UConn Partners with Mansfield on Arts, Recreation Programs

UConn’s Community School of the Arts (CSA) and the Town of Mansfield’s Parks and Recreation Department are collaborating to provide arts and recreation programs to the community.

The announcement of fall 2014 programs offered by CSA and by Mansfield Parks and Recreation is combined in a comprehensive brochure being mailed to area residents that includes a single process for handling registration and fees for classes and programs offered.

A child finishes coloring her drawing at the Community School of the Arts. (Photo courtesy of CSA)

The Community School of the Arts provides a wide range of professional instruction in performing and visual arts. (Photo courtesy of CSA)

CSA has offered a wide range of professional instruction in performing and visual arts for students of all ages and abilities, based on educational standards, for 35 years. Mansfield offers a variety of preschool, after-school, youth, teen, adult, and family recreation programs, including some arts programs. The programs reach a large population.

There is some overlap between the two, with the town offering some arts programs on an introductory basis.

Curt A. Vincente, Mansfield’s director of parks and recreation, says it will help both organizations to broaden their base.

A child enjoys looking at a collection of hand-painted clay monster heads at the Community School of the Arts. (Photo courtesy of CSA)

The Community School of the Arts offers programs for students of all ages and abilities. (Photo courtesy of CSA)

The programs also hope to achieve some efficiencies by combining forces. During the first year of the partnership, the town will handle collection of registration fees and work with the University to jointly select and supervise a program coordinator. CSA will maintain its classroom space on UConn’s Depot Campus for the more than 1,100 students who participate in its programs. Recreation programs will continue in the Mansfield Community Center.

Linda Neelly, director of the Community School of the Arts, says as the partnership grows, new programs could be jointly developed, such as music classes at the Mansfield Senior Center or a community arts pageant.

“Music, art, and visual arts as recreation are important for people to have the chance to use what they’ve learned,” adds Neelly, who is also an associate professor of curriculum and instruction in the Neag School of Education. “We’re looking at ways our programs can meld. We’ll probably have some combined classes that are unique to both approaches. They’ll be innovative and interesting to the public.”

A music teacher instructs a young student how to play the saxophone at the Community School of the Arts. (Photo courtesy of CSA)

Programs at the Community School of the Arts are based on educational standards. (Photo courtesy of CSA)

Brid Grant, dean of UConn’s School of Fine Arts, says the partnership with Mansfield helps CSA to continue providing valuable services to the region, and offers an opportunity to reach more people with an interest in arts and music education.

“The Community School of the Arts is special to so many of us – to those in UConn who’ve invested their energy and talent in providing vibrant programs, and the many who’ve told us how meaningful CSA has been to their families,” Grant says. “This partnership honors that, and truly enhances the community aspect of the Community School of the Arts.”