Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Penguin Rush Hour Returns

Friday, March 31st, 2017

On Wednesday, March 29, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC), Metro and Montgomery County gathered to celebrate the installation of an old friend, Penguin Rush Hour, a public art mural outside of the Silver Spring Metro Station.

The 100-foot mural, designed by Sally Callmer Thompson, is a whimsical depiction of penguin commuters rushing through the Metro transit. The mural was the result of a 1989 design competition sponsored by Metro to create a temporary mural near the Red Line station. Metro intended to display the original mural for only one-year. Fourteen years later, the mural had become a fixture at the Silver Spring Metro Station.

After years of exposure, the mural needed repairs and in 2005, Silver Spring Regional Center and AHCMC launched “pennies for penguins” to help restore the work. The 25-panel mural returned to the community as a permanent piece of Montgomery County’s public art collection, which includes 258 artworks and approximately 500 works on paper.

What I love about public art is that, unlike art that is viewed intentionally by going to a specific exhibit, public art is experienced where many people might not expect to find art, and through those shared public experiences, a lasting connection to that community, and the artwork itself, can be formed. –Sally Callmer Thompson

The celebration included CEO of AHCMC Suzan Jenkins, County Executive Isiah Leggett, Council President Roger Berliner, Councilmember Tom Hucker and WMATA Board Member Kathy Porter.

L to R: Council President Roger Berliner, Arts and Humanities Council CEO Suzan Jenkins, WMATA Board Member Kathy Porter, County Executive Isiah Leggett, and Councilmember Tom Hucker

“I’m happy to be here today to see an old friend return to its home in Silver Spring,” said Councilmember Tom Hucker, who represents Silver Spring. County Executive Isiah Leggett said, “We’ve done a great many things that have been important for our community. But I tell you everywhere I go, people stop and say to me – ‘When are the penguins coming back?’”

Well, the penguins are back and residents and commuters are delighted at their return!

See more moments from the return of the penguins here.

Maryland Arts Day 2017 Recap

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

February 14 saw major support and love ❤️❤️❤️ for the arts across the state of Maryland with Maryland Arts Day 2017. Hundreds gathered in Annapolis to advocate for and share the impact of the arts on the state’s cultural and economic vitality. Lawmakers, artists, advocates, educators, administrators and many more voices were brought together in conversation around and about the importance and sustainability of the arts in Maryland.

There were a number of amazing sights throughout the day. Here are a few of our favorites:

To see more, visit our Twitter moment here.

County Council Approves an Historic FY17 Budget

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

On May 19, the County Council approved what will be an historic budget for the arts and humanities for FY17!  The Resolution, once adopted on May 26, is expected to be as follows:

  • Operating Support Grants $3,308,202
  • Small/Mid-Size Organizations, Creative Projects, Arts Education, and Individual Artist/Scholar Grants $778,861
  • Advancement Grants $250,050
  • Administration $529,830
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund $200,000
  • Grants to Support Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District $90,000
  • Grant to National Philharmonic $150,000
  • Total Arts and Humanities Council NDA $5,306,943

We certainly could not have achieved such historic heights without YOUR advocacy - congratulations to us all!!!

Following the budget approval on May 26, AHCMC staff encourages all members of the arts and humanities community to attend our 3:00PM Community-Wide FY17 Budget and Advocacy Recap Phone-In to learn more about the finalized county budget for the Arts and Humanities and the impacts of our combined advocacy strategies. We look forward to hearing you there!

Onward!


Advocacy Alert: FY17 Budget Strategy

Monday, March 21st, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

On Tuesday, March 15, the County Executive  proposed a FY17 operating budget for AHCMC of $4,873,615.  This restores the $200,000 Matching Fund and provides an additional $200,000.

AHCMC has proposed an advocacy strategy during our community-wide Advocacy call:

Ask County Council to SUPPORT the CE’s proposed FY17 budget proposed for AHCMC.

AHCMC supports MCAA’s platform which asks for $500,000 for grants and AHCMC is asking for $100,000 for administrative oversight. We encourage you to advocate accordingly when meeting one-on-one with Council members.

This is how it will break out with Matching Funds restored but without yet allocating the $200k:

  • Operating Support Grants – $3,004,852
  • Small/Midsize Orgs & Individual Artists and Scholars – $698,883
  • Advancement Grants – $250,050
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund – $200,000
  • Wheaton A&E District – $90,000
  • Administration – $429,830
  • Yet To be appropriated – $200,000

Total AHCMC FY17 PROPOSED NDA – $4,873,615

Additionally,  the County Executive has proposed a $140,000 budget for FY17 for the Public Arts Trust; the budget for Capital Improvement Projects has been approved at $1M/yr for 2017-2022.

