Archive for the ‘Do & Go’ Category

Visiting the Farm with Woody

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

As part of the research for Fragility, curators Michele Cohen and Crystal Polis visited Woody Woodroof on his farm, Red Wiggler Community Farm (a recognized 501c3 non-profit), located in Montgomery County, Maryland. Founded by Woodroof in 1996, Red Wiggler provides gainful employment for adults with developmental disabilities and supports organic farming.

The farm has also inspired much of the camera-less photography that Woodroof has been exploring in his banner-like cyanotypes. On the day we visited, the sun was shining and we enjoyed munching on crisp yellow tomatoes as we strolled among the rows of sorghum and other plants. 

We also had an opportunity to talk to Woody about his creative process.  Click on the audio icon below for excerpts from this interview.

Kramer Gallery Interactive: Cell Phone Tours!

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Artist Nancy Weisser

Like so many museums and historic sites across the country, AHCMC has launched a new audio component to complement artwork by Montgomery County artists featured in the Kramer Gallery. If you are the type of museum visitor who wants to learn more about what you are seeing, or even better yet “meet” the artist, new technology makes it possible.  Whether you are sitting in front of your laptop or standing in the Kramer Gallery, you can dial a number or scan a QR code to explore our engaging  new installation, Fragility.

Click here or Scan the QR code below with your phone to listen to an interview with curator Michele Cohen and glass artist Nancy Weisser. This brief recording dives into some of the techniques she used fashion “Her Labor of Love” and “The End of the Day.” The installations featured in Fragility.

Similar interviews will be available for every artist in the gallery through the new OnCell phone tour service. Please checkout this exciting new way to interact with local Montgomery County artists and the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room!

Curatorial Perspectives at the Kramer Gallery

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

The Betty Mae Kramer Gallery has just opened its 12th exhibition.  Fragility, featuring glass installation artist Nancy Weisser and photographer Woody Woodroof, marks a new direction for the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery, one that explores the edgier side of contemporary art. While both Nancy and Woody work with traditional art processes, each artist uses these processes in new and original ways. The results may surprise you.

Watch the video below to learn how curator, Dr. Michele Cohen, approached Fragility and her vision for the Kramer Gallery.

Don’t miss the opening reception for Fragility on Thursday, December 13 from 5:30- 7:30. While you’re at the Gallery, try our new audio tour. Use your cell phone to call a preset number and hear an interview with Nancy and Woody.  If you can’t come to Gallery, you can still access the audio tour by clicking on the images below:

Nancy Weisser

Woody Woodroof

Bethesda Artist Receives Fellowship

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Christopher K. Morgan of Bethesda was awarded a 2013 Artist Fellowship by The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation in Vancouver, Washington.

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, a national charity dedicated to the revitalization, appreciation and perpetuation of Native arts and cultures, has awarded a total of $200,000 in awards to 12 American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artists. Through the 2013 Artist Fellowships, the foundation recognized indigenous artists in six disciplines: dance, film, literature, music, traditional and visual arts. The artists, who live in eight states, received awards of $10,000 – $20,000 each.

The recipient of one of two awards in dance, Christopher Kaui Morgan (Native Hawaiian), is thrilled to be chosen for this $20,000 unrestricted award. “The funds this generous fellowship provides will greatly impact my work over the next year. It will afford me the time to investigate, to create and to find the right collaborators for a new solo work that I have been incubating but not had the resources to fully develop yet,” says Morgan. “Additionally, having just started a professional dance company a year and a half ago, it will also help me with the personal financial investments I made in starting the company.”

“It is our mission to provide support and to nurture the creativity of this country’s Native artists,” says foundation President/CEO T. Lulani Arquette (Native Hawaiian). “We congratulate the 2013 fellows for inspiring their communities, for their vision, their innovation, and for bringing the creative spirit of Native peoples to the world.” To learn more about the 2013 Fellows and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, visit the foundation at:

Mr. Morgan also received a FY13 Grant to Individual Artists and Scholars from the AHCMC ($3,000). Grants funds will be used to commission renowned choreographer Christian Von Howard to create a solo dance for Montgomery County based choreographer & performer Christopher K. Morgan. The work would be performed independently & for Mr. Von Howard in the ‘12-’13 season.

