Fundraising for upcoming Maplewood Mall event exceeds expectations but planning work remains

 Graphic designer Susan Mangan explains her idea for an art project at a Maplewood Mall kiosk. (Alaina Mabaso/for NewsWorks)

Graphic designer Susan Mangan explains her idea for an art project at a Maplewood Mall kiosk. (Alaina Mabaso/for NewsWorks)

Germantown organizers are in the home stretch of planning what they hope will be a successful Maplewood Mall celebration on Saturday, June 22.

“We’re picking up steam each time we meet,” committee leader Garlen Capita, of the Germantown United Community Development Corporation, told NewsWorks.

Civic-prioritized resuscitation

The free block-party collaboration between GUCDC, G-Town Radio and other community partners is spearheaded by G-Town Radio’s Jim Bear.

Through “Re-Imagining Maplewood Mall,” they hope to reintroduce locals to the area as “a thriving place to shop and socialize.” There, attendees will be able to check out the city’s early plans for a Maplewood makeover.

Nearby restaurants and vendors will sell food including popcorn and water ice. There will be a moon bounce for the kids. For entertainment, live music and exhibitions from local artists are among the offerings.

Fundraising and planning

Organizers have already raised more than $1,400 through the crowd-funding website GiveForward. The campaign, which started with an initial goal of $1,250 and is open through June 15, has drawn donations from as far away as California.

About 20 organizers — they included G-town Radio staffers, local artists and Maplewood Mall business owners — gathered at the iMPeRFeCT Gallery to discuss burgeoning plans on Wednesday night.

Discussed were art proposals for each of the mall’s two large kiosks. One involved a durable photographic display and the other centered on a participatory public-art project with a “garden from trash” theme, using discarded plastic bags.

Bear estimated that up to 18 volunteer staffers will be needed to coordinate different aspects of the party and ensure safety on the day of the event, which runs from 4 to 8:30 p.m.

For those who would like to pitch in before that, Bear is holding a clean-up day on the Mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 16. E-mail if interested in joining in.

The planning committee hold two more Wednesday night meetings to finalize plans. Next week’s will be held at 41 Maplewood Mall and the June 19 gathering will take place at the iMPeRFeCT Gallery on Greene Street.

Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m. and are open to the public.

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