Thanks again to ALL of you for your diligence and support! Don’t forget to register for the Advocacy Potluck on Wednesday April 6 at 11:30pm followed by my testimony for AHCMC’s budget at 1:30pm that afternoon.

Best,

Working Together to Support Our Local Community & Economy

Monday, August 17th, 2015

The FY16 budget for the Arts and Humanities is approved, and in light of the many challenges facing our local economy we believe that this budget is a good one. We are pleased that rather than diminish funding for GOS, MSO, SOG, IAS, AIRSG and ASCG and AHCMC Administration as proposed by the County’s Emergency Savings Plan, that the County Council accepted our proposal to take $200,000 from the FY16 Matching Fund.

The County Council also voted to take $141,000 from the remaining FY16 CIG funds. Consequently, we will not accept any application for FY16 emergency capital improvement grant funds nor will we distribute matching funds in FY16.

The following FY16 amended AHCMC budget has been approved:

  • Operating Support Grants – $3,004,852
  • Small/Midsize Orgs & Individual Artists and Scholars – $698,883
  • Advancement Grants – $250,050
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund – $0
  • Wheaton A&E District – $90,000
  • Administration – $429,830

Total AHCMC FY16 NDA – $4,473,615

  • Public Arts Trust – $140,000
  • Capital Improvement Grants – $1,000,000

Thank you for your support of our Savings Plan proposal and for all of your great work on behalf of the arts and humanities in Montgomery County; we sincerely appreciate YOU!

Best,

FY16 Arts and Humanities Budget Approved

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

It’s official!  On May 21, Montgomery County Council approved over $5.8 million dollars in funding for arts and humanities in Montgomery County in the FY16 County Budget on May 21, 2015. The total allocation of $5,813,615, a 4% increase over funding for the arts and humanities in Montgomery County’s FY15’s budget, includes $698,883 in support for Small, Mid-Sized organizations and Individual Artists and Scholars, as well as over $3 Million dollars in General Operating Support to help fund the County’s largest arts and humanities institutions.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Operating Support Grants – $3,004,852
  • Small/Midsize Orgs & Individual Artists and Scholars – $698,883
  • Advancement Grants – $250,050
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund – $200,000
  • Public Arts Trust – $140,000
  • Wheaton A&E District – $90,000
  • Administration – $429,830
Total AHCMC FY16 appropriation (in all categories) $4,813,615. Funding notifications for Operating Support Grants will be sent by June 30, 2015.

Additionally, FY16 Capital Improvement Grants have been approved and are as follows:
  • American Dance Institute – $70,081
  • Montgomery Community Television, Inc. – $119,181
  • Round House Theatre, Inc. – $155,572
  • Sandy Spring Museum, Inc. – $30,170
  • The Writer’s Center, Inc. – $250,000
Total FY16 Capital Improvement Grants awarded:  $625,004
Capital Improvement Grants are awarded and contracted directly through Montgomery County Government. Should you have question or concerns regarding your contract, please contact Beryl Feinberg at Beryl.Feinberg@montgomerycountymd.gov or by calling 240-777-6022. Also, when your project is completed please let us know; I am certain AHCMC staff and County legislators would like to attend your ribbon cutting, if possible.


There are $141,000 in FY16 Capital Improvement Grant funds remaining available for emergency needs. Should you have an emergency Capital Improvement Grant Request, please contact our grants department by emailing Nabil.Ghachem@creativemoco.com. Any request for emergency funding will go through an ad hoc panel process to provide recommendations to the AHCMC Board and County Executive prior to approval by the County Council.
As with all Montgomery County based grants, please make certain to send letters of appreciation to all Councilmembers; their email addresses may be found by clicking here; Congratulations to us all – wishing you All the Best in FY16!
Warmly,

The County Executive Announces FY16 Budget

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

The County Executive’s Budget for FY16 is Positive for the Arts & Humanities

On Monday, March 16, County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommendations for Montgomery County’s FY 16 Operating Budget, recommending a flat appropriation for the arts and humanities for FY16.

The County Executive proposed a total budget of $4,442,700 for the Arts and Humanities Council. This budget proposal includes $2,876,763 in funds for general operating support for arts and humanities organizations and $90,000 in funds for grants to support cultural activity in Wheaton.  Given low tax revenues and other constraints and challenges on the County’s budget overall, we are pleased that the arts and humanities budget was not diminished.  We are also encouraged that the County Executive continues to support an additional $1,000,000 appropriation for capital improvement projects in our sector and $140,000 for public art.  We were able to do a lot of rebuilding in FY15 and this budget allows us to sustain that momentum.

