Updated Wed, May 2, 2012 10:47 am
At the Athens Community Arts Parks and Recreation forum Wednesday night, community members were encouraged to show up to discuss the long term goals of the APR.
The hall was packed as residents hoping to have a say in the future of the APR.
“This meeting is really about the public, your ideas, what you think,” said Athens City Planner Paul Logue, as he began the meeting.
Community members separated into discussion groups.
One topic of interest seemed to come up at every table: Arts/West.
Located on West State, it is a venue for civic and community groups.
“At Arts/West, community members can go in and have meetings, afterschool programs, performances. I would like to see more go into it,” said Marsha Egleston, of Athens.
Athens resident Dave Gustafson told the group that more attention should be paid to Arts/West.
“Arts/West is being starved at this colossus. So many nice things go on there for various segments of the community. [Arts/West] is not addressed as of equal value. I think Arts/West is easily forgotten,” said Glass.
Arts/West is the primary venue in Athens pertaining to the arts, and the organization is sustained by the APR.
APR provides several different venues for Athens including the following: the Athens Community Center, the Athens City Pool, Sells Park, Stroud’s Run, one skate park, one mini golf course, two dog parks, four tennis courts, 14 basketball parks, and Arts/West.
Emily Prince, programs specialist at Arts/West, said she believes the arts are essential to the community.
“I think the arts in our community have several meanings, and one is a quality of life, it’s a great way to live, it’s a great place to attract businesses, there’s something for the kids to do, there’s something for the adults to do, Athens is a vibrant community that supports the arts,” said Prince.
Prince expressed that the biggest effect arts have on the community is economic, and in June, the results from the Americans for the Arts and Economic Prosperity study is expected to reveal just how the arts benefit the city.
Prince said she remains optimistic for the arts in Athens, and says the best thing community members can do to support the arts is to participate in them.
“There are many ways you can participate, you can be a passive participant, and be a member of the audience, you can be more active, you can get involved in arts education, you can get involved in plays, and filmmaking and music, and it’s all happening right here—you don’t have to travel,” encourages Prince.
Currently, Arts/West offers several different attractions, events, and workshops.