2017 Community Award Recipient Allison Weiss

November 3rd, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Community Award
to Allison Weiss for her work with Sandy Spring Museum.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Allison, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Allison.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

Sandy Spring Museum provides the environment and inspiration for community-driven activities. Most organizations hire professional artists, performers, actors, etc for their programming. We provide a venue for community members to present high quality exhibits, events, workshops, performances – cultural arts programming – for the general public. We provide support to professionalize these activities.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

There’s room for everyone. There are so many diverse activities going on, so many different approaches to presenting the arts.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

Don’t hold back and don’t wait for “the right moment.” The right moment is right now!

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

I think that we will see even more platforms for User Generated Content that is shared on the internet. If organizations with a physical building want to stay relevant, we have to address the fact that millions of people are getting arts and culture content on Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and so on.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

I don’t think there was any “ah ha!” moment; it’s just part of who I am. It’s not something I do in my free time; it’s how I spend all of my time. I am driven to create arts and cultural experiences for others.

2017 Outstanding Artist Recipient Chelsey Green

November 2nd, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Outstanding Artist or Scholar Award to Recording Artist Chelsey Green of The Green Project.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Chelsey, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know Chelsey a little more.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

I believe my involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector was impactful through the variety of performances me and my ensemble have done through and for the county. From live shows to educational workshops to summer programs with Strathmore, I’ve done my best to bring my interpretation of string performance to audiences throughout the county.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

I love that the arts and culture sector of Montgomery County presents year-round programming that is accessible, engaging and diverse. Catered to the sub-communities within the county, the arts and culture programming reaches its residents in every corner of the county.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

My advice for someone looking to get involved with arts and culture is to just do it! Jump in and immerse yourself in a way that you make it happen. Practice your craft so you can be ready for anything when an opportunity comes and attend arts events to network with the community and start building. Also, be open to new ideas and new paths you may have not considered originally.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

Now more than ever, I see a trend of both local and global communities utilizing art as a unifying tool to bring people together. This couldn’t make me happier. We need to get back to the core of what makes our world turn. People helping people for the greater good. I hope we can turn this movement into more funding at federal and local levels to stretch arts programming in a way that it can tangibly aid the people of our local and global communities in an impactful way.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

My “arts spark” came around age seven when my private violin teacher took me to sit in the orchestra pit with her for a performance of The Nutcracker by The Houston Ballet. As she played in the violin section, I saw all the musicians performing together in the pit, the dancers on stage and backstage, the crew and everything coming together to make this production happen. I fell in love and knew art was something I wanted to dedicate my life to from that point forward.

2017 Volunteer Award Recipient Elli Swink

November 1st, 2017 by Michael

At this year’s County Executive’s Awards ceremony, Mr. Ike Leggett will present the 2017 Volunteer Award to Elli Swink for her work with Damascus Theatre Company.

Reserve your ticket today and join us on November 6 at 7 pm as we honor Elli, and many others, at the 2017 Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts in Humanities

Read on and get to know a little more about Elli.

In what ways do you think your involvement in the Montgomery County arts and culture sector is impactful?

I think working with the youth in our community theater company, our DTC Kids, is the most impactful thing that we/I do.  We are training them to perform live theater and also in the technical aspects of theater. Many have gone on to make this their career. In a small community like Damascus, this offers children and entire families an opportunity to work together to create something really wonderful and entertaining and they gain confidence and become so proud of what we’ve created together through our hard work.

What do you love about the arts and culture sector in Montgomery County?

I love the variety of musical, theater, and cultural events that Montgomery County has to offer. There are many theater groups and particularly groups for children and teens to become involved with to learn theater arts. I’m proud of the role our group has had in teaching theater to children and at a very affordable cost in part because of our support from the Arts & Humanities Council.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to get involved in arts and culture?

Get involved! Reach out to your local theater company and ask how you can help. Start with ushering to meet a few people and then be open to learning how to house manage or paint and build sets. Arts groups welcome people willing to volunteer.

