Archive for February, 2012

Poetry Out Loud: Kari Barclay

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Each year over 365,000 high school students compete in Poetry Out Loud, a national recitation contest. Hear from Kari Barclay, a second-year Poetry Out Loud contestant, about his experience participating in Poetry Out Loud.

This is my second year reciting in Poetry Out Loud after last year coming in first at the state level and advancing to national finals, where I made it to the top 9 (out of 365,000). My experience with PoL has been phenomenal. Poetry Out Loud surrounds teens with students who, like them, are obsessed with poetry, and each teen has a passion for the poems he or she recites. Through Poetry Out Loud, I’ve met actors and slam poets and songwriters who all have a love for the spoken word. Each person has a message they want to get across to their audience.

Last year, I recited “Dog” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, “Death be not proud” by John Donne, and “anyone lived in a pretty how town” by e.e. cummings. Speaking the poems aloud brings many of them alive. And for many students confronted with written works in a classroom setting, what would be intimidating on the page is electrifying spoken aloud. This year, I’ve come back for Poetry Out Loud to hear great reciters like the ones I encountered last year and to experiment with some new poems, “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell and “Under the Vulture-Tree” by David Bottoms. For me, it’s rewarding to take the words on the page and give them to the audience, in a form that does not spoon-feed meaning but rather gives the audience room to interpret. I’ve loved discovering hidden layers to the poems I’m reading and joining others for their discoveries as they recite.

– Kari Barclay

Kari will compete in the Maryland state competition this Saturday, March 3 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He is also featured as a Top Teen in Bethesda Magazine’s March/April 2012 issue.

CEO Podcast: AHCMC’s latest advocacy efforts

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Welcome to the new CEO Podcast! Hear Suzan Jenkins, AHCMC’s CEO, talk about our latest advocacy efforts at Maryland Arts Day. She’ll also talk about our latest campaign to support funding for public art maintenance and conservation in Montgomery County, as well as what went down at our first #CreativeMoCo Tweetup.

Additional resources

Maryland Arts Day

Support public art maintenance and conservation

#CreativeMoCo Tweetup

Link Roundup: 2011’s worst social media screw-ups, the Freedom House and productivity rituals

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Hope everyone had a fabulous week! This week, we hosted our first ever #CreativeMoCo Tweetup, which was an amazing night of conversation and connections. Thanks to all who came. If you didn’t (or even if you did), read our Storify summary of the night!

And without further ado, here are the daily articles we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: Basically, don’t do this. You’d be shocked at some of the case studies on this list.


Takeaways: It seems like Facebook’s always changing things up. Whether you’ve gotten used to the new Timeline for personal profiles or not, they’re going ahead and launching the same look for brands. Don’t worry though, you still have time to wrap your head around these changes — they”re starting off with a small beta group.


Takeaways: The new National Museum of African American History and Culture will feature a good amount of Maryland and Montgomery County treasures, including the Freedom House (also known as the Jones-Hall-Sims House), a two-story log house build by freed slaves from Montgomery County. The article has more information about the Freedom House about halfway down — a really great read.


Takeaways: According to this video from the Harvard Business Review, automatic rituals decrease the amount of energy needed to tackle your to-do list. It’s pretty interesting, and the video can do more justice to the idea than I can!

Follow us at @creativemoco to get our article tweets daily!

Notes from the Field: Flower Avenue Urban Park

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

This semester, AHCMC is launching an inventory of public art in Montgomery County under the direction of Dr. Michele Cohen, Public Art Contractor. Students from Montgomery College and George Mason University will collect information on the art works and provide readers with short photo-logs and blogs about what they’re finding in the field as they identify and survey the County’s sizable collection.

