Archive for the ‘Do & Go’ Category

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,

Montgomery County’s Political Candidates Vow to Continue Legacy of Local Support for the Creative Economy, Cultural Sectors, and Arts Education

Thursday, June 7th, 2018


June 7, 2018


Ceylon Mitchell


SILVER SPRING, Md. (June 7, 2018) — The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) announces the results of its 2018 Political Candidate Survey. AHCMC invited each candidate in the County Executive and County Council races to participate in the survey and share their platforms for the arts and humanities in the county with voters. The 39 participating candidates’ responses are available online at The survey includes responses from five of the seven candidates running for County Executive and thirty-four candidates from the six County Council races.

Unanimously, all candidates surveyed agree that, “appropriating local tax-dollars to advance Montgomery County’s cultural and creative industries is important in supporting the success of a strong local economy,” and outlined their ideas to stimulate the local economy through public-private partnerships between the arts and cultural sectors and the local business and philanthropic communities. Candidates additionally shared views on arts education in Montgomery County Public Schools, public art and creative placemaking in the county, and workforce development.

AHCMC believes these results will be informative and impactful as residents head to vote in the June 26 primary election. “The results of this year’s election survey demonstrates the overwhelming support and understanding that our future political leaders have for our vibrant local arts and humanities sectors,” said Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. “Whether they serve as ushers, volunteer at festivals, perform as artists, or simply attend local events, all participating candidates realize the joy, inspiration, innovation and quality of life that the arts and humanities provide to residents and businesses in our county.”

Supporting the views of many candidates, recent data provided by the Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 study from Americans for the Arts show that Montgomery County’s arts and humanities sector contributes $183 million to the local economy, supports 3,805 full-time local jobs and serves 3.5 million cultural event attendees annually. Of the candidates who participated in the survey, 97% strongly agreed that public funding of the arts and humanities is important for sustaining the nonprofit cultural and creative sector in Montgomery County, and nearly 90% of candidates support the incorporation of the arts and humanities into STEM programs, expanding from a STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) philosophy.

Early voting begins on June 14 and runs until June 21. Registered voters can vote early at any of the 11 early voting centers the county is running this year.


About the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)
Established in 1976, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is the county’s designated local arts agency. Our vision is to provide leadership that sustains arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars, and inspires participation in Montgomery County’s rich cultural assets. For more information about AHCMC, visit or connect with AHCMC on Facebook and Twitter.


June 7, 2018


Ceylon Mitchell


Montgomery County’s Political Candidates Vow to Continue Legacy of Local Support for the Creative Economy, Cultural Sectors, and Arts Education

SILVER SPRING, Md. (June 7, 2018) — The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County

(AHCMC) announces the results of its 2018 Political Candidate Survey. AHCMC invited each candidate in the County Executive and County Council races to participate in the survey and share their platforms for the arts and humanities in the county with voters. The 39 participating candidates’ responses are available online at The survey includes responses from five of the seven candidates running for County Executive and thirty-four candidates from the six County Council races.

Montgomery County Council Approves $5.3 Million Budget for the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Montgomery County Council approved the budget of $5,356,943 for the arts and humanities. The resolution for FY19 is as follows:

  • Operating Support Grants: $3,374,941 (flat over FY18)
  • Small/Mid-Size Organizations, Creative Projects, Arts Education, and Individual Artist/Scholar Grants: $854,574 (flat over FY18)
  • Advancement Grants: $295,094 (flat over FY18)
  • AHCMC Administration: $540,519 (flat over FY18)
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund:  $200,000 (flat over FY18)
  • Grants to Support Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District: $91,815 (flat over FY18)
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.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu tours Montgomery County

Monday, November 21st, 2016

On November 5, 2016, Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) visited Montgomery County to tour its rich arts and culture sector. Hosted by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Chairman had the opportunity to tour many sites at Glen Echo Park Partnership whose mission is “to present vibrant artistic, cultural, and educational offerings” and promote the region’s diverse population.

Stops on her tour included the Art Glass Center, Adventure Theatre MTC, Photoworks, Yellow Barn Studio, and a showing of Hansel and Gretel at the Puppet Co. Chairman Chu was accompanied by Arts and Humanities of Montgomery County CEO Suzan Jenkins, Arts and Humanities of Montgomery County Board Chair Eric Siegel, Glen Echo Park Partnership Executive Director Katey Boerner, and Glen Echo Park Partnership Board President Rachelle Cherol.