About Christopher K. Morgan
Christopher Kaui Morgan is a choreographer and dancer whose work stems from a belief in the urgency of live performance in an increasingly isolating, commercial, and digital world. Growing up in Orange County, California, Morgan learned the Hula of his Hawaiian ancestors from his family. He brings his diverse heritage and over 15 years experience as a dancer, educator, choreographer and arts facilitator to directing his Washington DC area contemporary dance company, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists. His 2010 work +1/-1, won the 2010 Dance Metro DC award for Outstanding New Work. In April of 2011 he was profiled by Dance Magazine as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States. Morgan also directs the Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual residency for choreographers in New York and is the Artist in Residence in the Dance Program at American University.  Learn more at:

AHCMC Welcomes Joe Frandoni to Team

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

AHCMC: We’re pleased to welcome Joe Frandoni to our team as the new Digital Communications Manager. During his first week, Joe let us interview him. Hi Joe! We’re delighted to have you on our team. Tell us what you’ve been doing before joining AHCMC?

Joe Frandoni: Before joining AHCMC, I worked as a marketing and strategic planning consultant for arts and cultural organizations. I helped launch a fashion brand in Italy, revitalize an historic theater in Cincinnati, Ohio, and work on capacity building programs and strategic planning at the Kennedy Center. I have always enjoyed finding new ways for organizations to share their missions, measure their community impact, and increase their operating efficiency. Consulting was a great way for me to do that.

AHCMC: You have two masters’ degrees in Arts Management, tell us about that.

Joe Frandoni: Well, I graduated from the H. John Heinz III College of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University with a Masters of Arts Management and the Università di Bologna in Bologna Italy, with a graduate degree in Innovation & Organization of Culture & the Arts. They were both incredible experiences. The way I was able to get two degrees in a relatively short amount of time has to do with the dual-degree program that was offered through both universities. I took 75% of the total course load at both universities and wrote a dual thesis acceptable to both institutions. The university essentially removed all of the overlapping classes and my summer break. But, it allowed me to live in Bologna for an entire year – which was delicious by the way, I highly recommend it – and gain a new perspective on how the arts were viewed in other cultures. I think living, learning, and working in both environments has benefited my perspective as a manager and my creativity as an arts advocate.

AHCMC: You’ve done some interesting work with performing arts groups, what’s the project you’ve most proud of and why?

Joe Frandoni: As a native of Cincinnati, I think that working with the Requiem Project to revitalize the historic Emery Theater has been one of my favorite projects. The Emery is one of only three acoustically pure theaters in the country and before the Requiem Project became involved in its revitalization, the building was essentially condemned.  At one point, there had even been a plan to turn the century-old theater into a parking garage. Luckily, the building is now being used regularly for programming while the company prepares for a capital campaign to fully renovate the huge 1,600 seat auditorium and attached classroom space. Helping to bring new performance opportunities, interesting art, and economic growth to my home-town was incredibly rewarding. I cannot wait to see what happens with the Emery in the future.

AHCMC: What attracted you to AHCMC and working for a local arts agency?

Joe Frandoni: AHCMC is always looking for ways to enhance the cultural community of Montgomery County. Through the shared services that are offered in everything from marketing to clean energy and the grants that are given out to fund both projects and organizations, I was inspired by the level support AHCMC offers non-profits in Montgomery County. I felt like this was a place that made a measurable impact and positive difference. I wanted to work here because I wanted to be a part of that impact and help support all of the fantastic arts and cultural initiatives that are blossoming throughout Montgomery County.

AHCMC: What are you looking forward to with this job?

Joe Frandoni: Honestly, I am really looking forward to working with all of the different cultural organizations throughout the county. I want to dig in and see what I can bring to the table in order to provide the best e-services possible for all of AHCMC’s constituents. The marketing, communications, and technology based initiatives will allow me to directly interact with many of the cultural organizations in Montgomery County, and that for me is very exciting.

