Archive for the ‘News and Events’ Category

AHCMC Welcomes Sierra Smith

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Classical Saxophonist Sierra Smith kick starts her career as an arts administrator by joining our staff as the new Programming and Operations Coordinator. We sat down with her to chat about her background in the arts, her role at the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and more!

AHCMC: So, tell us about yourself.

Sierra: I am a native Washingtonian and thrilled to work with the AHCMC. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Morgan State University as well as a certificate in Management of Successful Arts & Cultural Organization from the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. I’ve dabbled in many fields but am glad to start my career as an arts administrator.

AHCMC: What led you to the arts field?

Sierra: When I finished undergrad, I was prepared to teach music or perform it and I realized that I didn’t want to do either of those things. I enjoy doing the work that goes into programming whether it be a holiday concert or art exhibit and I wanted to be in a position that would allow me to support and promote the great work happening in the community.

AHCMC: What interested you to come work for the AHCMC?

Sierra: I wanted to start my career as an arts administrator somewhere that I could see myself being for years to come and fortunately I didn’t have to look far. I was also attracted to the opportunity to work with AHCMC’s CEO, Suzan Jenkins. Suzan (in my world) is the equivalent of a Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos but for the arts and for her to not only be a woman, but a woman of color, made the AHCMC my top choice. In addition, as a musician and patron of the arts I wanted to make sure that the programming happening throughout the county mirrors the county’s rich, cultural diversity.

AHCMC: Tell us a fun fact!

Sierra: I’m a collector! I have an expansive shoe collection, watch collection and t-shirt collection. I’m also REALLY into astrology.

AHCMC: What are you most looking forward to as the Programming & Operations Coordinator?

Sierra: I am looking forward to becoming more coherent with the arts in Montgomery County. I am also looking forward to sharing and learning about all the cultural events the county has to offer.

AHCMC Welcomes Brittney Dubose

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Hailing all the way from the great state of Texas Brittney Dubose, a marketing professional with a love for the performing arts, joined our staff as the Marketing and Communications Manager. We sat down with her to learn about her upbringing in the arts, her interest in working for AHCMC, and more.

AHCMC: So, tell us about yourself.

Brittney: I was born in Washington D.C. but raised in Dallas, and I am thrilled to be back in the DMV! I have a Master of Public Administration, with a focus in Nonprofit Management, from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Science in Film, Television, and Digital Media from Texas Christian University. Prior to joining AHCMC, I served as the Special Projects Coordinator with the City of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA). In this role, I worked to rebuild and expand OCA’s brand, create sustainable digital marketing strategies, and increase the visibility of the Dallas arts community. Independently of OCA, I freelance as a digital marketing contractor with artists and arts organizations – producing engaging video content, designing marketing collateral and developing social media marketing campaigns.

AHCMC: What led you to the arts field?

Brittney: I have been involved in the arts my entire life. I began dancing at the age of four and acting around the age of eight. Growing up, my parents owned a fine arts studio and so my childhood was filled with classes, rehearsals, and performances. I loved every bit of it! I believe I was fortunate to have been exposed to many different art forms, cultures, ideas, values, etc. from a young age. After college, I began my career in arts administration as a teaching artist and a programs specialist. I quickly realized how much I enjoyed seeing how the arts positively impacted the lives of my students, and I wanted the opportunity to share these stories with anyone and everyone. Thus, my career focus shifted from programmatic to communications.

AHCMC: Do you still perform?

Brittney: Yes, but more acting than dancing. I am very passionate about storytelling and am excited about what opportunities may come my way in the DMV.

AHCMC: What interested you to come work for AHCMC?

Brittney: Providing artists with resources that support and empower them to achieve their vision is very important to me as a marketer and an artist. AHCMC provides these kinds of innovative services, and this is my opportunity to work with an organization dedicated to implementing creative strategies that ensure the arts remain a vital part of their community.

AHCMC: What are you most looking forward to as the Marketing & Communications Manager?