Here’s how this funding breaks down:

FY16 Arts and Humanities Council Proposed Appropriation – $4,442,700 which includes:

• $2,876,763 – Operating Support Grants
• $616,557  - Small & Midsize Organizations & Individual Artists & Scholars
• $90,000 – Wheaton Cultural Grants
• $250,050 – Advancement Grants
• $409,330 – AHCMC Administration
• $200,000 – Arts & Humanities Matching Fund

Additional Appropriations:

• $140,000 – FY16 Public Arts Trust
• $1,000,000 – FY16 Capital Improvement Grants

Consequently, a total of $5,582,700 is proposed for the FY16 arts and humanities sector appropriation.

Overall, this is exciting news and we thank County Executive Ike Leggett for strengthening the County’s investment in arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars through this “standstill budget”.

As always, we must continue our advocacy efforts and encourage the County Council to adopt the budget County Executive Ike Leggett has recommended. Here’s how I hope you can get involved:

Send a message of support to the County Executive, thanking him for this budget recommendation.  His email address and social media contacts can be found HERE

Also, plan to attend our Advocacy Potluck where you will be able to speak directly with the County Council to thank them for their support and hard work, as well as to encourage them to accept the County Executives budget recommendations.  We will be announcing the date of the potluck shortly; sign up HERE to receive our Advocacy Alerts to learn about this event and stay updated on our advocacy efforts.

As always, thank you for all you do to support the arts and humanities in Montgomery County.

Onward! Upward!

FY15 Budget Moves MoCo Culture Forward

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The County Executive’s Budget for the Arts & Humanities Includes Critical Increases to  Grants + More

I am pleased to share with you this tremendous news!  On March 17th, County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his recommendations for Montgomery County’s FY 15 Operating Budget, which included a considerable increase in funding for the arts and humanities, and supports an exciting new grant category to activate the Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District!

The County Executive proposed a total budget of $4,232,700 for the Arts and Humanities Council – an increase of $440,000 from FY 14. This budget proposal includes $90,000 in funds for grants to support cultural activity in the Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District. The County’s overall budget also includes recommendations of $1,111,000 for the FY15 CIP Grants, an extension of the CIP budget through 2020 for arts and humanities organizations, and $140,000 for the Public Art Trust.

Here’s how this funding breaks down:

$2,761,563 —for large organization grants
(a $250,000 increase)

$591,807
for small, midsize, artist/scholar grants
(a $100,000 increase)

$240,000
for Advancement Grants
• $349,330
for the Arts and Humanities Council Administration
$200,000for Matching funds for proceeds from the Executive’s Ball
$90,000 for activating the Wheaton A&E district  (a new category!)

Total Funding for the Arts & Humanities Council: $4,232,700
Plus

$1,111,000for the FY15 CIP Grants
$140,000
for the public Arts Trust

For a total of $5,483,700 for FY15 for our sector!

Overall, this is exciting news and we thank County Executive Ike Leggett for recognizing, once again, that investing in the arts and humanities is a strong investment in the vitality, safety, and livability of Montgomery County. By increasing the County’s investment in arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars, we are able to leverage taxpayer dollars to generate more jobs, foster greater economic activity and enhance the quality of life factors that all County residents value so highly.

While we have much to celebrate, our advocacy efforts have only just begun! With these numbers, our strategy will be to encourage the County Council to adopt the budget County Executive Ike Leggett has recommended. Here’s how I hope you can get involved:

I encourage you to contact to County Executive today and simply say this: “Thank You!” His email address and social media contacts can be found HERE

Also, plan to attend our Advocacy Potluck on April 10th at 5:30 pm. This will be an ideal opportunity to speak directly with the County Council to thank them for their support and hard work, as well as to encourage them to accept the County Executives budget recommendations.

Also, click HERE to sign up for our Advocacy Alerts – it’s the best way to stay updated on our advocacy efforts.

As always, thank you for all you do – I look forward to staying in touch.

Onward! Upward!

Suzan

The Local Effects of a National Shut Down

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Today’s New York Times article, “Without Services, Small Businesses Feel the Pinch”, reports that business owners whose companies depend on government services such as a guaranteed loans, regulatory approval, and the operation of our national parks, worry about the toll the shut down may have on them.