"Faces of Flower Avenue" by George F. Fishman (1992)

Last week, Sonia (my coworker this semester), my three children and I inventoried and inspected some of the Public Art Trust’s outdoor sculptures including one at the Flower Avenue Urban Park (pictured here). My kids–Ayana, Kyran, and Dylan–had great fun being detectives looking for sculptures hiding in parks. The sculptures were very nice and almost all of them were in parks with busy playgrounds. Unfortunately, nobody paid any attention to the sculptures because they were not located close enough to the playgrounds. I think if the sculptures were integrated with the playground they would be more appreciated.

When we asked people what they thought about the pieces, they all replied that they liked them but they also agreed that the sculptures were a little isolated. It is unfortunate to have such nice sculptures and have them so isolated or have them in the wrong location.

Once they discovered the near-by playgrounds, my children forgot that the sculptures even existed. This is the main reason why I believe that placing these sculptures closer to the playgrounds would be a plus and kids would be exposed to art while they played. Not everybody has the chance to have a mum or a dad that is an artist, like I am, and that will take them on expeditions to see art for the fun and the pleasure of discovery. Art surrounds us and what better way to explore its wonder than while playing with your child?

Link Roundup: Google spreadsheets, pARTnership and fighting that creativity block

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Happy Friday! Here are the daily articles we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: So some techy people have figured out how to use Google Spreadsheets to analyze your social media efforts. If you’re a datahead, you’ll love these! Setting them up is a little time intensive (it’s not so “plug and play”), but each have good directions on how to make them work.


Takeaways: With varying screen resolutions and other factors, just how relevant is “The Fold” on the web? Our web developers at Wood Street explore the issue.


Takeaways: Americans for the Arts has just launched The Partnership Movement (emphasis on the “art” in partnership!), an initiative that encourages business leaders to build their competitive advantage by partnering with the arts. This site has 8 reasons for businesses to partner with the arts, features case studies of successful arts & business partnerships and even has a searchable directory so business can easily find their arts partner. It’s really exciting — can’t wait to see what innovative things come out of this movement!


Takeaways: This got a lot of retweets, so I’m guessing that I’m not the only one facing dreaded afternoon slumps! Click through, it’s worth it.

Again, don’t wait until Friday to get the digest — follow us on Twitter (@creativemoco)!

“Deferring maintenance of public art year after year is not economical.”

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Below is the second testimony submitted to Montgomery County Council last Thursday in support of the Public Arts Trust:

Good evening. My name is Dr. Michele Cohen. I was the founding director of New York City’s Public Art for Public Schools program for twenty years and I am currently a consultant to the AHCMC, the custodian of Montgomery County’s vast collection of public art. I have written books on public art, taught courses about public art, supervised NYC’s sculpture inventory, and managed a collection of over 1,200 artworks in NYC schools: I know the challenges of caring for art in the public realm.

Corrision, Leaching and Damaged Seating Element
Corrision, leaching and damaged seating element

Montgomery County has a significant public art collection, including portable works in government offices, murals and sculptural installations in schools, iconic pieces marking courthouses, parks, and community centers—works that add to the quality of life for all of Montgomery County’s residents and visitors. Nationally known artists include Muriel Castanis, George Greenamyer, Joseph McDonnell, and Mary Ann Unger. Over the last three decades, many agencies helped form this collection, but none have taken ownership of it. As years of deferred maintenance accrue, the condition of objects has worsened, and now about 15% or 50 major sculptural installations in public spaces require substantial treatment—more than just hosing down and waxing.


“Just as the County invests funds to maintain buildings, artworks require resources for maintenance as well as conservation.”

Monday, February 13th, 2012
Public Arts Trust consultant, Michele Cohen, and AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins testifying to Montgomery County Council

Public Arts Trust consultant, Michele Cohen, and AHCMC CEO Suzan Jenkins testifying to Montgomery County Council

Last Thursday, February 9, we testified to Montgomery County Council to encourage them to  protect their $4+ million investment and fund conservation and maintenance for County-owned public art. Below is one of the written testimonies submitted to Montgomery County Council:

Council President Berliner, esteemed members of the County Council, thank you for your past support of the arts and humanities in Montgomery County. I am here today to ask you to appropriate funding for the Public Arts Trust (PAT) in FY13/FY14.

