AHCMC joins the global #GivingTuesday movement!

November 24th, 2017 by Michael

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate humanity worldwide. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, and one of the best ways to get involved is in your own community.

#GivingTuesday donations will provide significant assistance to AHCMC as we work to keep the arts and humanities alive in communities across Montgomery County. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County is asking for you to support us in our goal of raising $10,000 by December 31st by donating on #GivingTuesday (November 28) at www.creativemoco.com/support.

In Montgomery County, we are truly fortunate to have a robust arts and humanities community that offers rich cultural experiences and drives our local economy. Our programs help advance this economic and cultural growth!

  • Arts in Education – Partnering with local teaching artists to bring unique arts education programs to 9 Montgomery County Public Schools, one library and one senior care facility focusing on underserved students and community members.
  • CultureSpotMC – Montgomery County’s premiere online cultural calendar and only dedicated arts and culture publication.
  • The Public Art Trust – Managing the county’s public art collection and placemaking initiatives in partnership with the county and developers.

We know that #MontgomeryCountyGives! So, how will you support on #GivingTuesday?

Your contribution of $10, $20, $50 or $100 will help us reach our $10,000 goal!  These funds will be used to support our operations, drive our programs, and help us build a new creativemoco.com! A contribution of any amount is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for supporting the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County!

Support AHCMC this #GivingTuesday.

2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Muriel “Mimi” Hom

November 5th, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award
to Muriel “Mimi” Hom for her work with Opera International.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Muriel and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Muriel.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

I felt that the establishment of Opera International which I founded provided opportunities for young artists to perform and be trained. By garnering the support of foundations such as The Nancy Peery Marriott foundation, The Carita and Li foundation, we were also able to bring opera to seniors and students and educate young people who might not have been able to afford such cultural opportunities.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

I feel there is a diversity of the kind of programs that are given, such as operas, classical concerts ranging to the popular, jazz and rap and there are so many venues provided. Shopping malls have even entered into the arts and culture projects.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

The advice I would give to anyone entering into and getting involved into arts and culture is to go to places such as The Music Center at Strathmore, Montgomery College and the many theaters in the county and volunteer their services. For performers, constant auditions and entering into the many competitions that are offered in the county should be considered.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

I see in the horizon a constant blooming of the arts and culture in the county due in part to the scientific information given today that studying music and all the art forms are very good for the brain.  I hope that the schools will return to emphasizing art and culture in their curriculum. Shopping malls and restaurants are all entering into the picture.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

My “art spark” came when I was 11when my piano teacher took me to my first opera, Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte.” did not know the story nor the language but was enthralled with the performance. The music, the singing, the sets, the acting all mesmerized me. So later in life I founded Opera International to provide opportunities for the singers to be trained and perform, to educate the young into an appreciation of a higher art form and provide world class opera for the community at affordable prices.

2017 Lifetime Impact Award Recipient Phillip Brown

November 5th, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Lifetime Impact Award
to Phillip Brown for his work with Montgomery County Woodturners.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Phillip and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Phillip.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

The formation of Montgomery County Woodturners (MCW) provides how-to-do-it training to amateurs, some of whom later create quality work accepted for exhibits and which sells in craft shows.  MCW has exhibited member work at eight county libraries, those with exhibit cases, for the last 10 years.  MCW has arranged multiple visits for members to major turned wood and craft collections in this area, including those of Fleur Bresler, Jerry and Deena Kaplan, Jane and Arthur Mason, and Judy and Jeff Bernstein.  I have shown my turned work in invited or juried exhibits at the Tower and Popcorn Galleries, Glen Echo Park; Kramer Gallery in Silver Spring; Blackrock Center for the Arts in Germantown: VisArts and Washington Arts (now Artists and Makers) in Rockville; and in Creative Crafts Council exhibitions at Strathmore Mansion, and serve as the CCC treasurer.  I helped hang pictures and shown in the Labor Day Art Shows at Glen Echo Park.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