See select moments from Chairman Chu’s artful experience in Montgomery County below:

Chairman Chu engaged with artists, students and community members and experienced a great showcasing of the work and talent from individuals and organizations that make Montgomery County the cultural destination it is today. We were honored and elated to have her visit the county.

Public Art in Montgomery County: What’s Next?

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015

Todd Bressi, Public Art and Place/Urban Planning expert  is working with the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County to develop the “Public Art Road Map”.  Read below for his thoughts on how this tool will help integrate public art into future development and urban planning strategies:

Chances are, you’ve seen one of the hundreds of public artworks in Montgomery County during your daily travels — perhaps at a school, a library or a park; perhaps in an urban space in Bethesda, Rockville or Silver Spring. Chances are there is a public artwork somewhere that has become a treasured part of your day because it brings a smile to your face, triggers a memory or simply lets you know where you are.

Montgomery County residents can enjoy hundreds of sculptures, murals, glassworks and other public art — commissioned over the years by the County, the cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville, and private developers — that are now woven into the fabric of the community.

Now, for the first time, the County is developing a “roadmap” for what kinds of artworks should be commissioned next, and it is asking for input from people who live or work in the County. As the County continues to grow in population, cultural diversity and economic vitality, public are will be an increasingly important part of the mix.

The Roadmap, a project of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and the Public Art Trust, is asking an essential question: What new public art projects would be of the most benefit to people in Montgomery County today?

Looking around the world, there are exciting new models for public art that have emerged in recent years. Some examples of these can already be seen in Montgomery County, and the Roadmap will consider whether there are opportunities for creating more:

  • Placemaking projects, such as the Silver Creek fountain in Silver Spring, Darnestown Heritage Park or the Public Safety Memorial at the police headquarters building, create environments for social gathering, celebration, reflection and other activities.
  • Artist-designed pedestrian, bicycle and transit facilities, such as pedestrian bridges, bike racks and transit shelters, enhance ordinary infrastructure.
  • Social projects focus on community issues and identity. Just recently, AHCMC organized an Outdoor Living Room with artist Matthew Mazzotta to stimulate thinking about creative placemaking in the Wheaton Arts and Culture District
  • Environmental artists are developing projects that connect people with stormwater, weather, flora and fauna in new and engaging ways.
  • Temporary artworks are activating urban spaces for short periods of time.

The Roadmap will also examine areas of the County that could benefit most from new public art projects.

  • Are there areas where there are fewer public art projects, relative to population? Wheaton, East County and “second-ring” residential neighborhoods just outside the Beltway might deserve a closer look.
  • Can public art ideas and projects be seeded during comprehensive land-use planning process, and implemented as capital projects and private development occur?
  • Are there collaborations that can help support the mission and priorities of other County agencies and cultural initiatives, such M-NCPPC’s focus on small urban parks, or the County’s three Arts and Entertainment Districts?

We hope you will lend your voice to the conversation. How can public art impact the future of Montgomery County? What types of projects would be most beneficial? Take the Montgomery County Public Art Survey to give us your direct feedback.

Raising $15K for Arts & Humanities

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Maybe you’ve heard this one: “Say it’s only a micro-gift, a tax-deductible micro-gift…”

Yep, that zippy little jingle for performed by Vaudeville’s Late Bloomers, Diz & Izzy Aster, is just the tip of a sizeable iceberg floating in the Arctic Sea of fundraising. It’s the microdonation. The $5 or $25 gift that can’t even keep a nonprofit in hand soap for a year. How important can that be?

Well, as a matter of a fact, QUITE important!

Factoid: In 2012, micro donations outpaced their macro counterparts. According to PayPal data, the average donation size globally decreased by $0.71 last year, while the number of global donations to nonprofits increased by 20 percent!

So what do Diz & Izzy have to do with it?

Those late bloomers are singing about the thousands of dollars is raising for cool projects right here in Montgomery County. Projects like: a new floor for the Dance Exchange, the After School Dance Fund’s “Dress to Impress” program, and Symphony of the Potomac’s music programs for schools. Programs that are going to impact the quality of life for people living in Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Rockville, Glen Echo and all over the county.

