“I like the idea of taking a difficult situation, and finding the silver lining,” says Mia Merlin, resident of Ardsley Park and a senior lecturer in the art department at the Armstrong campus of Georgia Southern University.
It was this sentiment that led to the creation of a “physically distant, neighborhood, yard-based talent show,” Ardsley’s Got Talent.
On Friday, May 15, anyone within the limits of Ardsley Park can safely gather to watch their neighbors display their talents in a friendly competition. Merlin, along with other members of the Ardsley Park Chatham Crescent Neighborhood Association (APCCNA), have come together to bring a positive event to their community during this socially distant time.
The APCCNA is an all-volunteer organization that serves Ardsley Park through hosting social events, publishing a neighborhood directory, and holding regular community meetings.
“The main organizers are myself, President of APCCNA, Scott Anderson, Executive Director of Bike Walk Savannah, Caila Brown, Alderman Nick Palumbo, and neighborhood leader and owner of Starlandia, Clinton Edminster. We are all doing a little bit of everything!” says Merlin.
While taking a stroll through her neighborhood, Merlin was inspired by all of the new outdoor activity taking place due to the pandemic.
“As my husband and I take our evening walks, we have seen more people walking, biking, hanging out in their yards, and playing music than usual,” she said.
“It occurred to me how this is a moment where our immediate physical surroundings have come more in focus and more alive in some ways than before. Like many of us, I have been searching for ways to connect and to bring cheer in the midst of distance and disease, and it occurred to me that we could enjoy each other's talents and families from a safe distance, just strolling through the neighborhood. It is also something that could include people of all ages, and give people something to work on and look forward to.”
The Ardsley’s Got Talent show is open to any participants within the Ardsley Park limits. To increase accessibility, there will be photographers present to document the performances and share them on Facebook for those who would prefer to enjoy the show from home.
“There will be a first, second, and third place prize, which includes gift cards to The 5 Spot and a swag bag from the Savannah Bananas, as well as homemade trophies courtesy of Starlandia Art Supply,” said Merlin.
In order to keep Ardsley’s Got Talent within social distancing guidelines, show participants are being asked to draw a line of chalk in from their house that indicates a distance of six feet. For those interested in partaking in the event, Merlin encourages people to sign up at the form here.
“We hope that this event supports the spirit of unity during the pandemic, and getting through it with more and stronger bonds than before,” said Merlin.