I like that there are art centers and galleries where I can see exhibitions in all media, theaters like Round House and Olney, and the Baltimore Symphony at the Strathmore Music Center.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

I would recommend people identify the medium they are most interest in, volunteer at an organization, and attend events and exhibitions focusing on the medium.  If they want to make art, there are classes at VisArts, Glen Echo Park, other art centers, and other places.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

I hope county, State and Federal funding will continue to be available to support the arts in our community as well as nationally and internationally. However, I am too poorly informed and involved to make a meaningful statement on this topic.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

An important and lasting spark for me was seeing the Craft Multiples exhibition at the Smithsonian Renwick Gallery in 1975. This exhibition caught the attention of numerous people who became craft artists or collectors.

2017 Emerging Leader Award Recipient Cassie Meador

November 5th, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Emerging Leader Award
to Cassie Meador for her work with Dance Exchange.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Cassie and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Cassie.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

My contributions within the arts and culture sector continue to be driven by the ways socially engaged artmaking deepen our capacities to hold our histories, to face the current conditions of our world, to look back and forward at the same time, to take in the joys and sorrow, and to activate our curiosity– returning us to the questions at the heart of our lives. I am thrilled for the opportunity to play a vital role in cultivating spaces for civic input and engagement with communities and sectors shaping our County through my work with Dance Exchange.

Dance Exchange was founded in 1976, and found a home in Montgomery County at our Takoma Park studios 20 years ago. At Dance Exchange, we continue to place intergenerational collaborations at the center of our work, valuing voices of all ages, backgrounds, and disciplines. We’ve worked with partners across our County, such as the City of Takoma Park Housing and Community Development on our multi-year project “New Hampshire Avenue: This is a Place to… and currently with Wheaton Regional Park through our Moving Field Guide Program, bringing the diverse experiences of our County together through performance and dialogue to further social, civic, and environmental engagement. On the horizon, I am excited for the ways we will be extending this work in partnership with the City of Takoma Park Public Works Department, Capital Area Food Bank, Rockville Human Rights Commission, and Arden Courts- a memory care center in Potomac.  Our work together is advancing the field of dance by supporting artists and audiences to think beyond the stage and towards the many ways dancemaking can have an impact on our world.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

The arts are one of the most powerful tools we have to face our history and to see the current conditions of our country with a nuanced perspective, with empathy and imagination. They are vital in visioning and strengthening our shared world. Montgomery County, a place where arts and culture thrive, has offered an incredible home to grow and contribute to as a leader. Our County– especially the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and our County leaders– are unwavering champions of the arts, valuing the ways artists continue to orient our society towards justice, equity, and creative change in our communities. This support of the arts is a direct investment in creating ways of seeing and being in the world that have the power to change the environments we live and work in, and the encounters along the way.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

I came to Dance Exchange fifteen years ago, drawn to the ways I saw the organization turning people towards the value dance can have in our lives, and pushing the boundaries of how this happens by asking– Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is the dancing about? Why does it matter? These four questions are at the heart of Dance Exchange’s mission, and the ways we support people across diverse generations, communities, and sectors to connect with and expand their creative capacities. For those new or curious about deepening their relationship and work within arts and culture, this is such an important time for us to cultivate our creative capacities together as communities. The commitment to invest in these capacities, which are inherent in all of us, can begin at any age, in any place, and at any time- it’s potential is always present.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, I am interested in the ways arts and culture can create opportunities to actively participate in understanding the broader systems and shared places we are part of. This interest shapes the way I think about leadership. As I stepped into the role of Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange in 2016, I launched Organizing Artists for Change (OAC) — an initiative to support, connect, and grow the network of socially engaged artists, and to extend Dance Exchange’s leadership in socially engaged practice.

