Monday, June 09, 2008

Economic Stimulus

If you are on the fence about what to do with your Economic Stimulus check I have a great idea- donate it to ARTS/West! Because we are a municipal organization your donations are tax-deductible. Also, we need a new air conditioner so what better time to donate. Still on the fence? Try the following.

ARTS/West, a division of the City of Athens Arts, Parks, and Recreation Department, is requesting $25,000 for the replacement of malfunctioning HVAC systems at ARTS/West.

1. History of the Organization

Mission Statement

The mission of ARTS/West is to make facilities, resources, and opportunities available to artists and community residents of Athens, OH. The facility is a centralized hub situated in an evolving arts district on the west side of Athens. ARTS/West nurtures and facilitates the community’s ability to create, perform, and exhibit art of all kinds, while promoting activities that preserve the beauty, heritage, and regional flavor of our town.

History and Current Activities

In 2004, the Athens Municipal Arts Commission and the City of Athens chartered a task force to find and create a performing arts facility that would fill the void left by the demolition of the old Athens Recreation Center. In 2005, on the advice of The Arts Facilities Task Force and with funding from a community block grant, the City of Athens purchased the former Church of the Nazarene and transformed the sanctuary into a versatile performance space, ideal for music, dance, and theatre performances of all kinds. Since June 2005, ARTS/West has hosted within our facility the Appalachian Regional Theatre Company (ARTCO), The Studio for Young Actors, The Athens Photographic Project, the Ki-En Crew, Ohio Valley Summer Theater, Factory Street Dance Studio, Athenian Players’ Theater, Kid’s Music Club, Wayang Kulit, Inlet Dance Theatre, Athens Vineyard Fellowship, Young Life of Athens County, Hocking Valley Nature Conservatory, The Farm DIY, Noise Shows, Westside Community Association, ANNNA, South Side Community Association, and many more. ARTS/West currently offers educational programs through partnerships with Home Schoolers, Laura Nadeau with Music Together, Front and Center Kid’s Open Stage with Tricia Lachman, and the Appalachian Progressive Education Center. We serve every community theater in Athens, produce an Appalachian New Play Festival each fall, and a Westside Community Art Festival (ARTOberfest) each October.

Project Need Statement

ARTS/West was created to address public concerns over the lack of a facility space capable of serving a variety of performing arts needs, especially following the demolition of the old recreation center on East State Street. Since the creation of the Arts Facility Task Force by the Athens Municipal Arts Commission in 2004 and the subsequent purchase and renovation of the former Nazarene Church that would become ARTS/West in 2005, our facility has held an average of 510 public events per year, serving an estimated 20,000 people each year through classes, workshops, performances, rental activities, and special events.

With the help of a CBGD grant, ARTS/West has recently installed a new boiler system, bringing us from 45% energy efficiency in heating the building to 98% efficiency. While this is an important step in addressing ARTS/West’s sustainability, it is only part of the solution. During performances of Lost Flamingo Company’s Bat Boy: The Musical the ceiling started to leak onto the actors during a scene. The compressors were turned off forcing the capacity audience (175 not including staff and actors) to sit in the performance space for the remainder of the show as temperatures exceeded 84 degrees. In September of 2007, during a performance, two of our HVAC units (installed in 1984) made a loud noise and ceased functioning, leaving ARTS/West without a reliable method of cooling the building or maintaining proper humidity levels in the performance space. Additionally, the performance space is lacking in sufficient insulation in the ceiling structure – leaving us vulnerable to extreme temperature fluctuations during both the heat and the cold. Not only does this present difficulties in keeping our audiences comfortable during the heat of Athens’ summers, but it also presents a danger to the delicate sound and lighting equipment in our space, as well as the baby grand piano that resides on our stage, on permanent loan from Gene Jennings. Replacing and repairing equipment damaged by the unstable temperature in the space is an expense that ARTS/West cannot support on a day to day basis. In order to remain a viable, efficient, and sustainable home for local performing and visual artists, ARTS/West must install new, energy efficient HVAC units in our performance space and new, high-efficiency insulation to protect the space.

Project Description

ARTS/West, located at 132 West State Street, seeks to install new HVAC units to serve our performance space and energy-efficient insulation in the ceiling, allowing us to lower overall energy costs throughout the year.

The Athens Municipal Arts Commission requests a total of $25,000 to fund the purchase and installation of a new HVAC system and insulation, with the goal of lowering overall costs, increasing energy efficiency, and meeting the standards laid out by the Cool Cities Act of the Sierra Club. ARTS/West seeks to have the new system installed immediately, in order that we may be ready for the hot summer months and to prevent and humidity and heat related damage to our sound, lighting, and musical equipment, including the donated baby grand piano.

Objectives

The goal of installing a new HVAC system for ARTS/West is to have a functional air-conditioning system in operation before the warm months of Spring, Summer and Fall, without which it will be impossible for ARTS/West to continue programming. The goal of installing energy-efficient insulation in our performance space is both to protect the electrical and musical equipment in our space from fluctuating temperatures and humidity, while allowing us to lower heating and cooling costs and become a “greener” organization overall. Installing the system and insulation will have several concurrent effects to our operations:

1. It will become a sustainable benefit to the City’s investment in the facility of ARTS/West by allowing us to control the temperature and humidity of the space in a cost-effective manner, while saving on the repair costs that would be incurred by an environment with unregulated temperature.

2. It will allow us to continue to offer programming, including innovative arts education programs through organizations like the Appalachian Progressive Education Center, throughout the hot summer months. The revenue earned from tuition and rental fees from these programs will, in turn, help us remain economically sustainable without becoming a burden to Athens City taxpayers

Project Sustainability

By giving us the ability to produce performances, classes, and workshops year-round, the installation of a new HVAC system and insulation will allow us to continue to generate rental, fee, and tuition income during times when we would otherwise be closed – a portion of which will be allotted within each yearly budget to pay for repairs and maintenance on the new equipment. Additionally, funds from Community Block Development Grants and the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission have been allotted for the installation of a new boiler (completed September 2007) and new windows (to be completed January 2008), which will contribute to overall energy-efficiency throughout the building and to the longevity of the new HVAC and insulation systems. ARTS/West will also continue to raise community donations with the help of AMAC from direct-mail fundraising campaigns and fundraising events held in the facility to maintain the condition of the building and equipment.

So, what do you think? Please contact Emily, Program Specialist in her office if you think you can help. Then please come and enjoy the Ohio Valley Summer Theaters presentation of Steel Magnolias June 19-29 (www.ovst.org), OVST's summer camp and the Appalachian Progressive Educations Summer Camp.

Thank you!