RANDOLPH, NJ - The Randolph Recreation department manages more than sports in the township, and the recent Artworks Studio update demonstrates growth in their cultural activities over the past several years.
Kelly Varga, Artworks Coordinator, explained despite the dip in enrollment previously, 2017 saw increased enrollment as students age into older classes. With a change in demographics, the studio began providing art classes for adults, various workshops and birthday parties for children in the township.
“We’ve had kind of the same program for a long time,” so the studio staff is trying out new formatting to reach a different demographic, she said.
Recreation Director Russ Newman mentioned that the change in the district Kindergarten schedule affected the enrollment in classes. Varga added that with a half-day Kindergarten schedule, morning classes were a bulk of the program. They lost students when the school changed to a full-day of Kindergarten schedule.
“Of course this affects the program [going forward],” Varga said. “If they’re not in the program, they’re not signing up as years go on.”
With an added Art Discovery class for toddlers and caregivers, Varga reported that the children are “aging out” into preschool classes, “and we hope to keep them through, so it’s working.”
“We also added Saturday classes which was something people always requested, but the instructors didn’t have the time for it,” Varga said. Art at the Lake has been another popular activity during the summer at Randolph Lake.
“I think it’s a wonderful evolution of this program,” said Recreation Committee member, Sue Huston. “It’s nice to see.”
The Artworks Studio staff looks forward to the upcoming Randolph Arts in the Park event on May 19, 2018 on the Community Center & Library Grounds. Morris Arts awarded a Local Arts Grant of $1,200 to the studio in order to showcase local talents.
Varga listed booths and activities at the event including a juried art show, interactive art exhibits, readings by authors and several performances in theater, music, and dance. Art immersion rooms will be located in the basement of the Community Center. Applications to participate will be available next week.
In addition to the arts represented, Playa Bowls, Colonial Grill and Allies Confections will participate with food trucks.
To wrap up the report, Varga listed repairs and needs for the Artworks building itself. In 2017, new flooring was installed which helped the rooms feel “cleaner, brighter, and there’s just kind of a new energy in there.” However, money allocated from the Master Plan, as well as a state grant, would be needed to provide more space for the expanding programs.