From working with scientists to explore how performance can bridge the gap between scientific fact and public consciousness, to recent projects connecting audiences to the history and conditions of race, erasure, and resistance in Dallas, Richmond, and the DC region–I continue to believe in the power of artistic process and performance as a site for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action. For me, making dances has never been about a single trajectory to the stage— it is a plunge into the unknown, a way to go new places and to return home, to reshape our lives and actions and to encourage our curiosity about who we are, where we come from and how we sustain our lives in a place. I see these questions and our relationship to place in both local and global communities driving artmaking of the present and future.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

I found a path to Dance Exchange by way of a childhood filled with passionate storytelling, a family of scientists continually seeding inquiry, and an environment that always encouraged the respect and discipline of the arts.  Beyond my life at home, my earliest creative sparks were tended to and cultivated through the incredible opportunity to attend Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, 5th-12th grade, in Augusta, GA. Having the arts woven into my education within the public school system placed inquiry and artmaking at the center of my life– this continues to drive my dancemaking and action in the world today.

2017 Patron Award Recipient Michael Angell

November 5th, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Patron Award
to Michael Angell for his work with Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Michael and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Michael.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation supports performers, presenters, and educators in the fields of classical music and theater. Grants support general operations, specific programs, or educational outreach. In pursuit of shared missions with our grantees, we help bring about not only the intrinsic impact of the Performing Arts, but also critical social, educational, and economic outcomes that benefit our communities and fellow citizens.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

Montgomery County genuinely values and promotes the arts and humanities at the local level. This is evident from its every school arts program, community center, and children’s theater. Montgomery County, to its enormous credit, cares about quality of life for its many citizens.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

Do it! Get to know your local arts and culture scene. Find what you like. Attend concerts, lectures, performances, gallery talks, art fairs, whatever strikes you as interesting; then get involved! There is no more rewarding or important activity than in helping to bring the wonder and intensity of arts and culture to life. Involvement in the arts, to paraphrase American writer, Kurt Vonnegut, deepens your humanity. Whether it is as a creator, designer, docent, funder, teacher, or ticket-taker; or at whatever capacity or level, for goodness sake, just do it!

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

One of humanity’s biggest and growing challenges is overcoming suspicion of “the other.” Its pernicious divisiveness leads to dangerous scapegoating, terror, and sadly, even poor decisions by those entrusted with leadership positions. Arts and culture have the unique and powerful capacity; through works that are thoughtful, powerful, and beautiful; to bring about understanding and empathy between people of diverse lands, beliefs, and persuasions. The writings of Pakistani peace and education activist, Malala Yusufzai; the works of Chinese artist, Weiwei; and the arts education activism of Venezuelan musician, José Antonio Abreu, are but three modern examples. Continued propagation of works of the standard canon, be they, for example, from classical drama or abstract expressionist painting, have limitless potential in this regard. Furthermore, the immediacy and impact of today’s online publishing, presentation, and dissemination of art and culture, can and must work to spread ideas of empathy, healing, and understanding among different peoples, be they from across the county or across the ocean. The “other” must become “ourselves.” Our very humanity depends on it

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

I don’t remember a specific spark. The interest started when I was very young, perhaps at around or before five years of age. I would repeat tunes heard, and later create my own. Eventually, learning music notation helped me relate fixed compositions.

2017 Education Award Recipient CREATE Arts Center

November 3rd, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Education Award to CREATE Arts Center.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor CREATE Arts Center, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about CREATE Arts Center from Executive Director Jeremy Flick.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

No one will disagree that science, technology, engineering, and math are “important,” but we must not overlook the importance, and essential role the arts and humanities serve in providing and improving our students’ a comprehensive education. At CREATE we measure our impact in pounds, feet, gallons, and sheets of paper…in 2017 our programs used 900 pounds of clay, 800 yards of plaster, 18 dozen pencils, 20 gallons of tempera paint, roughly 8,000 sheets of drawing/painting/construction paper, 144 rolls of masking tape, 450 glue sticks, 288 sets of watercolor, 1,440 colored pencils, 1,440 oil pastels, and 3 gallons of glue.

