Archive for October, 2011

Instagramming the Executive’s Awards ceremony

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Did you come to the Executive’s Awards ceremony on Monday? It was a great night and a wonderful way to celebrate Montgomery County’s cultural community!

As event producer, it was nearly impossible to live-tweet everything once the event started, but here some quick snapshots I took with the Instagram app during soundchecks and set-up for the ceremony:

Backstage during set-up

Warner Williams and Jay Summerour at soundcheck

Christopher K. Morgan and Ignacio Alcover during soundcheck and rehearsal

During the ceremony!

Congrats to all awardees, grantees, performers and a big thank you to all those involved with the production of the ceremony. Until next year!

For more information about this year’s Awards ceremony, click here.

Volunteer Blog Salon: Lance Kramer

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon Docs in Progress for the first time when I came to a screening and discussion at their “Documentary House” in downtown Silver Spring.  It really was a house and I walked through the door, not quite sure what to expect. Inside the “living room,” I found a wonderful film, fascinating conversation, and a welcoming, diverse range of people all interested in learning from stories drawn from the community. It felt like this place had been here for years. As someone who grew up in the area, I wondered how I had missed it all this time. Little did I know that Docs in Progress had moved into its home in downtown Silver Spring just one year prior. I was amazed at how quickly Docs in Progress had laid its roots into the Silver Spring community.

I’m proud to say that since that screening, I’ve gone on to volunteer with Docs In Progress and am now on their Board of Directors. As a professional documentary filmmaker myself and co-founder of a local production company, Meridian Hill Pictures, I’ve found my time as a Docs in Progress volunteer to be a rewarding and irreplaceable complement to ‘my day job.’ Volunteering with Docs in Progress has taught me more about my craft, helped me build countless new personal and professional relationships, and has helped me develop a better understanding of how to responsibly run and support a non-profit arts organization. It’s a place where I can share and try out new ideas and explore innovative ways to make a difference using the medium that I love. Volunteerism at Docs in Progress is a unique kind of service to the community, one that facilitates personal growth directly in parallel to ‘giving back.’ I can safely say that Docs in Progress is an integral part of my life as a documentary filmmaker in the DC-area and I could not be more thrilled to stay involved and see what we can accomplish in the years to come.

- Lance Kramer

Volunteer Blog Salon: Kristin Jones

Friday, October 21st, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.



Kristin Jones, Violin
Grade 12, St. John’s College HS

I am a violin member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras. This is my second year with Philharmonic and I have also been a member of the Young Artists, Symphony, and Chamber Orchestras. Outside my time at MCYO, I perform as concertmaster of my high school orchestra, play violin and viola in summer orchestra programs, and I love to study mathematics. Being part of MCYO is an amazing experience for every member. Performing with so many musicians makes you want to work harder and harder to reach perfection at each rehearsal and every performance.

Well, you go back to the beginning, that nerve-racking, teeth chattering, palm sweaty time for all of us is: Audition Week. Volunteering during Audition Week is my way of giving back by being there for all the newest young dreamers and letting them know that there best is all they have to give. One of the best experiences is watching the elation on the face of the auditioning musicians when they’ve nailed a masterful performance. Outside of MCYO, I am a volunteer math tutor at Guide Youth Services, where I empower young students to give their best in mathematics.

Volunteer Blog Salon: Kathy Bell

Friday, October 21st, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.

I first came to BlackRock Center for the Arts before the building even opened, when they had free summer concerts on the lawn. I bought 10 chances on a series of tickets to future events, and I won 17 pairs of tickets! There were so many upcoming events – jazz, bluegrass, coffeehouse, dance, classical, and others – that I could not wait for the building to open. After attending so many events, I was hooked forever on BlackRock!

