In Connecticut’s Hartford Keney Park 16 inner-city
students from the “Our Piece Of The Pie” (OPP) Summer Program
created three trash drum artworks for deployment in the parks.
OPP partnered with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s
Environmental Justice Program and Connecticut Work Force Partners.
It is designed to help young adults access and attain the educational,
employment, and personal skills that lead to success. Mr. Paul Gemme
is a Youth Business Manager of OPP and has trained hundreds of young
people about woodworking, boat building, and nature.
Doris Johnson, Outreach and Education Coordinator
of the DEEP"s Environmental Justice Program partnered with OPP
to implement the 2011 Keney Park Oil Drum Art Summer Project.
Ms. Johnson commented, “The goal of this program is to nurture environmental
stewardship through hands-on activities by youths of all ages and
cultivate an understanding and appreciation for nature.
This workshop is one of many created by Oil
Drum Art (ODA) and the DEEP that brings inner-city youngsters
into parks to transform recycled 55-gallon oil drums into public
art that also helps collect litter. Since 2004 over 1500 students
and artists have painted more than 500 Trash Drum Artworks that
have been placed in parks, civic buildings, schools and neighborhood
In 2012 the next major Trash Drum Art program
will feature 30 drums painted by students from Hartford Public
Schools, OPP, DEEP’s “Leave No Child Inside,” and numerous
Hartford Youth Services agencies. The City of Hartford is
collaborating with ODA and its energy and environmental art exhibition
that will present 40 artworks created by regional artists and
the 30 student trash drums. The exhibition will be housed in
the Hartford Union Station Great Hall for a month beginning in late
L-R: Row one:, Jack Lardis (ODA President), Byheme
Trice, Deniss Mercado, Yodiel Cruz, Reymond Molina,
Tiana Edwards, Shawn Molina, Kneeling: Solomon
Row Two: Kamiliah Deleon, Brittany Kerr, Ismeraliz
Ortiz, Glorimar Castro, Xavier Gomes, Gary Garcia
Standing: Paul Gemme (OPP Manager), Abilgael
Sanchez (Art teacher), Edith Pestana (DEEP), Doris Johnson (DEEP),
Eddie Guimont. Missing: Jermaine Everette-Welcome.
a video by clicking below.
video on YouTube by clicking below.
DRUMS FOR TROOPS CEREMONY
(Seated -- Left to right)
Colonel John Whitford, Connecticut National
Dr. Arnold Frank, Principal
Woodland Regional High School;
Therese Conroy, State Representative
for District #105;
Jack Lardis at the lectern,
Chairman Drums For Troops.
Mattatuck Drum Band of
Waterbury, CT, performed a medley of military of music.
Naugatuck Valley students and artists who painted
19 “Drums For Troops” at the Woodland Regional
High School Auditorium. (photos - Rockwell Studios,
FOR TROOPS PAINTED IN VALLEY SCHOOLS.
NAUGATUCK VALLEY –
During the summer American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan
will receive 19 recycled 30-gallon oil drums filled
with a variety of donated dry goods collected by Oil
Drum Art, The Valley Arts Council, eight Naugatuck
Valley schools, Lowe’s Home Improvement, and American
Legion John H. Collins Post 24. The initiative
is called “Drums For Troops” and was launched in February
to provide GIs with needed items not available in the Middle
Jack Lardis, Greg Karas, and Tracy Mariano delivered
the recycled drums to 15 valley schools where
students painted recycled oil drums with hometown
and patriotic themes, wrote letters and poems, painted
pictures and greeting cards that will be included in
the drums. The drums were painted by students and valley artists
and will be filled with a variety of donated goods, foods
and messages. Each drum will have a decal listing the
schools, students, and artists who painted a drum plus another
decal will list those who made a donation of funds, goods
A “Drums For Troops Presentation Ceremony” took
place on Thursday, May 20th, at 7PM in the Woodland
Regional High School Auditorium, 135 Back Rimmon
Road, Beacon Falls, CT. Over 150 students and their
families, teachers, school staff, valley artists, the
Connecticut National Guard, local veteran’s clubs, donating
sponsors, and the general public are expected.
The ceremony began with the “Presentation of Colors”
followed by the National Anthem. “Drums For Troops”
Chairman Jack Lardis introduced the program and keynote
speaker State Representative Theresa W. Conroy whose
constituency includes Ansonia, Beacon Falls, and Seymour.
Representative Conroy spoke about how our communities
are giving back to those who are in Harm’s Way. Dr.
Arnold Frank, Principal of Woodland Regional High School,
talked about the student’s enthusiasm for the project and
expressing their thanks to American soldiers for protecting
America. Colonel John R. Whitford of the Connecticut National
Guard has spent a major part of his military career in Connecticut
talked about the American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then
the 19 painted drums will be presented to the National Guard in
a symbolic ceremony.
The students, teachers, and artists were asked
to step forward and stand next to their drum art for
a group photograph. The drums were returned to the
Valley Arts Council, 119 Elizabeth Street in Derby, where
they will be filled with collected donated goods and prepared
for shipping to the soldiers in the Middle East.
The “Drums For Troops” initiative was created by
Jack Lardis, president and founder of Oil Drum
Art from Beacon Falls, and members from the Valley
Arts Council in Derby. The council committee
members are Jill Nichols of Trumbull, Betty Barriga of
Seymour, Tracy Mariano of Naugatuck, and chairman Lardis
of Beacon Falls.
Anyone interested in donating dry goods or sending
$75.00 toward the costs of the project should contact
Jack Lardis, “Drums For Troops” Chairman at 203-729-0800
or mail to 7 Old Sawmill Drive, Beacon Falls, CT 06403.
Both art organizations are 501[c]3 not-for-profits
and donations are tax deductible.