We are not trying to make great artists. Instead we recognize the importance of arming students with creativity and in providing opportunities for self-expression, where art is a vehicle to encourage increased problem-solving and critical thinking skills, social and emotional development, community connectedness, and most of all to empower them with the confidence and self-assurance that will carry them in their academic careers and beyond.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

Its vibrancy! There is such a wonderful artistic and cultural diversity in the county. There really is something for everyone to see, participate in, and experience. The county’s support for the arts and culture is unmatched in the region. Our community members are highly engaged, and recognize the value of integrating the arts, not simply because of their direct economic impact, but because they also recognize the importance of the arts and culture preserving, promoting, and enhancing the potential of OUR community.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

Now, more than ever, we need the arts and culture and we need as much involvement from as many individuals as possible. Not only do we need the artists, performers, and the producers to provide the objects, stories, music, and experiences, but we need the supporters, patrons, and audience members to keep the arts alive and thriving. There are so many ways to get involved and they can be as simple as going to see an exhibition, attending a performance, going to a festival or directly volunteering your time and experience to help an organization. Many arts organizations like CREATE do a lot with very limited resources. Our efforts would not be possible without the support of volunteers, many of whom have a strong interest in the arts and are simply looking for ways to get more involved in their community.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

We face the immediate and on-going challenges of funding, the threat of elimination to the NEA and NEH are the biggest examples of this. We continue to see cuts to the arts in favor of STEM initiatives in our schools, and as are communities are becoming increasingly divided along political, racial, and socioeconomic lines. While the county’s support for the Arts and Cultural is unprecedented in the region, we still need more. The Arts and culture are needed now more than ever. As community, arts, and cultural leaders we posses the tools to leverage today’s challenges as opportunities to begin to bring our communities together. To project and create a brighter future in which diverse cultural perspectives are celebrated, and one that recognizes access, participation, and involvement in the arts/culture as not simply an essential component of  a thriving community but also a basic human right afforded to every member of the community.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

As World War II raged, a seven-year-old Jewish refugee learned from her mother how to create art – and free her mind from the chaos outside. Forty years later, as a seasoned arts educator and therapist, Tamar Hendel founded CREATE Arts Center to share what she had learned.

CREATE was founded on the belief that art has the ability to engender in both children and adults, the ability to discover the innately creative parts of themselves to promote personal achievement and success, healing, the building of confidence and self-esteem, to forge new connections, and the ability to cope with physical and emotional challenges.

2017 Community Award Recipient Allison Weiss

November 3rd, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Community Award
to Allison Weiss for her work with Sandy Spring Museum.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Allison, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Allison.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

Sandy Spring Museum provides the environment and inspiration for community-driven activities. Most organizations hire professional artists, performers, actors, etc for their programming. We provide a venue for community members to present high quality exhibits, events, workshops, performances – cultural arts programming – for the general public. We provide support to professionalize these activities.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

There’s room for everyone. There are so many diverse activities going on, so many different approaches to presenting the arts.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

Don’t hold back and don’t wait for “the right moment.” The right moment is right now!

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

I think that we will see even more platforms for User Generated Content that is shared on the internet. If organizations with a physical building want to stay relevant, we have to address the fact that millions of people are getting arts and culture content on Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and so on.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

I don’t think there was any “ah ha!” moment; it’s just part of who I am. It’s not something I do in my free time; it’s how I spend all of my time. I am driven to create arts and cultural experiences for others.

2017 Outstanding Artist Recipient Chelsey Green

November 2nd, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award to Recording Artist Chelsey Green of The Green Project.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Chelsey, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know Chelsey a little more.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

I believe my involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector was impactful through the variety of performances me and my ensemble have done through and for the county. From live shows to educational workshops to summer programs with Strathmore, I’ve done my best to bring my interpretation of string performance to audiences throughout the county.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

I love that the arts and culture sector of Montgomery County presents year-round programming that is accessible, engaging and diverse. Catered to the sub-communities within the county, the arts and culture programming reaches its residents in every corner of the county.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