The Arts and Humanities Council (AHCMC) was distressed to learn that appropriation was not included in the FY13/FY14 Public Arts Trust CIP #729658 as this funding is critical to protect and maintain the County’s assets of over $4M already invested in public art. A Cost Change for FY13 and 14 is noted in CIP#729658 to allocate a TBD amount to AHCMC’s operating budget for maintenance of assets currently in the Trust.

I ask you now to allocate an appropriate level of funding in the CIP that will allow AHCMC to manage the Trust responsibly. Even funding 50% of the former allocation would be hugely impactful.


Link Roundup: Pinterest, Maryland Arts Day and how to be creative

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Each workday, we tweet articles that might be helpful to other organizations and companies. Here’s what we posted this week:


Takeaways: The buzz around Pinterest is growing, especially with new data showing that it refers more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. I personally don’t think this means that all brands have to be on it, but if it makes sense for yours (visual art, interior design, photography, etc.) and if you have time to invest in it, I think it’s worth checking out.


Takeaways: This is an interesting infographic that explores companies’ feelings about their employees’ use of Twitter, but the thoughts expressed here can definitely extend to employees’ use of social networking in general. The main takeaway is probably that social media training and an online communications policy are key to avoiding any snafus that may put your organization in jeopardy.


Takeaways: We were in Annapolis for Maryland Arts Day and had the opportunity to speak with the legislators above, as well as Delegate Mizeur and Comptroller Franchot. Just search for #MDArtsDay2012 — you’ll see tweets from arts advocates all over Maryland!


Takeaways: These thoughts from Sir Ken Robinson talk about how to be creative, the role of a creative leader and how creativity is not an afterthought. It’s a seriously inspiring and affirming read; take a few minutes out of your day when you need a pick-me-up!

Don’t wait until Friday for the digest; follow us at @creativemoco to get our daily articles in real time.

Link Roundup: Animated email marketing, polar bears at the Super Bowl and our local Poetry Out Loud champ

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

And here’s what we tweeted this week at @creativemoco!


Takeaways: First, a little background. I’m signed up to receive emails from Coach, Last Call Neiman Marcus and other luxury brands, and I noticed their subtle and classy use of animated GIFs in their email marketing. (Yes, it’s possible — we’ve moved beyond the flashing GIFs of Geocities and Angelfire!) If you’re going to go this route, make sure that the first frame of your GIF stands alone and works in the context of the rest of the email. Animated GIFs work in most email clients but not all, and only the first frame of your GIF will appear in email clients that don’t support animation. Also, take care that the animation isn’t overwhelming or distracting — keep it subtle and give it a purpose.


Takeaways: Each time the Super Bowl goes to commercial break on Sunday, Coca-Cola’s ad execs will decide on site which of their two prepared ads air depending on who is winning. There’s also an online component where the two polar bears will be shown reacting to the game in (almost) real time! This is probably one of the most ambitious and innovative Super Bowl ad campaigns I’ve seen recently, and I’m excited to see its actual implementation. I also can’t help but wonder what ways we and other businesses can become more interactive and use online media to enhance live experiences, if appropriate.


Takeaways: On January 18, local students participated in the Montgomery County Poetry Out Loud competition and Kari Barclay of Richard Montgomery High School emerged as our County champion! He’s advancing to the regional competition at Calvert Marine Museum on February 11. Kari also placed first in last year’s Poetry Out loud competition. Congrats to Kari and all Poetry Out Loud participants — you did Montgomery County proud!


Takeaways: Well-rested = happier = more productive! I’m taking note of #3, #4, #8 and #9 in this blog post.

Make sure to follow us at @creativemoco for our daily article tweets! Also, join us and others in Montgomery County’s creative community at the #CreativeMoCo Tweetup at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Wednesday, February 22. Register now!