The Asters, created by Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandel of Happenstance Theater, put on quite a show at the launch for on June 12 at Round House Theater.  Special guests included Montgomery County’s most passionate cultural supporters, Ike and Catherine Leggett, and representatives of power2give sponsors: Monument Bank, Ballard Spahr and Bethesda Magazine.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

“We thank the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County for all the contributions that enrich our community,” said  Senior Vice President, Patrick Van Der Ham of Monument Bank, “and are pleased to offer our support.”  Monument Bank is a lead sponsor for power2give and their gift has been matched to 13 of the 21 projects on the website.

So, nine days out where are we?  Just a smidgen under $15,000. Pretty impressive for a bunch of little microdonations, huh? The average gift in Montgomery County is $52. As Catherine Leggett said in her remarks at the opening, “You don’t have to be a millionaire to be a patron of the arts and humanities. That’s what makes so special.”
In fact, you can donate amounts as small as $5 to power2give. As Ryan Rilette said, “every little bit helps.”  For funders who want to make a bigger philanthropic statement, you can become a matching sponsor at varying levels from $1,000 to $10,000.  For matching sponsors gifts under $1,000 make your donation to the Collective Impact Fund for the Arts & Humanities. That’s what the Eric and Sue-Ann Siegel Family Foundation did and through the Impact Fund they’ve helped Create Arts Center and Friends of Library move closer their goals.

So, let’s recap: microdonations, matching sponsors, big impact, Montgomery County. That sounds like a hit!

AHCMC Launches With Special Guests County Executive and Mrs. Leggett

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

County Executive Isiah and Mrs. Leggett where the special guests of the Arts and Humanities Council ofPhoto Credit Montgomery at the official launch of (one of the hottest new charitable giving sites for arts and culture in the country) in Montgomery County, June 12, 2013, at Round House Theatre in Bethesda. Since its inception in 2011, has raised over $3.076M in support for the creative community, and received over 13,245 total donations.

Jump-starting the momentum in Montgomery County, the Leggetts gave $200 to Round House Theatre’s “Act Now” project, sponsoring scholarships for children and youth from around the county to attend RHT summer camp.  It was an incredible moment.

AHCMC’s power2give corporate matching sponsors were also there in full force showing their support. Patrick Van Der Ham, Senior Vice President of Monument Bank, Steve Hull, Publisher of Bethesda Magazine, and Erica Leatham, an attorney for Ballard Spahr and the chair of the AHCMC board all donated matching funds to that provide an additional 50 cents towards each creative project for every dollar raised on Their generous support made the Leggett’s first $200 gift instantly transform into $300 for Round House Theatre, demonstrating the full power in

Photo Credit“People often feel that if they can’t make a really big donation, they shouldn’t donate at all,” said Ryan Rilette, Producing Artistic Director at Round House Theatre. Power2give capitalizes on the surge in mircrodonations that has swept the philanthropic community.  power2give let’s donors know “that any little bit you can give will actually make a very clear difference in people’s lives,” Rilette commented. makes it possible for anyone to be a philanthropist and everyone to make a difference.

Since went live in Montgomery County, it has raised over $10,000 in support for creative projects in the nonprofit arts and humanities community. “This is bigger than we imagined,” said an enthusiastic Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the AHCMC. Jenkins was the inspiration behind introducing power2give to Montgomery County. “I’m an early adopter of technology and when I saw a demonstration of at a conference two years ago, it was love at first sight. We were excited to receive a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts to bring to Montgomery County. We’re the first jurisdiction in the Washington region to participate in the power2give network.”

Only one day after the launch, is making a huge impact in our community.

Photos courtesy of BethesdaNow.

Budget Buster! FY14 Arts and Humanities Budget Approved

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

On May 23, Montgomery County Council approved a $4.8 Billion total operating budget for FY 2014.  The overall County budget, which reflects a 4.1 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2013, “…Continues an investment in our economic and social infrastructure,” said Council President Nancy Navarro. Navarro also noted that, “…Budgets are a reflection of our values.”

Well, my friends, if that is the case, then I’m happy I live in Montgomery County, a place that values the arts and humanities, because the County Council approved a FY14 $4,921,700 budget for arts and humanities,  a 40.55% increase over the FY13 budget for the arts and humanities!

