Archive for July, 2018

AHCMC Strives to Set National Example in Equity and Inclusion

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this week we were thrilled to learn that (for the 4th year in a row) our Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metro Division is officially ranked #8 on the list of top 20 most arts vibrant large communities, according to the National Center for Arts Research (NCAR) Arts Vibrancy Index, proving once again that the inclusion of and investment in our County’s diverse communities contribute directly to our burgeoning creative sector’s $183M economic impact and serves as a model for our nation.  According to NCAR Director Zannie Voss, “…today’s climate of uncertainty makes it more important than ever to acknowledge and celebrate the essential role that arts and culture play in making communities…more vibrant places to live and visit.”

We are especially grateful for the entertainment, folk, and ethnic festivals produced in our Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Wheaton Arts & Entertainment Districts every year; we know that they add to the County’s vibrancy. AHCMC is proud to support these efforts and as a show of support, I encourage you to share this wonderful accomplishment!

As we strive to deepen our arts vibrancy and investment, we also endeavor to set a national example in equity and inclusion and learn from others. Recently, the Montreal Jazz Festival faced severe backlash for a controversial stage show, SLAV, featuring African-American slave songs performed by a largely white cast. The show’s performances were eventually canceled due to public protests and reproach of what many viewed as cultural appropriation. And historically in the musictheatre, and film/TV industries, the vast majority of featured artists and/or arts leadership directors are white men. This lack of inclusion leaves many voices and stories left untold, contributing widely to structural/historical racism and its effects on ALAANA communities in the arts. Considering the County Council’s Racial Equity Resolution adopted in April 2018, we know that the time is now to lead by example in Montgomery County. Our 2,000+ artists and scholars and 500+ arts and humanities organizations deserve nothing less.

In FY19 AHCMC is taking the necessary steps to realize our goal for more equitable grantmaking countywide. To that end, AHCMC is embarking on a fruitful partnership with Leadership Montgomery for the purposes of providing Racial Equity Training to our entire board and staff. Like our colleagues at  Arts, we believe this intentional examination of racial inequities will help us better understand root causes and systems, inform our understanding, and create solutions to address historical inequities in funding African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) artists, communities and arts organizations.  As we strive to achieve our Strategic Plan Goals, this expansion of our knowledge base will benefit all residents of Montgomery County without exception.

Whether mixing classical Hindustani music with beatbox, bringing a traditionally-costumed Chinese opera to local residents, or examining issues of mixed-race identity through memoirs, our FY19 grantees are producing innovative and community-minded programs and initiatives. So take a look at our FY19 Grants Brief to learn more and get out in our community to experience the plethora of multicultural offerings through!

Suzan Jenkins,

Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Region Ranks #8 in Most Arts Vibrant Large Communities

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018
Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research has released its fourth annual Arts Vibrancy Index, which ranks more than 900 communities across the country. AHCMC is thrilled to share that the Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD Metro Division has ranked #8 on the list of top 20 most arts vibrant large communities (population over 1 million)! Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV and Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD – the two Metro Divisions that make up the larger Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV, MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) – made the list for the fourth year in a row.
The Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD, Metro Division, which encompasses Montgomery County and Frederick County, is part of the greater Washington MSA. Being partly inside the Capital Beltway, its arts and culture vibrancy benefits from being a close suburb of D.C., as evidenced by its 5th and 3rd place rankings on contributed revenue and total expenses, respectively, as well as its 4th place ranking on compensation to arts and culture employees. In addition to close social and economic ties to D.C.’s arts and cultural offerings, Silver Spring is home to the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, as well as several entertainment, musical, and ethnic festivals. The most notable of these festivals are AFI Docs and the Silver Spring Jazz Festival.
Montgomery County’s Silver Spring, Bethesda, and Wheaton Arts & Entertainment Districts include venues for live music, theater, independent films, visual arts, dance, and more. Other notable area organizations include Strathmore, Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Washington International Piano Festival, the Olney Theatre Center, Round House Theatre, and Imagination Stage. In Rockville, there is a civic ballet, civic chorus, and civic concert band. VisArts in Rockville provides arts education classes and camp programs, as well as gallery space for local artists.
In the Frederick Arts and Entertainment District, you will find the Delaplaine Arts Center, Griffin Art Center, Weinberg Center for the Arts, the annual Frederick Festival of the Arts and a vibrant independent artist scene in Downtown Frederick. This combined area has more than two dozen arts education organizations and two dozen dance companies. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Frederick Arts Council foster environments where the arts may flourish through grantmaking, professional development, and capacity-building support programs.
Arts vibrancy continues to take many shapes and forms. Some communities have large, impressive nonprofit arts and cultural institutions, some have an explosion of smaller and mid-sized organizations and venues, some benefit from their close proximity and ties to another arts vibrant community, and others are artist magnets or tourist destinations. Numerous arts sectors flourish in some communities while a particular art form dominates in other cities. Vibrancy in very large metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) takes two distinct forms. Some large MSAs feature a strong concentration of arts vibrancy in the urban core with less going on in outlying districts whereas others feature vibrancy that is dispersed throughout the metropolitan area.
Read more to discover this year’s key findings.