ArtSpace Community Thankful for Playspace Improvements
Over the years at ArtSpace, our outdoor space has evolved from very humble beginnings to the large multi-use space it is now. Some of this change has happened gradually, with the driving force of dedicated staff members and parent volunteers. Seasoned staff members Lyn Van Over and Darlene Dimenna can recount many of the herculean tasks accomplished under their guidance and with the support of our community.
Recently, however, due to a combination of unfortunate and much more fortunate events, outdoor spaces at ArtSpace have achieved a level beyond the imaginings of those first families who made up the ArtSpace Community.
At the close of the 2014-15 school year, ArtSpace won a playground sweepstakes that amounted to some expensive playground equipment, and a $15,000 cash prize to be spent on the outdoor space in a way that would encourage physical fitness. A hard surface court was created in part due to this influx of funds.
In the 2015-16 school year, ArtSpace experienced a flood that “was bad . . . really bad” in the words of ArtSpace’s loyal, multi-tasking building manager, Thomas Solesby. P.A.C.E., the governing board of the school, and administrators were aware of the possibility of flood damage being great and consultations as well as planning were underway to create a solution, but the funds needed were also a factor.
Due to a devoted community, ArtSpace received thousands of dollars in donations after the flood. Along with our insurance settlement and money withdrawn from reserve funding, the necessary engineering was undertaken to ensure that ArtSpace wouldn’t experience another catastrophic flood event. That process required the removal of a lot of earth from around the building, which was relocated across the street to the field and playground areas. This was a blessing in disguise, creating the ability for a track to be created around the field, as well as expanding the play space for more equipment.
This is when F.A.C.E. (Foundation for the Arts at the Core of Education) stepped in with funds from our 2nd Act ArtSpace Community Thrift Store. The store, which opened during the 2015-16 school year, has been a huge success under the management of Robin Allred, and support of the F.A.C.E. board. The Thrift Store was launched with the purpose of creating an income stream for the school, as well as a community resource for the Swannanoa Valley at large.
With some of the profits made in the 2016-17 school year, F.A.C.E. funding helped to purchase and install the merry-go-round, rope web, and climbing cube just east of the swings. Students have really enjoyed having the added equipment on which to climb and spin. Veteran staff members are grateful that people continued to fight for their vision of enhanced play spaces for the students at ArtSpace. The development of the outdoor spaces at ArtSpace has far surpassed any original plans. The school is so thankful that F.A.C.E. considered the play needs of the students and invested in this new equipment. ArtSpace is also so very thankful for the entire community who have supported the store through donations, purchases, and volunteer hours and would like to offer a big thank you to everyone involved!