My advice for someone looking to get involved with arts and culture is to just do it! Jump in and immerse yourself in a way that you make it happen. Practice your craft so you can be ready for anything when an opportunity comes and attend arts events to network with the community and start building. Also, be open to new ideas and new paths you may have not considered originally.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

Now more than ever, I see a trend of both local and global communities utilizing art as a unifying tool to bring people together. This couldn’t make me happier. We need to get back to the core of what makes our world turn. People helping people for the greater good. I hope we can turn this movement into more funding at federal and local levels to stretch arts programming in a way that it can tangibly aid the people of our local and global communities in an impactful way.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

My “arts spark” came around age seven when my private violin teacher took me to sit in the orchestra pit with her for a performance of The Nutcracker by The Houston Ballet. As she played in the violin section, I saw all the musicians performing together in the pit, the dancers on stage and backstage, the crew and everything coming together to make this production happen. I fell in love and knew art was something I wanted to dedicate my life to from that point forward.

2017 Volunteer Award Recipient Elli Swink

November 1st, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Volunteer Award to Elli Swink for her work with Damascus Theatre Company.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Elli, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Elli.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

I think working with the youth in our community theater company, our DTC Kids, is the most impactful thing that we/I do.  We are training them to perform live theater and also in the technical aspects of theater. Many have gone on to make this their career. In a small community like Damascus, this offers children and entire families an opportunity to work together to create something really wonderful and entertaining and they gain confidence and become so proud of what we’ve created together through our hard work.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

I love the variety of musical, theater, and cultural events that Montgomery County has to offer. There are many theater groups and particularly groups for children and teens to become involved with to learn theater arts. I’m proud of the role our group has had in teaching theater to children and at a very affordable cost in part because of our support from the Arts & Humanities Council.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

Get involved! Reach out to your local theater company and ask how you can help. Start with ushering to meet a few people and then be open to learning how to house manage or paint and build sets. Arts groups welcome people willing to volunteer.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

It seems that each year more and more theater groups are forming. I think that will continue. In these difficult times, theater offers a beautiful distraction to the despair many people are feeling.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

My interest in the arts and theater began when my sister’s middle school teacher selected her to play ‘Amaryllis’ in our community’s production of The Music Man in Waynesboro, PA. Seeing Debbie up there on stage and watching that musical was magical. Years later, I signed up to be part of my high school’s productions, working backstage on props and crew. Once I married and moved to Montgomery County and our daughter Maggie was old enough to get involved too, we all joined the Damascus Theatre Company. I credit my parents for taking us to community theater shows. This was the impetus for my interest in the arts.

Montgomery County Council Approves the Largest Budget for Arts and Humanities

May 25th, 2017 by Courtney

On Thursday, May 25, the Montgomery County Council approved the largest budget for the arts and humanities. The resolution for FY18 is as follows:

  • Operating Support Grants – $3,374,941 ($66,739 over FY17)
  • Small/Mid-Size Organizations, Creative Projects, Arts Education, and Individual Artist/Scholar Grants – $854,574 (increased $75,713 over FY17)
  • Advancement Grants – $295,094 (increased $45,044 over FY17)
  • AHCMC Administration – $540,519 (increased $10,689 over FY17)
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund –  $200,000 (flat from FY17)
  • Grants to Support Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District – $91,815 (increased $1,815 over FY17)
  • Grant to National Philharmonic – $150,000 (earmark in line with that of FY17)

Total Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County FY18 NDA $5,506,943

The FY18 budget also includes:

  • Capital Improvement Grants – $800,000*

Congratulations to the entire arts and humanities sector. We thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the field. Our lives are richer and more creative as a result.

Onward!

Suzan

*While $1 million is available for Capital Improvement Grants, demand does not exceed supply in this category. Therefore, in response to a request from the County Council and Office of Management and Budget a portion of the funds will support $200,000 in renovations for the Noyes Children’s Library in Kensington, Md. We support this decision as it is in line with our mission to support the humanities.