Board or Committee Meeting
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 6:30pm

Laurel Arts Council - January Meeting
Tue, Jan 12, 2021 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM (EST)

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Virtual Meeting-Jan 12, 2020 at 6:00pm


  1. Take roll
  2. Review and vote on editing or accepting minutes from the November meeting
  3. Short meditation and movement (Chae Reid)
  4. Conduct business



  1. Mural updates
    1. Meeting with Rhonda Dallas, Prince George’s Arts & Humanities Council, Exec Director
      • Estimating costs
      • Site criteria
      • Funding sources – grants, private donations
      • Process – what first? 
      • County and local artists
    2. Maryland grant programs
    3. Leigha Steel’s information (City code, most feasible sites, grants, future)
  2. Postcard Project (collaboration with Laurel Historical Society) – Monica update
    1. Laurel TV Community Spotlight: Laurel Historical Society Time Capsule (includes Monica on the Postcard Project)
    2. Instagram gallery – example from Greenbelt
  3. LAC Instagram Account – Monica, Melissa (for Heather)
    1. Social Media Policy – Issues?  Facebook?
    2. Moving forward (Postcards)
  4. Laurel High School Collaborations – Melissa
    1. Visual Art Dept – purchase supplies to help with challenges of remote teaching?
  5. Newsletter by Laurel History Boys – Charles update
    1. Story on LAC, with pix of LAC art installations
    2. Monica’s drawings
  6. Friends of Patuxent collaboration (art and environment) – Inka, Melissa
    1. Planters (fish & grass) –
      • Cheryl demo for Feb. meeting
      • Cover materials cost?
    2. River path – Cheryl
      • Small art installations along path
      • Inspiration: Laurel History Museum photos, Philadelphia park, Banneker park (Baltimore)
      • In-house or call for community artists?
  7. Year in Review Report (2020)
  8. Upcoming Virtual Meetings
    1. Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00pm
    2. Tuesday, March 9 at 6:00pm
    3. Tuesday, April 13 at 6:00pm


Meeting Minutes
January 12, 2021

The Laurel Arts Council (LAC) held its January meeting from 6:21 pm – 7:40 pm via GoToMeeting in Laurel, MD on January 12, 2021.  Chair Melissa Holland called the meeting to order.

PRESENT: Bharati Dhruva, Joanne Hall Barr (Dept. of Parks & Recreation, DPR), Melissa Holland, Angela O’Neal, Inka Patel, Chae Reid, Leigha Steele (Dept. of Economic & Community Development), Monica Sturdivant

ABSENT: S. Nisa Asgarali-Hoffman, Heather Brooks, Marilyn Byers, Charles Clyburn, Christopher Dwyer

Minutes from the last meeting were accepted.