This hits on the same sour notes we’re hearing in the cultural sector of Montgomery County, MD. From the shutdown of the Glen Echo Park Partnership on Arts and Culture (GEPPAC), to ticket, subscription and season package sales at the NationalPhilharmonic and at performance venues like historic Olney Theater around the County, the government shutdown is causing disruptions in business that are certain to damage the fragile upturn many in the arts and humanities sector had just begun to finally feel.

Presenters are reporting that ticket sales have dropped precipitously, citing patrons who are both declining purchases and deferring plans in an effort to once again tighten their purse strings in these uncomfortably familiar uncertain times.

With the school year ramping up, small businesses like the Puppet Co. and Washington Conservatory, to name but a few of the over 450 arts and humanities organizations and over 1500 individual artists in Montgomery County, MD, had just begun their seasons ten days ago. What was anticipated as the start of their seasons has turned into a non-starter.

GEPPAC, situated squarely on National Park Service property, is home to 14 arts organizations like the Yellow Barn Studio and Gallery, Silver Works and other small businesses, all of which are shuttered, causing the Park to lose many of its 450,000 yearly patrons, students, evening and weekend crowds exponentially, day by day. Since the October 1 shutdown, conservative estimates of losses in our sector across the County reported to the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD have already exceeded $600,000 and will quickly topple $1M as this continues. These ten days of a government shutdown alone have been described as a catastrophic disaster. Moving performances and classes from GEPPAC has been an extraordinary challenge. Adventure Theatre is in the midst of its Goodnight Moon production to be followed by its annual Gala next week, and with the Park’s closure it finds itself with no venue for its performance or Gala while performers still need to be paid to stay available for the performance when the Park reopens.

Not to mention what this does to our collective reputations! As small businesses, if your clients fear your venue’s vulnerability with regard to opening and closing its doors, they are not likely to book the venue for weddings, receptions, rehearsals and other earned income opportunities, further depleting your organization’s coffers.

And while we’re discussing impact, it’s critical to keep in mind that these organizations employ accountants, security personnel, carpenters, auditors, facilities and operations managers, students, interns, moms and dads, just like any other small business.

Delays in funding from federal agencies, like the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Science Foundation, National Education Association and closures, like the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution and other agencies, have caused many in the arts and humanities to come to a screeching halt resulting in heavy damage to cultural tourism in the Greater Washington Metro Area. The loss of income for many will have a trickle-down effect that will ripple through all sectors, a ripple that promises to wreak havoc with the County’s overall economy.

Presently, we’ve heard only two good news stories. One, that libraries are booming (unless it is the Library of Congress!). This may be attributed to the fact that libraries are a great place to find things to do with your family while you are out of the office and can’t afford childcare and provides access to the internet (so that you can find a job that’s not with our irresponsible government).

The second good news story is that we are in the midst of our eighth Non-Profit Energy Alliance round, which allows nonprofits in Maryland and DC to use their collective purchasing power to not only secure competitive electricity supply at lower cost, but to protect the environment and build a greener economy by supporting clean sources of energy that are essential to protecting our environment and building a new economy. That’s good news in that, if organizations can save on fixed costs, they’ll have a few extra bucks for program costs which are sure to rise the longer this standoff continues.

Announcing the Recipients of the 2013 Executive’s Awards

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Each year, Montgomery County recognizes the artists, scholars, organizations, and community leaders that have significantly enriched the region through the arts and humanities.  We are beyond thrilled to announce this year’s winners; and to prove it, we’ll be posting some very special features here on the blog.  We are gearing up for what will be an unforgettable night of celebration on October 21st, so definitely keep an eye on this space!

Until then, please join us in congratulating the 2013 Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities award recipients:


•  Lifetime Impact Award – Busy Graham, Community Arts Advocate

•  Lifetime Achievement Award – Nilimma Devi, Sutradhar Institute of Dance and Related Arts

•  Patron Award – Thomas D. Murphy, EagleBank

•  Community Award – Patricia Woolsey, ArtStream

•  Education Award – Betty Scott, Strathmore

•  Emerging Leader Award – Heena Genti, CREATE Arts Center

•  Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award – David R. Minton, Lumina Studio Theatre

•  Volunteer Award – Maritza Rivera, Mariposa Poetry


These individuals will receive their awards from County Executive Ike Leggett at a special awards ceremony on Monday, October 21st at 7PM at Montgomery College’s Cultural Arts Center.  The event is free and open to all, and tickets are required.

Need a ticket? CLICK HERE to RSVP

Join us for a spectacular night of performance and celebration as we honor these extraordinary leaders in the arts and humanities.