Here’s how it breaks down:

$3,921,700 for the Arts and Humanities Council specifically:

  • $2,511,563 for Operating Support Grants for Large Organizations
  • $491,807 for Small and Midsize Organization Grants and Grants to Individual Artists
  • $240,000 for Advancement Grants
  • $200,000 for the Arts and Humanities Matching Fund
  • $129,000 for the Public Arts Trust
  • $349,330 for AHCMC Administration

Additionally, we are thrilled that the County Council appropriated $1 million a year for five years for facility construction or improvement grants for new construction, expansion of a project, renovation of an existing structure or physical plant repairs critical to an organization’s arts or humanities mission.  We know this grant category will go a long way to help us attend to those repairs and renovations that had to be put off for far too long over the last four years of the economic downturn.

To read more about the approved budget click here. The budget will take effect July 1, 2013.

On behalf of the Board and staff of AHCMC, Thanks! to each and every one of you for the work you did to help pass this budget. Thank you for contacting your constituents, board members and council members to ask for their support. And Thanks! for attending the Potluck, the April 10 Hearing, and the follow-up working sessions. I’m proud of our collective work this year and I hope you are too. We look forward to working with you in the coming year and wish you a productive and prosperous FY14!


Good News for FY14 Budget

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

It takes a village… to advocate for increased public funding for cultural activities and I’m pleased to say that Montgomery County has an active village of arts and humanities advocates. This year, Montgomery County Arts Advocates (MCAA)  has been especially helpful in highlighting the needs and strengths of the County’s arts and humanities community. In collaboration with MCAA, the County Executive’s office, County Council and AHCMC’s board and staff have crafted a strong FY14 budget for the Arts and Humanities NDA.

So, let me be the first to congratulate Montgomery County’s arts and humanities advocates for their tireless devotion, for sending emails, attending meetings, bring yet another tasty meal to the County Council Potluck in early April, and most of all for demonstrating culture’s vital role to Council members. Congratulations on a job well done!

Our collaboration bore fruit on Monday April 29, when the the Health & Human Services (HHS) Committee of the County Council met. At this meeting the HHS Committee demonstrated its on-going commitment to keeping arts and humanities alive and vibrant in Montgomery County by recommending increased funding for FY14.

Chaired by Councilmember George Leventhal, the HHS Committee also includes Council President Nancy Navarro and Councilman Craig Rice, recommended:

• An $120,000 increase to Arts and Humanities NDA allocated as follows:
$2,511,163 Large Organization Grants
$240,000 Advancement Grants
$391,807 Small, Midsize Organization Grants
$349,330 Arts and Humanities Council
Total FY14 Arts and Humanities NDA – $3,492,700

• To support the County Executive’s recommendation of $1 million per year for five years for the Cost Sharing CIP to assist arts and humanities organizations with facility construction or improvements, new construction, expansion of a project, renovation of an existing structure or physical plant repairs critical to an organization’s arts or humanities mission

• That $200,000, recommended in the Department of Economic Development budget, be managed and distributed by AHCMC to match Executive Ball proceeds. Additionally, if funds remain in this pool after Ball proceeds have been matched, AHCMC can go back to the HHS Committee to discuss using other tools, like power2give, to exhaust the $200,000 pool of matching funds

• That two pools of funds in increments of $100,000 be put on the Council’s Reconciliation List and appropriated to the Arts and Humanities NDA should funds be available at the end of the budget session

• That $129,000 in funding for the Public Arts Trust for maintenance and conservation of the County’s public art collection remain as recommended in the FY13 CIP

I’m pleased to share this news with you and welcome your comments and thoughts as always. You can contact me at

Seeing Food an Exhibition

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Seeing Food featuring the work of 15 Montgomery County artists recently opened at the Kramer Gallery.  Over 100 people attended the reception, including a surprise visit by County Executive Ike Leggett. This exhibition of 40 works reminds visitors of Montgomery County’s agricultural roots and explores the ways in which artists have both viewed and manipulated food in paint, fiber, photographs, glass, video, and poetry.   For a “taste,” watch this slide show and leave us your comments below!

Seeing Food is on view through in the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery through May 24th.