PhotoKids: Why It Matters

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

If you think art is fluff, then think again. There’s twenty or more years of research to prove you wrong. Specifically, there’s a robust cadre of quantitative and qualitative evidence (click here) that arts-based programs not only help children do better in school, but for kids who are at risk for gang involvement, academic failure, teen pregnancy and juvenile delinquency, they can be a life-line.

Why? Because it’s not all snapping photos, bright colors, rapping and dancing. It’s hard work. Participation in the arts teaches children initiative and self-discipline–important skills every parents hopes their child can learn. Even more, group arts activities teach kids collaboration, cooperation and conflict-resolution skills.

So programs like PhotoKids, AHCMC’s summer hands-on science and photography program for at-risk youth, are very meaningful. They offer kids in economically-stressed circumstances a chance to participate in fun activities with caring mentors during unsupervised hours when they could easily be veggin’ in front of the television or engaging in a little B & E or worse.

This summer’s program took ten middle school students on a variety of field trips from the wilds of Great Falls to the exotic beauty of Brookside Gardens to the luscious hills of Butler’s Orchard. Along the way the kids learned about photography, science, and nature. They built strong friendships with new people. They amazed themselves, their families and the other people living in their apartment complexes with the sheer beauty of the photographs they took. Above all they gained great self-confidence and sense of self-worth, two important traits that can help kids say no to risky activities and make healthy choices for the future.

Enjoy the photographs below and go see the exhibit of PhotoKids at the Lobby Art Gallery, Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street, Rockville) between now and Friday, December 14, 2012. If you’d like to make a donation to PhotoKids, click here and select Programs for At-Risk Children. 97¢ of every $1 you give to AHCMC goes directly to PhotoKids.

Images from Brookside Gardens

Lot of Love for Arts & Humanities

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

MCM reporter Sonya Burke starts off her two-minute segment on the Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities with these words: “There’s a lot of love in Montgomery County for the arts and humanities.”

Sonya, how right you are and on October 22, 500 people came out to celebrate that love. It was a magical night held at one of the County’s news performing arts spaces-the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College (Takoma Park/Silver Spring).  If you didn’t make it to the Awards ceremony, then click on the video below and enjoy show!

More Video Options

Jud Ashman Receives Community Award (Video)
Gaithersburg City Council member Jud Ashman was honored with the “Community Award” at the County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities on Oct. 22. Ashman was recognized for founding the Gaithersburg Book Festival. You can watch him receive the award here.

“Absolutely Spectacular Night” (Video)
MyMCMedia’s Sonya Burke interviews Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council, after the County Executive’s Awards Ceremony. Take a look.

Are You Ready For a Disaster?

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

As Hurricane Sandy powers toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, lines at grocery stores and gas stations are snaking around corners and down the block. Are you ready for a natural or man-made disaster? Many of us in the Washington region remember the threat of dirty bombs following 9-11 and the recommendations to put in a place a family emergency plan including extra supplies, mutually agreed upon meeting places and a family plan for evacuation.

