The ARTS at Albany Project was conceived as a vision for a united and collaborative opportunity to expand the presence of the arts in The Golden Isles as an outreach to the community. During the initial thought process, several factors suggested that similar or related interests in cultivating and broadening existing arts programming existed within local organizations. When conversations on this subject were initiated between local arts organizations, artists, scholars and community leaders, it became quickly evident that there was a common desire of each entity to see a very similar type of community-based arts growth. The dialogue centered on creating expanded offerings and opportunities for the community at large. Plans are already in place for expanded offering of post-secondary art courses at The College of Coastal Georgia with a possible four year degree program. Glynn Visual Arts has hosted conversations on potential strategies to expand the already successful art offerings to a broader segment of the county. The conversations also revealed a common understanding of the power and potential the arts could have in the uplift and revitalization of a community. It was at this juncture of the talks that a vision emerged that a united effort to create and expand an arts community in the heart of the Albany Street district was both realistic and achievable. Talks quickly moved to brainstorming and site visits where discussion for concepts and strategies took place. The current details of the project are outlined in this manuscript.
Launch an innovative plan that establishes the Albany Street (Brunswick GA) corridor as a revitalizing community through a series of exciting arts and education-based initiatives. This project serves to uplift the community through the arts while paying tribute to the honored tradition, process and history of the Risley School that faithfully served the community in years past. It is important in this project to maintain fidelity to the spirit of the original education-based programming that allowed The Risley School and the Colored Memorial School to be successful in serving and uplifting members of the local community.
To incubate a series of arts –based initiatives in the community and grow them into interconnected component parts of a plan that fosters the growth, and education of the local community and its residents. This is accomplished through an inventive STEAM based (Science Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math) instructional and cultural enrichment program. The project is launched and sustained as a partnership amongst the project team participants.
THE ‘STEAM' INITIATIVE:
The STEAM initiative was originally championed by the Rhode Island School of Design as a revision to the STEM program which incorporates a focus on teaching Science Technology Engineering and Math skills to students to address the shortfall of these in-demand skillsets in today’s workforce. The addition of the “arts” to the programming facilitates the inclusion of critical thinking and creative aspects with the application of the other disciplines. It’s important to note that these two aspects are fundamentally associated with the processes of problem solving and the development of new and inventive solutions.
THE CREATIVE TEAM:
A collaborative of artists, administrators, civic and community members and leaders serving as concept designers and creators of a shared vision for the development of Albany Street and the surrounding neighborhood. The intent is to cultivate a reviving community through strategic growth and enrichment through the creative arts. The Creative Directors take stewardship of the project in brainstorming, analyzing, researching, creating and directing the vision for the venture.
THE PROJECT TEAM:
The Project Team includes:
Glynn County School System
Glynn Visual Arts,
College of Coastal Georgia,
THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS:
The Community Partners include local business, community service organizations, non-profit groups and others who recognize the value and benefit that the proposal brings forth. Community Partners play and active role to channel resources and support for the project Community Partners have a demonstrated track record for demonstrating corporate and social responsibility in The Golden Isles. Amongst the community Partners are The City of Brunswick, The Glynn County Commission, and Coastal Georgia Community Action Authority.
PHASE 1: ARTS at Albany in The Risley School Establish an art studio and education program at The Risley School that operates as a collaborative of Glynn County Schools, The College of Coastal Georgia, and Glynn Visual Arts, The 2nd floor facility at 1800 Albany Street would house studio based art and design classes, informational workshops, arts studio activities, and exhibits. These activities are focused on building programming that will invite, include, involve and affect members of the local community and expand cultural arts activities and enrichment throughout Glynn County and the Golden Isles region. The PHASE 1 plan creates an active artist’s “presence” and institute of learning in the community. PHASE 1 combines the proven programming expertise and experience of Glynn Visual Arts with the post-secondary level art programming from The College of Coastal Georgia.
PHASE 2: ARTS at Albany in The Historic Roxy Theatre Establish the Roxy Theatre as a place where art, music and theatrical drama merge to foster a uniquely ex citing art form. The Roxy has been a location for theatrical and performance based art that have entertained and uplifted the local community in a unique and relevant manner. The open floorplan at the theatre facilitates multiple uses for the facility and enables custom configuration for large single productions as well as simultaneous multi-use activities such as production meetings, script readings, rehearsals and workshops. The Historic Roxy’s location near the corner of Albany and Gloucester Streets makes a natural south gateway entry point to the Albany ARTS district. It would serve as a physical anchor location to the ARTS District in much the same way that a big box store frames and anchors the commerce activities of a shopping mall.
PHASE 3: ARTS at Albany 2900: The Risley High School The Risley High School at 2900 Albany Street currently serves as an extension location for Glynn County School System administrative and support services. This includes public school registration, technology support and staff development programs. This facility also welcomes occasional use by local law enforcement and public service entities. Expand use of the facility may include use of the existing classrooms for STEAM-based learning and enrichment programs. The 2900 Albany Street location of Risley High School anchors the north end of The ARTS at Albany district.
PHASE 4: The ARTS at Albany: Historic Burroughs- Molette School The Historic Burroughs Molette School has served as the principal point for elementary education for the local community since 1967. It has been a milestone for the advancement of quality education for all citizens of Glynn County. As a progression in that accomplishment an new and upgraded Burroughs Molette School is currently under construction. The new school will facilitate updated and modernized programming to advance the education mission of Burroughs Molette Elementary School. This proposal calls for the preservation of the portion of the school facing Lee Street to serve as a film and multimedia academy.