Six cities spread across the country will each receive a $10,000 grant purely to make plans on paper for combining arts with recreation programs.
The program a joint one between the Interior Department and the National Endowment for the Arts, was announced yesterday by Joan Mondale, honorary chairperson of the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities, along with NEA chairman Livingston Biddle, and Interior officials and mayors from three of the cities.
The cities are Oakland, Calif.; Detroit; New Brunswick, N.J.; Winston-Salem, N.C., Albuquerque, N.M., and St. Louis.
"The arts, music, and dance belong in park settings where everyone can see them," said Mondale. "They are at home in the ambiance of trees and green . . . we want to make the arts more available to people in their everyday environs."
The total $70,000 program -- including the cities' grants and the services of a Washington-area arts consultant, Delpha Malvagni-Vaznaugh, will be paid for by the Interior Department ($50,000) and NEA ($20,000).
The program provides no money for actual arts in the parks and it makes no provisions or stipulations for later money to put the plans into effect.
"One thing we were told by the Natinal Urban Recreation Study," said one Interior official, "is that traditionally recreation departments and arts organizations don't talk to each other. We want to see that there is communication."
Interior officals said their National Urban Recreational study revealed art programs in parks are not planned very well.
"Unless people act out of a holistic basis," said Meg Maguire of Interior's Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, "they're missing the opportunity to use arts for the revitalization of neighborhoods and economic development strategy. Instead, they will just ad hoc -- they'll have a nice festival in the park here and there, but the parks could be used for more."
Every city will have different plans, but not all of the three mayors present yesterday at the Pension Building offices of the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, were clear about what kind of plans would evolve.
"My first contact with the plan was on Friday," said Oakland Vice Mayor Carter Gilmore, who simply was designated to represent the city at the press conference. "We have one of the best parks and recreation departments in the country. We have art programs, but not in the parks."
Winston-Salem, a very arts-oriented city which in the last 30 days raised $3 million for arts programs in their downtown area, will make plans to extend arts programs in their parks. Said Milton Rhodes, chairman of the Winston-Salem Arts Council, "We want arts to be regular part of the recreation programs in the parks. You ought to be able take a dance class as easily as you can go in and play on a basketball team there."