Culture

The Monday, September 14 meeting of the Athens City Council.

Mayor Steve Patterson Provides Update on Arts West

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During the September 14 meeting of the Athens City Council Mayor Steve Patterson said the Responsible Restart Ohio guidelines for performing arts spaces that went into effect August 25 may allow Arts West to reopen sooner than its previously announced reopening date of January 4, 2021.

Arts West, Athens’ municipally funded arts center, has not offered programming since the temporary layoff of Program Specialist Emily Beveridge in early August.

Patterson said that even if Arts West is able to open sooner under those guidelines, Athens County’s steadily increasing daily COVID-19 case numbers indicate that it might be a while before the facility sees in-person programming.

(WOUB)

For that reason, Patterson said he sees a “real opportunity” to utilize CARES Act funding to improve Arts West’s Internet connectivity. This would make virtual and potentially revenue-generating programming possible. Additionally, community Wi-Fi could be made available for use in Arts West’s parking lot. Patterson said this could be helpful for Athens City School District students who have started the school year virtually.

“We don’t know what the winter is going to look like. We don’t know what the spring is going to look like,” said Patterson. “We may be in a position to have to do virtual programming out of Arts West for quite some time to come.”

Ultimately, Patterson said the decision of how and when to reopen Arts West or reinstate the facility’s program specialist position will be made by Terri Moore, Director of the City’s Arts, Parks, and Recreation Department. Over the weekend Moore’s department released their Fall Program Guide that includes the schedule for two children’s dance classes slated to take place at Arts West.

Moore was on family medical leave during the September 14 meeting. She will be joining the council for continued discussion during their September 21 meeting.