Brittney: Two things: one, I’m looking forward to cultivating relationships with artists and organizations in Montgomery County. Two, advancing the mission of AHCMC by highlighting and sharing the amazing work of our arts and humanities sector.

AHCMC Welcomes Ana-Alicia Feng

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Meet our new Grants Program Coordinator Ana-Alicia Feng, a marketing and fine arts professional from Montgomery County. We sat down with her to learn about her interests in the arts, what she is most looking forward to doing in her role, and more!

AHCMC: So tell us about yourself. 

Ana-Alicia: I am a local! Born and raised in Rockville, I received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in painting, a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, and a minor in art history from the University of Maryland, College Park. I was raised in a multiethnic household among dedicated patrons of the arts. I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to many languages and cultures, and have been participating in activities of Montgomery County’s various arts and humanities organizations for as long as I can remember. Having recently developed a passion for evaluation, I am thrilled to interact with the field of my home community in a professional setting and see how I can contribute to AHCMC’s grants process.

AHCMC: What led you to the arts field?

Ana-Alicia: I have had a passion for creating art since a very young age; I took private lessons in fine arts, piano, and chorale music, making these a priority in my education and afterschool activities. Coming into university with the intention of becoming a freelance artist, I found myself pulled towards the administrative side of art. I enjoy organizing and improving the administrative tasks so that programs and services may flow effortlessly in order to increase public interaction with the arts and humanities. Having added a marketing degree, I am able to assist the art that I so cherish flourish by working behind the scenes and beyond the tip of my paintbrush. Of course, I will never let go of the initial compulsion to create art that drove me to this field to begin with and continue my artistic practices whenever I can!

AHCMC: Tell us a fun fact!

Ana-Alicia: I help teach kids Chinese yo-yo, also known as diabolo! I learned it as an extracurricular activity at my Chinese school and now go back as a volunteer to teach.

AHCMC: What interested you to come work for AHCMC?

Ana-Alicia: I have had several wonderful internships at institutions such as the National Gallery of Art and The Phillips Collection, however drawing from those experiences, I am delighted to now serve the local community that I grew up in. AHCMC lives by their mission to cultivate and support excellence in the arts and humanities, expand access to cultural expression, and contribute to economic vitality in the region. I am honored to be a part of such an organization. At the time of my hire, AHCMC was looking to undergo a change and I wanted to participate in that transition to keep the organization moving forward with its mission.

AHCMC: What are you most looking forward to as the Grants Program Coordinator?

Ana-Alicia: I am looking forward to interacting with our creative community, updating FluidReview, and working with the grants team to streamline processes, both for the benefit of the field and AHCMC. I mentioned that I’m newly interested in evaluation, so I’m eager to listen to responses and incorporate feedback as best I can.

AHCMC Welcomes Karen Judson

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019

Karen Judson, an experienced grants manager from the Washington region, recently joined our staff as the new Grants Program Manager. We sat down with her to chat about her first few weeks at the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, her interest in working in the arts, and more.

AHCMC: So tell us about yourself.

Karen: I’m an almost lifelong County resident. I like living in Montgomery County – in many ways the County is unique in all it has to offer its residents. In my personal life I enjoy travel, reading, theatre, and spending time with family and friends – I’m married with three grown sons. My background is in social work but my most recent work experience has been in grants management and program development.

AHCMC: What have your first few weeks at AHCMC been like?

Karen: Interesting – there is a lot to absorb! I’ve been spending time getting acquainted with the many different funding opportunities that AHCMC offers and the grants process overall. I’ve also begun sitting in on meetings with applicants so I’ve started to get to know a few of the people and organizations we work with.

AHCMC: What led you to AHCMC?

