Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District
by Ann DeSanctis, Chesapeake Conservation Corps Volunteer: Environmental Educator at Anacostia Watershed Society
The Art Lives Here (ALH) Grant was an excellent opportunity for me, as a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Corps (CCC) and as an Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS) staff member, to address a problem in the watershed with an artistic eye.
Stormwater, and all of the pollutants that come with it, are one of the biggest issues we face in the Anacostia Watershed, and much of this stormwater is entering the waterways through storms drains that are ever-present in urban areas. By painting 10 drains in Mt. Rainier with artistic, nature-inspired, and community focused art we hoped to draw attention to them and to educate people during the process. In order to paint the drains we were going to do three-part service learning programming (the norm for the AWS education department) with three groups of students: Thomas Stone Elementary 4th graders, Mt. Rainier Elementary 5th graders, and the Club Joe’s kids.
The actual application process was fluid and to the point, and timely support was always available from ALH staff when I needed it. Upon reception of the grant, the ALH staff was quick to help me promote my call for artists in any way possible and gave me suggestions as to how, and where, I should promote the call. It was great to know that some of the artists that were chosen had previous ties to the arts community around Mt. Rainier.
The grant agreement process went smoothly and I received the first half of the grant promptly and was able to start work on the project on time. Throughout the project the ALH staff was very supportive of the works in progress and did a great job of publicizing the project on social media.
The three-part service learning programming went well once we were able to secure dates with all three groups. The painting days also went well although we did run into rain showers on the Thomas Stone day.
Overall, I was very pleased with how the project turned out and could not have carried it out without the support, financial and otherwise, from the Art Lives Here grant. Thank you!