BERLIN — After falling off the radar for a few years, Berlin’s Arts and Entertainment Committee (AEC) is back sporting a new look and has an ambitious list of goals to add entertainment options to town as well as plans to enhance Berlin’s traditional 2nd Friday Art Strolls.
The committee is tired of sitting on the sidelines, member Robin Tomaselli told the Mayor and Council Monday.
“For the last several years, the Arts and Entertainment Committee has been somewhat inactive,” said Tomaselli, co-owner of Baked Deserts Café.
But starting in the spring, the group has been meeting regularly and has decided to “re-brand,” by adopting a new, stylized anchor for their logo along with the accompanying motto “Anchored in the Arts.” They also developed a list of future projects they would like to see take place in town.
“We’ve been meeting weekly ever since [this spring] with a simple mission in mind: to bring everything arts and entertainment to Berlin,” Tomaselli said. “And this includes expanding our funding sources to organizing free family movies in town to hopes of even building a skate park and a community saltwater pool.”
Hitting every demographic and age group is important to giving Berlin a successful entertainment booster, added AEC member and Re:Fresh Media Creative Director Austin Widdowson.
“Every part of the community should be part of this from children to the elderly,” he said.
One way to reach that broad level of appeal is with free public movies, Widdowson continued. AEC would like to host one such movie in conjunction with the town’s upcoming Peach Festival on Saturday, Aug. 3.
“We’d like to do the first Movie on Main Street that day and we’d like to do James and the Giant Peach, which is a G-rated movie,” he said.
Hoping to make Movies on Main Street an ongoing event, Widdowson said that AEC will be looking to find funding for a projector.
“There is a significant amount of money that goes into buying a projector, especially a quality one that would last long enough that we could do this multiple times,” he said. “So we’ve come up with a couple possible solutions like crowdsourcing or a Kickstarter campaign to maybe have the community donate money towards what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Besides new entertainment options, Tomaselli said that AEC is looking to enhance the arts in town as well.
“Our second immediate objective was to focus on enhancing 2nd Friday Art Strolls, particularly for this season, mainly to encourage town merchants to participate and remain open during 2nd Friday Art Strolls, to include artists on the streets and to improve the quantity and quality of arts and entertainment in Berlin,” she said.
AEC will be reaching out through social media to help facilitate this, especially with its Facebook page, Berlin MD Arts and Entertainment. Even their new logo includes a light bulb on the anchor to subtly encourage merchants to leave their lights on later and to participate in the art strolls.
“While some of the new [AEC] projects may seem a bit lofty, I’m thrilled they are meeting and moving 2nd Friday Art Strolls into a new and exciting direction,” said Michael Day, director of Economic and Community Development.
Councilwoman Lisa Hall told Tomaselli that she is glad to see the AEC actively “working together again” to improve the town, while Mayor Gee Williams said that “the idea of having special attractions that may vary from art stroll to art stroll is a very shrewd way to go.”