What do you see on the horizon for arts and culture in local and global communities?

It seems that each year more and more theater groups are forming. I think that will continue. In these difficult times, theater offers a beautiful distraction to the despair many people are feeling.

What was your earliest “art spark” or impetus for an interest in the arts?

My interest in the arts and theater began when my sister’s middle school teacher selected her to play ‘Amaryllis’ in our community’s production of The Music Man in Waynesboro, PA. Seeing Debbie up there on stage and watching that musical was magical. Years later, I signed up to be part of my high school’s productions, working backstage on props and crew. Once I married and moved to Montgomery County and our daughter Maggie was old enough to get involved too, we all joined the Damascus Theatre Company. I credit my parents for taking us to community theater shows. This was the impetus for my interest in the arts.

Montgomery County Council Approves the Largest Budget for Arts and Humanities

May 25th, 2017 by Courtney

On Thursday, May 25, the Montgomery County Council approved the largest budget for the arts and humanities. The resolution for FY18 is as follows:

  • Operating Support Grants – $3,374,941 ($66,739 over FY17)
  • Small/Mid-Size Organizations, Creative Projects, Arts Education, and Individual Artist/Scholar Grants – $854,574 (increased $75,713 over FY17)
  • Advancement Grants – $295,094 (increased $45,044 over FY17)
  • AHCMC Administration – $540,519 (increased $10,689 over FY17)
  • Arts and Humanities Matching Fund –  $200,000 (flat from FY17)
  • Grants to Support Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District – $91,815 (increased $1,815 over FY17)
  • Grant to National Philharmonic – $150,000 (earmark in line with that of FY17)

Total Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County FY18 NDA $5,506,943

The FY18 budget also includes:

  • Capital Improvement Grants – $800,000*

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.

Onward!

Suzan

*While $1 million is available for Capital Improvement Grants, demand does not exceed supply in this category. Therefore, in response to a request from the County Council and Office of Management and Budget a portion of the funds will support $200,000 in renovations for the Noyes Children’s Library in Kensington, Md. We support this decision as it is in line with our mission to support the humanities.

Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County Celebrates 40 Years!

May 11th, 2017 by Courtney

On Friday, April 21 the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery (AHCMC) celebrated 40 years of service to communities across Montgomery County with a board reception and unveiling of our new five-year strategic plan. This was an incredible milestone and pivotal moment for the organization.

In 1976 a small group of individuals with a passion for the arts formed what was then called the Arts Council of Montgomery County. The new nonprofit had three objectives: (1) to establish an art center; (2) to provide grants to artists, and (3) to provide space for artists to work, exhibit, and perform. Over the past 40-years, these goals were realized and the scope of our work, programs, and activities grew and evolved, resulting in a new strategic plan and mission statement: The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, in partnership with the community, cultivates and supports excellence in the arts and humanities, expands access to cultural expression, and contributes to economic vitality in the region.

The new nonprofit had three objectives: (1) to establish an art center; (2) to provide grants to artists, and (3) to provide space for artists to work, exhibit, and perform.

To celebrate our new strategic plan and mission statement, AHCMC held a reception at the home of our board chair, Eric Siegel. The reception was an evening of reflection on our 40 year history in Montgomery County and celebration of our service to the arts and humanities. The guest list included current and past board members, donors, Montgomery County council members, and AHCMC staff. This past January, our board approved the new strategic plan, which includes four primary goals: optimize grant making; invest in the organizational capacity of AHCMC; strengthen the capacity of the arts and humanities in Montgomery County; and augment the social, economic, and cultural development of the county.  Click here to read the entire strategic plan.

In addition to our new strategic plan, we turned a fresh eye to the county’s public art program with the release of The Public Art Roadmap, which is included in the strategic plan. The county’s public art program launched in 1978 and it was time for us to develop a new roadmap for public art. The Public Art Roadmap is a collection of key information on the county’s public art program and sets forth recommendations that will elevate the visibility and impact of the Montgomery County Public Art Trust and its programs. Click here to read the entire Public Art Roadmap.