But what if you are an arts or humanities organization or an individual artist or scholar? What can you do to be prepared? has a list of 12 Readiness Must Haves which you can find below. You may also want to check out Montgomery County’s suggestions by clicking here. If the storm hits Montgomery County, the AHCMC offices maybe closed. To contact us email:
1. Your Phone Tree – Document a way to contact your immediate stakeholders (staff/board/artists/webmaster) post crisis. Include their cell phones and personal email addresses as alternative ways to contact them; diagram the order of contact to minimize duplication of efforts.
2. Your In‐Case‐of‐Emergency Contact List – Have your people tell you two emergency contacts, one who might be nearby to answer immediate questions (health, allergies, etc.) and one who lives further away and might serve as a safe harbor in the case of a community‐wide evacuation.
3. Your Crisis Communications Plan – Identify who is authorized to speak to the media and the general public about your organization post‐crisis, how they will communicate/message your situation, and also set a goal for the time frame in which your organization would release a statement.
4. Your Important Account Numbers – Know contact information and account/policy numbers for your bank, insurance company, utilities/telecommunications providers, security/alarm companies and building maintenance.
5. Your Up‐To‐Date Insurance – Make sure you update your policy(ies) annually so you have enough, and the right type, of coverage. Talk to your agent or visit to determine what types of liability, property, event and other insurance you should have in place.
6. Your Old‐fashioned Credit Card Slide and Carbon Paper– Process payments even when the power goes out, the phone line gets disconnected, or the website goes down.
7. Your 360° view – Video/photograph the state of your facilities, equipment and collections before an emergency, and keep a camera onsite so you can present post‐crisis images/footage before anyone else does ‐ good for “before/after” contrast to provide your insurance company, and for including in future appeals for donations with your constituents.
8. Your Documented Refund Policy ‐ Train your people to manage cancellations and less‐than‐optimal event conditions. Make sure this policy is shared with your visitors in printed materials and electronic communications or on your website.
9. Your Standard Contingency Clause ‐ Include this clause in all contracts or see how you can negotiate to make the language in an existing contract match your standard contingency clause more closely to prevent misunderstandings post‐crisis.
10. Your Alternative Facilities/Equipment List ‐ Pre‐determine one or more locations that could serve as alternative facilities for your business and/or what alternative resources you could use. Could your people work remotely? Would your event work in a different space or given different equipment?
11. Your Alternative Staff Structure document – Delegate key responsibilities and train alternate people in the event that one of your key people become incapacitated (e.g. payroll processing, authorized signatories on official documents and checks etc.)
12. Your Commitment – Readiness planning requires training and ongoing updates to your information. Additionally, it requires electronic (backed‐up) copies and hard copies. Cover your bases. Be ArtsReady.


• USE PHONES ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES. Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
• Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains or overturned gas tanks.
• For downed trees on public property, call 311 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays (or 240-777-0311 from outside the County or from a cell phone) or go to at any time to report the problem.
• For non-emergency police assistance, call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

Important Utility Numbers:
• Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
• Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
• Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
• Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
• WSSC: 1-800-828-4002
For more information about emergency preparedness, go to the County website,, check the County’s Facebook page, or sign up to receive County tweets from Twitter,!/MontgomeryCoMD.

Public Art Survey Team Finds Artwork

Friday, October 5th, 2012

As part of the AHCMC survey of public art, not only have we located missing artworks, we have rediscovered works in plain sight.  In 1987, Potomac Library acquired a free-standing sculpture by Raya Bodnarchuk for the library’s entry as part of the County’s Art in Architecture program. This sculpture, which is untitled, is made of carved and pigmented wood, and depicts an early Potomac woman, a dog, and a stack of books.

Over the years, the sculpture became a powerful folkloric emblem for the library and a bit of challenge for the under-age set. Situated at the front of the library, the sculpture attracted young climbers ready to scale their own Mount Everest. Eventually librarians relocated the sculpture to a quieter spot near the stacks.

At the time Bodnarchuk received this commission, she was an artist in residence at Glen Echo Park and an instructor at the Corcoran School of Art, where she continues to teach. The County actually owns another sculptural work by Bodnarchuk–Animals of Forest Glen–at a pedestrian bridge along Georgia Avenue which can be found in the Public Art Directory.  Four prints are included in the County’s Works on Paper collection.

Some of Bodnarchuk’s works on paper will be featured in the upcoming exhibition, Bookmarks, scheduled to open at the Kramer Gallery on Oct. 8th with a reception open to the public on Oct. 11th.

Congratulations to the 2012 Executive’s Awards recipients!

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2012 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities:

  • Lifetime Impact Award – Eliot Pfanstiehl
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Carol Leahy
  • Patron Award – Robert Dohmen
  • Community Award – Honorable Jud Ashman, Gaithersburg Book Festival
  • Education Award – Claire Schwadron, Project Youth ArtReach of Class Acts Arts, Inc.
  • Emerging Leader Award – Jennifer Buzzell, Strathmore
  • Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award – Allan Stevens, the Puppet Co.
  • Volunteer Award – Alan Bowser, Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.

These individuals will receive their awards at a special ceremony on Monday, October 22 at the Cultural Arts Center, Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Recipients of FY12 and FY13 grant awards from AHCMC will also be recognized. The event is free and open to all, and tickets are required. Tickets will be made available to the public on Monday, October 1 at

Congratulations again to this year’s award recipients, and we hope to see you at the ceremony on October 22!