2017 Art in the Park Programs
May 3, 2017
At War in the Pacific National Historical Park (WAPA) volunteers are an essential part of the success of our education programs. A perfect example of this is our Art in the Park programs which took place in late January and early February of this year.
The Art in the Park program started in 2014 and has been a success from the beginning. Pacific Historic Parks (PHP) provided funding to continue this program for fiscal year 2016-2017. Funding from the National Park Service augmented the budget enabling us to further enhance the program. As the designated Art in the Park coordinator, I examined the current art trends and interests in our community, as well as the recommendations from past Art in the Park evaluations. I decided on a large community art event, as well as multiple intimate art sessions giving instruction on different art techniques.
For the large community event I decided to utilize the abundant amount of chalk purchased through a previous Art in the Park program. Our spacious and inviting sidewalks at Asan Beach served as the “canvas” for their artwork. We also used this opportunity to provide a family friendly educational art event. We set up display tables to feature each division of the park and showcase their various roles in the park’s mission. We also invited federal and Government of Guam partners to provide an opportunity to reach out to the community and talk about their respective community programs.
An appeal for volunteers resulted in many of our regular youth volunteers coming together to assist us, including volunteers for our Preservation Ranger program. In total we had 19 volunteers for this event. The volunteers helped pass out art supplies, register participants, talk about our education programs at the PHP display table, perform puppets shows, and help to set up and break down all equipment used for the event.
The Art in the Park Sidewalk Chalk Festival was a great success: 305 people participated and many expressed their appreciation for this fun, family event. They enjoyed learning so many new and interesting things about their national park.
The second portion of the 2017 Art in the Park program was called Paint in the Park. We subcontracted a Guam-based artist and entrepreneur, Amber Word, to serve as our artist in residence. The Paint in the Park program featured aspects of WAPA’s history, cultural and natural resources, and iconic vistas in paintings. Participants worked under the guidance of an experienced artist to learn art techniques that would inspire them to continue expressing their artistic passions. We held four, free sessions with 25 participants each and featured a different painting during each session. These types of painting parties are popular on the island but are sometimes not accessible to everyone due to the cost (approximately $30-$40 per person).
Volunteers were also instrumental to the success of the Paint in the Park sessions. Our youth education program volunteers assisted during after-school hours and helped to assemble and organize supplies, and during the program, they set up easels, canvases, paintbrushes, and distributed paint and other supplies to the participants.
Our programs would not be successful without our dedicated volunteers. Their support and encouragement continues to amaze me, but I understand why they are motivated to continue to give so generously of their time and their resources to volunteer with us. I started out as a volunteer with PHP, when my daughter participated in the Junior Ranger Academy. I fell in love with the mission of WAPA and the interesting and inspiring work done to preserve the World War II history of our island as well as our cultural objects, values and to protect our beautiful island’s natural resources. The people who work together at WAPA, the National Park Service and the Guam branch of PHP, provide a welcoming and encouraging atmosphere that make the volunteers want to return to promote the mission. The volunteers always express that they feel they are giving back to the community in an impactful way, which motivates them to dedicate their time and effort to our programs. These are just a few of the many examples of the dedication of our Volunteers-in-Parks and how they help us continue to have successful programs here at War in the Pacific National Historical Park.