AHCMC Welcomes Brittney Dubose

February 6th, 2019 by Brittney

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

February 6th, 2019 by Brittney

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

February 6th, 2019 by Brittney

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

December 20th, 2018 by Suzan

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,
AHCMC CEO

The Season of Giving

November 18th, 2018 by Suzan

Dear Colleagues,

The arts and humanities have given us so much. They’ve allowed us to create and share a cultural tapestry throughout our County that includes many diverse voices and art forms across a range of organizations, artists, and scholars. The strength of this tapestry is part of the reason I am so honored each year at the County Executive’s Awards to celebrate those individuals and organizations who are boldly leading and practicing through their artistic and cultural contributions. If you didn’t make this year’s ceremony, you can join me in celebration and relive the excitement here.

It’s no secret that in Montgomery County we have a strong arts and humanities community that not only provides rich cultural experiences but also helps to drive our local economy. Recent data from Americans for the Arts notes that 5% of the total number of businesses in Montgomery County are arts-related, which places us above both the national percentage of 4.6 and MD state’s percentage of 4.1.

This is evidence that in Montgomery County, the arts and humanities really do mean business. The support and patronage from community members like you help to create this economic boon, providing both artistic and cultural value and sustainability throughout the County for every citizen. It’s in that spirit and with that drive that we must continue to celebrate and support the arts and humanities. At the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, we’re invested in driving that effort, and you can join us.

Here are three ways you can get involved and show your support for the arts and humanities:

  • #GivingTuesday
    The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate humanity worldwide.
  • Make a year-end donation to AHCMC
    Your fully tax deductible donation supports our administration and helps us deliver the programs and services that help make communities across Montgomery County wonderful places to live and work. Giving is easy! Just click HERE.
  • Support AHCMC through Workplace Giving
    Your donations through the Combined Federal Campaign can help create lasting impact for Montgomery County’s arts and humanities organizations. Use Charity Code #60981 to designate your workplace charitable giving to the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

I believe the arts and humanities lift our spirits and bridge our communities; they are needed now more than ever. If you agree, join us and become a supporter today!

Onward,

Suzan Jenkins,
AHCMC CEO

Celebrating the Arts and Humanities

October 18th, 2018 by Suzan

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.

Onward,

Suzan Jenkins,
AHCMC CEO

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

August 23rd, 2018 by Suzan

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!

Onward!

Suzan Jenkins,

AHCMC CEO

AHCMC Strives to Set National Example in Equity and Inclusion

July 20th, 2018 by Suzan

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 CultureSpotMC.com!

Onward!
Suzan Jenkins,
AHCMC CEO

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

July 18th, 2018 by Ceylon
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.

AHCMC FY18 Grantees Receive “Best Local Nonprofits” Honors

June 21st, 2018 by Ceylon

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