This year marks the 40th anniversary of Upper Arlington's Cultural Arts Commission, and a year's worth of activities has been planned to celebrate.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Upper Arlington's Cultural Arts Commission, and a year's worth of activities has been planned to celebrate.

Established by city council on March 13, 1972, the commission is tasked with fostering and encouraging the development of arts in the community, along with the preservation of Upper Arlington's cultural heritage, said arts manager Lynette Santoro-Au. The commission accomplishes this mission through public art exhibits, community-wide performing arts events, and yearly celebrations, like the Labor Day Arts Festival.

Santoro-Au said this year will be an exciting one for arts in the city.

"We're excited to be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and have many of the programs our community has come to expect from us - Concourse Gallery exhibits, summer concerts and the annual Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival," she said.

"We have orchestrated great changes in the arts in the past 40 years," Santoro-Au said, "from developing a public art program to increasing the number of artists and visitors to the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival.

"We were instrumental in creating a dedicated space for the community to gather and enjoy the performing arts, the UA Arts Stage at the Amelita Mirolo Barn, and we continue to have a dedicated space for the visual arts - the Concourse Gallery, a place for work that is challenging, thought-provoking and dynamic."

One new event scheduled to mark this year's anniversary is a theater camp set to take place June 18-22, at the Amelita Mirolo Barn, through a partnership with the Columbus Children's Theatre.

"Students in Arlington take theater very seriously, and this is an opportunity for students entering sixth through ninth grade to get new skills on theater production, acting, auditioning, and other aspects of performance," Santoro-Au said.

The commission is also fundraising to place a permanent sculpture designed by Alfred Tibor in Sunny 95 Park. The bronze statue, dubbed "Second Step," will depict a female figure gesturing to a child figure as the latter turns to look back at her mother, Santoro-Au said. Examples of Tibor's work can be viewed at www.alfredtibor.net.

This summer will feature a theater production on July 27 and 28 titled "Blue Rock," Santoro-Au added. It will depict the experiences and story of a group of coal miners trapped in a cave-in.

A number of other events will take place throughout the year, to be announced later, she said.

"We're going to have surprise celebrations throughout the year, but we don't want to give away the surprise just yet," Santoro-Au said. "It will be a great opportunity for people to be a part of the arts community."

More details on this year's activities can be found at www.uaoh.net/culturalarts.