noted that she would like to see the LAC work with Friends of the Patuxent. Kelsey expressed wanting to hear more about the inspiration and would like to look more at the budget. Cheryl asked if the wood could be purchased soon so that it could start drying. She also offered to do research on the budget for materials. Joanne noted that the group should think about where wood could be stored. Inka suggested looking into wholesale pre-cut wood from a beach supply market.
  4. Inka discussed the location of Deborah Randall’s proposed plan for a stage at the end of C Street. Inka stated that after visiting the site, she does not feel it is an appropriate space for community activities. She stated that the Avondale location is better for community activities. Nisa, who lives at C Street Flats, agreed. She noted that there is a private residence there and that the owner might not want a large crowd near the property. Leigha stated that Deborah’s original idea was a bench with a planter box. Joanne noted that Riverfront Park is in a flood plain The city is undergoing an extensive project to mitigate properties in the flood plain to improve their community rating and allow residents to get a better rate on flood insurance, so adding structures into the flood plane is problematic. She mentioned that the city would like improvements done to the park entrance. Leigha discussed how an intern made sketches and developed a plan for the Riverfront Park entrance. Her internship was cut short because of COVID and the city was unable to move forward with the plans.  
  5. Melissa updated the group about artist studio visits. She proposed that artists make short videos of their own studios and the LAC could post an artist a month. Melissa described how she experimented with a two minute video using tips from Laurel TV. Laurel TV could help with editing. Heather discussed her video method for a book festival. She described how she gives authors a format on what to say, the authors record themselves and upload it to Heather’s dropbox. Heather then downloads the video to her computer and posts it on social media. She suggested that a similar format could work for the studio visit project. She also noted that some people post a video to their own social media platform and she just provides a link to the video. Nisa suggested having artists make a video of their studio and then do an interview as the audio. There could also be high quality stills during the interview. Nisa offered to help with video editing.
  6. Kelsey concluded the meeting with suggesting that the group try to maintain a consistent meeting time. She suggested dates and times for the next three meetings. Nisa mentioned that she has a time conflict with the meeting times, so the group agreed to change the start time for future meetings to 6:00 pm. The group thanked Kelsey for the great job she has done over the years. Kelsey expressed gratitude for being able to be a part of it.
  7. Upcoming Meetings
    1. Tuesday, October 13 at 6:00 pm
    2. Tuesday, November 10 at 6:00 pm
    3. Tuesday, December 8 at 6:00 pm


Meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm.

Monica Sturdivant                                                                                  Date: September 20, 2020

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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.