The strategic plan and Public Art Roadmap reflect our dedication to making arts programs and cultural events accessible to all residents in Montgomery County, and we are fully committed to providing sustenance, opportunity, and growth to the arts and humanities sector of the county.

The reception was a magical event – a time for attendees to celebrate the past and plan for the future. A future that includes continued support for sustainable arts, creative place-making initiatives to increase vibrancy, and a grant funding portfolio that builds capacity in Montgomery County. We are encouraged and excited to embark on the next 40 years as the designated arts agency for the county

See below for photos from the strategic plan!

Penguin Rush Hour Returns

March 31st, 2017 by Michael

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See more moments from the return of the penguins here.

Maryland Arts Day 2017 Recap

February 28th, 2017 by Michael

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

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

To see more, visit our Twitter moment here.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu tours Montgomery County

November 21st, 2016 by Michael

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.

Making an Impact: The Wheaton Cultural Project Grants

October 4th, 2016 by admin

The Wheaton Cultural Grants, now in its second year, has supported artists and scholars interested in launching cultural and creative projects in the County’s youngest arts & entertainment district. Below, AHCMC’s Grants Manger Nabil Ghachem discusses the impact our grantmaking activities in Wheaton.

In 2015, we launched the Wheaton Cultural Project Grants category with the aim at invigorating its Arts and Entertainment District by supporting creative and cultural projects in the diverse and burgeoning community of  Wheaton, Maryland. The first round of the Wheaton Cultural Project Grants, funded by Montgomery County Council and the the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County had the following successes:

Diversity in pool of applicants
The pool of applicants represents diverse ethnicities and cultures, including Cambodian, Indian, Latin-American, and African-American. Out of the 22 applicants, AHCMC was able to fund 12. This indicates that given Wheaton’s cultural diversity, and if provided with the appropriate and adequate arts and cultural venues, Wheaton could be a magnet for arts performances and cultural events.

Diversity in art forms and scholarly disciplines

The FY15 Wheaton Cultural Project Grants included 4 outdoor projects that are open to the community, each featuring a specific art form (visual arts, theatre, dance, and music); 3 humanities projects that highlight the diversity of Wheaton communities and the urban nature that involves children, youth, and families; and 5 multi-discipline arts project that including poetry, film, documentary, chorale, and photography.

Collaboration
The Wheaton Cultural Project Grants helped artists, scholars, and non-profit groups to develop business acumen and think as entrepreneurs. During both pre and post award, applicants were able to connect with businesses, community organizations, and schools and were able to receive an estimated in-kind support and sponsorships for their projects of more than $60,000.

Impact
Combining the evaluative data with the values that guide the Wheaton Cultural Project grant may constitute a more complete story about our impact. Demographic realities, regional disparities, and access are a constant reminder of what should guide our approach to support the arts and the humanities. This is particularly important as it reflects national best practices among the field of arts philanthropy. The issue of diversity and racial equity in grantmakers’ portfolio has generated numerous discussion among private, public and corporate arts funders nationwide. The Grantsmakers in the Arts recent statement about Racial Equity in Arts Philanthropy calls on funders to be explicit in their intentions and provides language in their guidelines that specifically takes into consideration the demographic changes and the under-representation of some communities of their grants portfolio.

To that end, the Wheaton Cultural Project Grants guidelines includes the following statement: AHCMC encourages proposals submitted by Asian, Latino/a, African, Arab, and Native American (ALAANA) artists, arts organizations, and communities. This enforces AHCMC role as a social changemaker that focuses on actual debates with an eye on future challenges.

The Wheaton Cultural Project Grant is one step in that direction.

County Council Approves an Historic FY17 Budget

May 19th, 2016 by Suzan

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

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

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

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

Onward!