Karen: The Grants Program Manager position at AHCMC represented two special opportunities – to continue to positively impact the community through grant making and specifically to help advocate for the arts and humanities. Now that I’m at AHCMC I’m learning more about the many individual artists and arts organizations that make up the county’s diverse arts scene, and how AHCMC constantly assesses and re-assesses how best to support the work that they do and the vital contribution they make to life in Montgomery County. What I’ve always enjoyed most about grant making is working with effective nonprofits to help them put forward the strongest most compelling proposal for funding they can. I’m very excited to be here!

Uplifting the Arts and Humanities

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Over this past year at AHCMC, we have worked to build on the county’s legacy of uplifting the arts and humanities with continued efforts toward increasing equity, inclusion, and access through our grantmaking, advocacy, and professional development and capacity-building programs. As stewards of arts and humanities funding, AHCMC is incredibly thankful to have such amazing supporters, advocates and partners like you across the County. We are also grateful for the passion and commitment made visible by the Montgomery County Council to our cultural ecosystem. It’s in that spirit that we are excited to continue our efforts in service of our creative community with our newly elected County Executive, Marc Elrich, and both the returning and newly elected County Council Members!

As 2018 draws to a close, we remain firmly committed to the sustainability and vitality of the more than 500 cultural organizations and over 2,000 artists and scholars working throughout the arts and humanities in Montgomery County; however, ensuring that our cultural ecosystem remains vibrant and strong is a team sport. It will take an investment from each of us supporting and working together to achieve continued success.

We hope we can count on your continued support. If the arts and humanities have made a difference for you or a loved one, please consider making a fully tax-deductible donation in support of our 2018 Annual Fund Campaign. Giving is fast and easy! Simply click here to give today. Remember, every donation, no matter how small, makes an impact; locally, your donations help us to deliver the programs and services that expand access to arts and culture for children and families throughout our County.

Again, thank you for your sustained generosity. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday and a joyous new year!

Suzan Jenkins,

Celebrating the Arts and Humanities

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

October is National Arts and Humanities Month (NAHM). It’s the time of the year when we encourage our national community to celebrate, promote and participate in the arts and humanities. It’s also a great time to reflect on the many contributions made to our local communities through the arts and humanities. We have seen huge economic, educational and creative gains as a result of the activity and vitality of the arts and humanities in our everyday lives, locally and nationally. At the Arts and Humanities Council, we work tirelessly to ensure that Montgomery County’s arts and humanities sector is vibrant, diverse and representative of the County’s rich cultural assets.

The recent Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts reports from Americans for the Arts are a reminder of the presence, the power and the vital contributions of the arts and humanities to our local and global economies. Findings from the reports show that there are more than 3,000 arts-related businesses in Montgomery County that employ more than 11,000 people.

Collectively, 5 percent of the total number of businesses in Montgomery County are arts-related, which is more than the national percentage of 4.6 and more than MD state’s percentage of 4.1. Our commitment to our County’s creative industries is a strong testament to our appreciation and our value of the richly rewarding and diverse human experiences and opportunities that they offer.

This commitment is especially salient as we draw closer to honoring the many contributions of our County’s arts and humanities organizations and contributors during the 2018 County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. Now in its 17th year, these Executive’s Awards allow us to pay tribute and celebrate some of the individuals and organizations who are making a difference in Montgomery County through the arts and humanities. This year’s ceremony will take place at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center on October 29, 2018. You can reserve free tickets for this year’s awards here!

I hope you’ll join me and communities everywhere in showcasing and highlighting the work of artists and scholars this month and every month. I’m proud of our creative industries and the work they do in helping to build a stable, profitable, and artistic economy for our local community, and I am excited to celebrate them all year long.


Suzan Jenkins,

Arts Education Provides Children with Knowledge and Creativity in and out of the Classroom

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

The 2018/2019 school year is right around the corner, and that means it is time to start thinking about science projects, math equations, history reports, and after-school sports. But let us not forget about the arts—from marching band, school plays, ceramics, and watercolor paintings—the arts are important. Whether you are a parent, teacher or student, this year I encourage you to consider the importance of arts education; it’s the STEAM behind creative thinking!