  1. The Mural Project   Discussion continued about creating an external art mural on or around Main Street, focusing on questions of location, funding, permissions, and timeframe.
    1. Melissa began with a recap of members’ December conversation with Rhonda Dallas, executive director of Prince George’s County’s Arts & Humanities Council.  Rhonda said that an external mural should be expected to cost at least $15,000. She pointed to various funding sources and noted that we should select the mural site and have an agreement in place with the building owner before submitting grant requests.
    2. Leigha reported that while City code does not allow for murals, they will be permitted in updates to the code now underway. Historic district guidelines are also being updated. 
    3. Melissa described grant possibilities to support a mural. Smaller grants include the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC)’s public art grants, which provide up to $5,000 for planning and $20,000 for implementation. The FY21 funds have been expended but are expected to be renewed in FY22 (which begins July, 2021). Joanne suggested that the LAC might apply for a planning grant in FY22 and an implementation grant in FY23.  Larger grants are available in FY21 from the Commercial Property Improvement Program of Prince George’s County’s Redevelopment Authority. But these require the applicant (a business) to match funds of $50,000 at minimum. Melissa expressed doubt that individual Main Street proprietors could make this level of commitment, but suggested approaching Laurel shopping centers. Bharati and Melissa agreed to contact shopping center owners. Leigha observed that there might be challenges because of the pandemic. Leigha also reported that the City was awarded a 2020 Maryland Main Street Improvement Grant, and that businesses applying for funds might incorporate a mural in their proposal. These funds have not yet reached the City, but upon arrival will be announced by a press release and an invitation for businesses to apply, expected by February or March 2021. Leigha added that her office is investigating future grant possibilities from the state and that these might also accommodate public art: a Community Legacy Grant to enhance the Farmer’s Market Lot (e.g., include shaded shelter and benches) and a Keep Maryland Beautiful Grant, aimed at litter reduction (could include solar-powered smart trash cans).
    4. Given these various constraints and timelines, Melissa concluded that a mural project could likely not begin before FY22.
  2. Monica updated the group on the Postcard Project. She had spoken with Heather about adding the postcards to LAC’s Instagram page. Toward that end, Monica retook photos of all of the postcards and sent them to Heather. She and Heather also discussed how LAC should think about an overall look for the Instagram page, possibly incorporating colors from the LAC logo and giving the page a more uniform look.
  3. Monica and Melissa discussed the City’s social media policy and its implications for Instagram, noting that LAC should be mindful about pages we follow and the subject matter of posts. Monica mentioned Heather’s suggestion of following who the city follows, and noted that local art-related organizations would also be appropriate choices. Melissa shared the Instagram page for Greenbelt Arts as an example. Joanne reported that the City passed a new requirement that the use of any City logo by a non-City business, such as in an event flyer, must be approved by the office of the mayor. An application is required.
  4. Melissa discussed the LAC’s ongoing collaboration with Laurel High School’s Visual Art Department, whose students have for the past two years created artwork for public exhibits in the City. Because art classes are now virtual, students cannot share paints, brushes, and other materials.  When Melissa asked the department whether students had supplies at home, the teachers requested about 40 individual watercolor sets for students who could not afford to buy them. LAC voted to purchase the supplies.
  5. Monica reported that the first issue of the Voices of Laurel newspaper, containing Charles Clyburn’s article about the LAC, should be released in mid-January. She added that she had provided art illustration for one of the articles.
  6. Inka updated the group on the planter project, a collaboration between Friends of the Patuxent and the LAC. She shared that Cheryl Dryer, who conceived the project, supplied a wooden fish form and requested that Inka experiment with finishes. Inka said that she plans to use recycled materials. Joanne noted that Cheryl is working with the City on planting native grasses in Main Street planters where the fish forms will be installed as art pieces. A budget for the project has not yet been determined.
  7. Melissa discussed Cheryl’s idea of a river path project as a fall collaboration between Friends of the Patuxent and the LAC. Individual artists would install small, temporary installations of art along the path in Riverfront Park. Cheryl had seen examples in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Recycled materials could be used. Joanne noted that Riverfront Park is in the flood plain, making temporary installations an appropriate fit. She also suggested having interpretive signage that recognizes the installation as an official project.
  8. Melissa mentioned that LAC compiles a yearly report and that she would outline one for 2020. She will send it out for suggestions and comments. Melissa also asked the LAC to think about whether we want to apply for a county special appropriations grant for up to $2,000. LAC should come up with ideas for using the funds.
  9. Joanne shared that the City is collaborating with the Lions Club on a program in which plastic bags collected by the Boy Scouts get recycled into public benches. She suggested that the benches could be decorated as pieces of public art. She also mentioned that Ruth Walls approached the city about putting an insect and bee house in Riverfront Park. Joanne suggested that it be included in the Friends of the Patuxent Project. Joanne also recommended that LAC include QR codes with art in public places, making the art more interactive with technology.
  10. Upcoming Meetings
    1. Tuesday, February 9 at 6:00 pm
    2. Tuesday, March 9 at 6:00 pm
    3. Tuesday, April 13 at 6:00 pm


Meeting adjourned at 7:40 pm.

Monica Sturdivant                                                                                  Date: January 31, 2021

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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.