When I realized I could volunteer there and interact with many people, especially kids, and still see the shows, I was a lifetime fan. Now I purchase a few tickets but volunteer for lots of shows, and especially the kids’ shows. I love to see the children when they peer into the theater and see the barn for “Charlotte’s Web,” the closet for “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” or strange-looking percussion instruments ready to make odd noises. The kids are wide-eyed and thrilled, and as they leave, when I ask them if they liked the show, they bubble up with excitement and tell me all about it. One little girl was speechless and just hugged me around the knees. What a reward for doing something that’s so much fun!

I hope to be a part of the BlackRock family for a long time to come – it is a major and important part of my life.

- Kathy Bell

Volunteer Blog Salon: Nadia Abouraya

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.



My name is Nadia Abouraya and I am 25 years old. I live in Silver Spring and volunteer once a week at Imagination Stage.

The gift shop at Imagination Stage is one place where I volunteer by putting price tag stickers on items or bagging new purchases. It can be a very noisy place but it’s lots of fun. There can be lots of kids banging around or just two of us making noise while we straighten things up.

I am also an usher. I like handing out the programs and watching the kids react to the show. I love the shows so much myself. It’s fun to see the kids clapping and enjoying themselves. They are so into it. Kids seem to be moving all parts of their bodies even while they are sitting in their seats for a show like Wind in the Willows. I know Aladdin’s Luck is going to be great because I saw a model of the set before the show opened and it’s amazing.

I also do office work like photocopying, setting up for activities, and working with different things at the office. Once I even ran the light board for a student show. That was the very first show I did at Imagination Stage and I’ve been volunteering there ever since. I have always like live plays. It’s also good to meet new volunteers and the people you work with.

Outside Imagination Stage, I am driving and taking classes at Montgomery College. Mostly I like to see movies with my friends and family, read, or walk around my neighborhood. I also usher at Shakespeare Theater and I have a few other part-time jobs.

Volunteer Blog Salon: Sherman Leung

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.

Sherman Leung, Violin
Grade 12, Montgomery Blair HS

During the summers that I volunteered at Maryland Classic Youth Orchestras, I acted as a student volunteer for MCYO’s annual auditions at the end of August. Some of my responsibilities included running the front desk registration to check in newly arrived musicians. I also helped facilitate the audition process by calling down musicians and guiding them to their respective rooms.

I initially began volunteering at MCYO with the purpose of gaining some student service learning hours during an event that I was already involved with as an auditioner myself. However, I returned every year even after I had fulfilled my service hour requirements because it gave me the chance to support other musicians in their audition process. In fact, I was able to talk with and encourage every musician that I led down. As an auditioner, I appreciated the value of receiving support and encouragement from a fellow musician before a stressful event like an audition. I feel fortunate to have the impact that I did on the other musicians, especially the younger ones. During audition week, I’ve made a good number of friends with my fellow volunteers and even among the auditioners I led down – I was pleasantly surprised when I bumped into several middle school students that remembered me as the older volunteer that led them down during auditions.

I think the greatest impact that MCYO has had on me is the fostering of an ability to communicate and work with others – whether it might be an anxious parent, a nervous auditioner, a fellow volunteer, or one of the conductors. As my first long-term volunteer experience, MCYO has also instilled in me a sense of professionalism and responsibility. Though it was only a volunteer experience, MCYO has definitely helped me succeed in professional work environments as well. Through volunteering at MCYO I learned the value of having good communication skills and keeping a professional demeanor.

Outside of the weekly rehearsals that I attend as part of MCYO’s philharmonic orchestra, I am an accomplished pianist of 11 years and I spend time preparing for local, state, and regional competitions every year. I play an active role in my church’s youth group as an officer that plans and organizes events. I am also on the Worship team and I lead worship at Friday night fellowships and Sunday morning services. I am a 3-letter varsity swimmer on my school team, the president and founder of the Science National Honors Society at my school, and a student enrolled in the Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science Magnet program at Montgomery Blair High School. Some of my hobbies include playing basketball, going out with friends, and blues improvisation on the piano.

Volunteer Blog Salon: Mildred MacVicar

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.