Arts education covers a wide-range of disciplines and has multiple definitions. I like Americans for the Arts (AFTA) broad definition of arts education. Americans for the Arts (2013) defines arts education as “instruction and programming in all arts disciplines, including but not limited to dance, music, visual arts, theater, creative writing, media arts, and arts history, criticism, and aesthetics (p. 6).”

I believe that arts education is important because it includes both instruction and programming—in and out of the classroom—and comprises all arts disciplines. Inside the classroom arts education can range from STEAM—science, technology, engineering, arts, and math—curriculum to arts-integration programs. Such programs can include arts integration residencies, where teaching artists use performing and visual arts to explore and teach academic subjects. You can learn more about arts integration here.

Outside of the classroom, arts education can include after-school art classes, weekend dance classes, music lessons, and summer theater camps. The Bilingual Guide to Children’s Art Activities is a wonderful resource to various art, dance and music classes as well as summer camp programs for children of all ages and backgrounds. Click here to read this year’s Guide to Children’s Art Activities.

Whether inside or outside of the classroom, arts education provides students with the opportunity to learn everything from basic art skills and creativity to reasoning and problem-solving skills. The impact of arts education is far-reaching and that is why it is so important. Arts education can happen during the school year or summer break. It can include science, math, history and even physical activity—it’s all-encompassing! If you want to learn more about arts education and why it is so important, I encourage you to visit AFTA’s page on arts education. In the meantime, between science projects and math equations register your student for a dance class, theatre workshop, or voice lesson. I promise, it will enrich their life!


Suzan Jenkins,


AHCMC FY18 Grantees Receive “Best Local Nonprofits” Honors

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

Congratulations to several AHCMC FY18 Grantees who have been selected by the Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington for its Class of 2018-19 Catalogue Charities.

Each of these nonprofits has been chosen, from 200+ applications, as “one of the best” local nonprofits in the region. The charities listed below have successfully passed a rigorous review process conducted by a team of 120+ experts in the local philanthropic field.

See all regional winners

Enjoy June with Free Summer Concerts, AFI Docs, Pride Month, and Heritage Days

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Summer’s here and the time is right for free summer concerts! Want to be in the know?  Check out our Free Summer Concert Guide 2018 from You’ll see our favorite picks from Gaithersburg to Wheaton and all over Montgomery County. Whether you are young or old, lively or low-key, now is the perfect time to reacquaint yourself with our creative voices and cultural happenings. The month of June also affords us the opportunity to celebrate advances made in civil rights, racial equity, and inclusion as we recognize LGBTQ Pride Month, Caribbean American Heritage Month, Juneteenth, and the 21st Annual Heritage Days. So get out and go play in Montgomery County!

As our richly diverse community prepares to exercise its most cherished civic duty in the 2018 elections, you can make informed choices about your vote as you peruse the results from our 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 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.

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 shared views on arts education in Montgomery County Public Schools, public art and creative placemaking in the county, and workforce development. 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.

That’s GREAT NEWS for our creative sector!

The time is NOW to hold candidates’ accountable for their words so GET OUT AND VOTE! Early voting begins TODAY Thursday, June 14 and runs until Thursday, June 21. Registered voters can vote early at any of the 11 early voting centers the county is running this year. As the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approves increased FY19 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) at $155 million and our County Council supports our creative and cultural sectors with $5.3 million, I hope you will join me this election season and make your vote count for the arts and humanities!

Suzan Jenkins,

Celebrate Spring with National Preservation Month, National Chamber Music month, and Jewish American Heritage Month

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome Spring! May provides us with many opportunities to celebrate our local arts, history and culture as we recognize National Preservation Month, National Chamber Music Month and Jewish American Heritage Month. These designations remind us to cherish our past and embrace the accomplishments of Americans working across the multidimensional, multicultural fields and sectors in the arts and humanities. With a plethora of offerings at our fingertips through, I invite you to get involved with these commemorations through inspiring programming throughout Montgomery County! (more…)