Architect’s plans for the proposed Lovett Park Renovation project.

by Sue Ann Rybak

Mt. Airy USA is one step closer to receiving a grant from ArtPlace, a nationwide initiative to stimulate community revitalization through the arts, to revitalize Lovett Park, adjacent to Lovett Memorial Library on Germantown Avenue.

ArtPlace, a collaboration of 13 foundations and six banks that work to advance creative placemaking in the United States, announced that Mt. Airy USA was one of 105 finalists.

“In this third ArtPlace funding cycle, the proposals just keep getting stronger,” said Carol Coletta, director of ArtPlace in a statement. “It is testimony to the growing interest in creative placemaking across the country as well as the capability of artists and their community partners to do this work.”

“We are positively thrilled to be a finalist for ArtPlace,” said Elizabeth Moselle, director of both the Commercial Corridor Revitalization and the Business Association of Mt. Airy (BAM). “The fact that Lovett Park made it to this stage of the process, and that we were included in the 8 percent of applicants nationwide who were selected to move forward, is a real endorsement of the project.”

The proposed plan includes a story ring, an amphitheater, a nature play area, a plaza that will include cafe tables and chairs, an outdoor reading garden and a redesigned main entrance to the library.

Mt. Airy USA, in collaboration with Karen Singer, a local mosaic artist and the Mt. Airy Art Garage (MAAG) applied for the grant in November. Moselle said Mt. Airy USA hopes to make the park “more unique and beautiful by adding more art elements.”

While the size of the award is not yet known, Moselle said “it is a significant amount.” She added that the grant will be used for a combination of programming and capital funding and will include “an enhanced artistic presence in the park.”

Moselle said if Mt. Airy USA is selected, Singer will design and install a ceramic mosaic. Mt. Airy USA also will partner with MAAG, which will announce a call-for-artists and oversee an outreach project to design a logo for the park.

“This [the logo] is envisioned as an identifiable, graphic element that can become part of the park’s identity,” Moselle said.

“This park is really intended to be a transformative community space ,and artists constitute a very important part of the social fabric in Mt. Airy and the Northwest,” said Anuj Gupta, executive director of Mt. Airy USA. “We also believe the arts play a critical role in fostering economic development – our primary mission – so to the extent we can leverage the skills and talents of local artists in the development of this park, we will achieve MAUSA’s goals as well as the goals of our partner organizations.”

Mt. Airy USA will submit a final proposal to ArtPlace at the end of February. This year’s grant recipients will be announced in May.