In the three years I have been at BlackRock Center for the Arts, the staff and fellow volunteers have been so appreciative and supportive. It makes you smile when you come on duty. Volunteering is definitely a rewarding experience. As a retiree, there are many volunteer opportunities in the community, but BlackRock is truly unique because o the variety of duties that I perform as a volunteer.

My main duty is to be at the information desk on Wednesdays and Thursdays, answering phones and responding to visitors’ questions and perhaps giving a tour of the building. In addition, I get to usher at performances, help at BlackRock functions, and I have even joined one of the many adult activities offered, “Classical Theatre for Adults.”

This past April I was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award at BlackRock’s annual gala. I was indeed surprised and proud to receive the award. Thank you BlackRock Center for the Arts for all you do and for giving me the opportunities I have had the past three years.

- Mildred MacVicar

Works on Paper Gets Closer Look

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

I’m Crystal Polis.  You may have read in the News & Views You Can Use! that I recently joined AHCMC to conduct an assessment of the Works on Paper Collection. From time to time, I’ll be sending out blogs and articles to tell you what’s going on with the assessment.

I’ve been on the job since early September and thus far, I have installed a new collections database called ArtSystems for the Works on Paper Collection, and we anticipate that the Public Art Collection will be added to it too.  I have converted all the old records and found that we over 550 Works on Paper.  These are prints, drawings and paintings.  They range in date from the late 1960s to the early 2000s.  I am also reconfiguring the storage area so we can properly house framed works while they are not on loan for display.

I have begun visiting county offices to inventory and photograph what is on loan.  Last week, I went to one of the Health and Human Services buildings, where I was so pleased to find that the employees were extremely conscientious stewards of their loaned works.  Joanne Becka and Eve Guerrero, an artist herself, shared with me their memories of going to the Art Swaps held many years ago.  At one time, there was a biannual event where county employees returned loaned works to swap out for new ones.  Now that the Arts and Humanities Council has inherited the collection, we will deal with loans on a case-by-case, office-by-office basis; that way county employees do not have to assume the risk of carrying around and delivering artwork.

I also visited the County Office Building last week.  They have a large share of the collection on the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th floors.  Again, I was pleased to see how carefully most of the pieces were hung and to hear that employees value them.  I did hear a few requests for different or new items, and I hope that is something the AHCMC’s small staff can address in the near future.

"Rescue & Engine Co. No. 1" by A. Brockie Stevenson, an artist of the American Realist school. According to his Washington Post obituary (he died in 2009 at the age of 89), he painted with the guidance of a T square, compass and ruler. His precision is clearly demonstrated in this silkscreen. This print is currently hanging on the 6th floor of the County Office Building in Rockville.

Of course if you work in a County office building and have County artwork that is damaged or no longer wanted, please call the Arts and Humanities Council and a staff person will make arrangements to retrieve it as soon as possible.

Want to know more? Contact me at crystal.polis@creativemoco.com.

Volunteer Blog Salon: Evey Cahall

Monday, October 17th, 2011

AHCMC is celebrating Community Service Week (October 16-22) by hosting this Volunteer Blog Salon, featuring stories of volunteers at arts and humanities organizations in Montgomery County. For more information about Community Service Week, click here.

Evey Cahall, 15
Duke Ellington School of the Arts
College of choice: Parsons New School of Design, New York

Evey started as a summer camp student at CREATE Arts Center when she was only 6 years old. Before she was a student at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, she attended Beyond Creativity – an advanced art class at CREATE where she continued to develop her portfolio and artistic technique.

Over the years, along with being a camper, she has helped our teachers and staff as a Counselor in Training (CIT) and is now one of our most outstanding volunteers.

“I have always loved my time at CREATE, whether it was as a camper when I was little, or as a student in Beyond Creativity. It has really contributed to my development as an artist. I feel really close to the staff here…and its always been a fun and creative environment to be in.” ~ Evey