Posts Tagged ‘Arts Education’

FY12 Mini Retrospective

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Each June 30, the fiscal year comes to close providing AHCMC staff, board members and you, our constituents, a perfect opportunity to reflect on all we’ve accomplished this year. Below you’ll find a “snack size” retrospective our FY12 work.

2012 County Council Potluck

Our Vision: To provide leadership that sustains arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars and inspires participation in our County’s rich cultural assets.

Our Work:

  • Advocacy – Successfully advocated to state and local legislators and secured $95,000 increase to FY13 budget for arts and humanities, reinstated Public Arts Trust budget and helped keep funding level for at State level.
  • Outreach – Coordinated 4 professional development,  6 capacity building, and 8 grant workshops serving 150 individuals. Learn more.

    2011 Executive's Awards

  • Montgomery Traditions – Added five new stories about traditional artists in Montgomery County to our new multimedia website
  • Kramer Gallery – Curated six exhibitions of Montgomery County artist fulfilling the goals of the 2001 Cultural Plan to provide “at least one visual art exhibition space to display work by county artist.” (Recommendation 2.4 pg 59)
  • NonProfit Energy Alliance – Signed up 60 local nonprofits that will collectively save an estimated $511,000 while supporting clean sources of energy. Approximately 23 million KWh of Wind Power has been purchased, which is equivalent to offsetting about 35 million pounds of CO2 or to removing 3,000 cars off the roads. Non-Profit Energy Alliance was chosen as a recipient of Washingtonian Magazine’s 2012 Green Awards!

    Student Violinists

  • Public Arts Trust—worked with County lawmakers to reinstate funding for PAT. Initiated a comprehensive survey of the 868-piece collection; prepared for reinstallation of Penguin Rush Hour mural at the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center

  • Marketing – Produced two issues of The Guide to Children’s Art Activities serving the families of 70,000 MCPS elementary students and 2500 library patrons. Completed a successful marketing campaign for that increased web visitors by 180%. Coordinated print and digital cooperative ad buys that served 75 constituents. Provided visitors to with 100 event and programs each month. Sent event data to three other online calendars reaching a total of 40,000 viewers each month. Learn more and join.

What was your favorite program? the Parent Blogger Brunch? the CVC Mixer? a ELO summer program?  Comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

How the arts and humanities foster creative business

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Last week, we also submitted this testimony from Gary Skulnik, President of Clean Currents. Here, he talks about how arts education fosters the kind of creativity he looks for in his employees. Read his testimony below!

Good Afternoon Council President Berliner and Members of the County Council:

My name is Gary Skulnik and I am the President of Clean Currents; a home-grown company that was developed, incubated, launched and now conducts business in Montgomery County, MD. As a business executive and partner of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, I am pleased to show my support today for the County Executive’s FY13 recommended budget for this worthy agency.

Clean Currents has had the good fortune to work with the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County in the Non Profit Energy Alliance, a creative partnership of the non profit sector, county government, and private business to provide clean energy to area non profits at rates that save them money, enabling them to focus more resources on meeting their mission. The Arts and Humanities Council was instrumental in making this happen. Without them, it would have gone nowhere. (more…)

How the arts and humanities enrich Montgomery County’s community

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Last week, we encouraged Montgomery County Council to support the FY13 arts and humanities budget. Read my testimony below!

Good afternoon. I am Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and a twenty-three year resident of Rockville. I begin my testimony today by simply saying Thank You!

Thank You! for your past support for funding the arts and humanities in previous Montgomery County Operating Budgets.

Thanks for considering support of the FY13 budget recommendation which includes flat funding for arts and humanities grants.

Given the slow economic recovery in the County and the nation, we appreciate that all areas of the budget are under close scrutiny. We understand the tough choices you make every budget season and the uncertainty of the County’s FY13 appropriations in the wake of State’s failure to pass a budget. So, first of all let us say Thank you!

Link Roundup: Facebook+Instagram, arts education and creativity tests

Friday, April 13th, 2012

What a week! Here’s what we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: As a digital native, I’m definitely guilty of this: “watching” a show on TV while working on my laptop (switching between Word, Facebook, Twitter and Gmail) while having my phone handy for miscellaneous things (like Instagram, which is only available through iPhone and Android). It’s turning our brains to mush and making things difficult for marketers. Not great for anyone involved.


Takeaways: The internet was all atwitter of Facebook’s one million dollar purchase of Instagram, and here’s one digital strategist’s take on it: this is “the official shift to an image-powered web.”


Advocacy activities regrettably got in the way of posting #WednesdayWinning and #ThursdayTips articles on their respective days, so here they are, under the #FridayFun hashtag:

Takeaways: Such a great story of how arts education helps kids build confidence and become lifelong artists!

Takeaways: It’s Friday. Test your creativity a little!

As always, follow us at @creativemoco!

Link Roundup: Timing Facebook posts, arts education and influencing styles

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Here’s a summary of the articles we tweeted this week:


Didn’t post an article this week due to our office being closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. There’ll be one next week, promise!


Takeaways: Basically, the first paragraph of the article: “The average news feed post by a Facebook Page receives Likes and comments for 3 hours after being published. To maximize the engagement, impressions, and traffic driven by the news feed, Facebook Page owners should wait at least 3 hours between posts.” Makes sense.


Takeaways: This article reiterates what us arts managers, educators and advocates have known: that arts education teaches skills like collaboration, confidence, accountability and effective communication, and that these skills are essential for the 21st century workforce. Also, follow our friend Shoshana at @AudienceDevSpec; she’s always tweeting interesting and useful articles!


Takeaways: This article identifies five influencing styles (how one impacts others’ ideas and actions) and points out that there’s an effective and ineffective way of using each one. How will you adjust your communication to make collaborating more efficient?

Be sure to follow us at @creativemoco, and comment below or tweet us if there are articles you think we should be tweeting!

Arts Education Upclose: Fantastic Voyages Through Our Imagination

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

By Tammi Gardner, Theatre

On the first day of classes, my students walked into the Creative Kids classroom and saw a big square made from blue tape in the middle of the room and exclaimed, “This room is completely empty!” And I replied, “That’s because we are going fill it up with our IMAGINATION!”

And as promised over the next three weeks, we have managed to:

  • Travel to the jungle of West Africa where we asked the Sky God for Wisdom and had to complete three impossible tasks;
  • Go Italy to visit Strega Nona (Grandmother Witch) where we made a “magic pot” of pasta – made a monster named Abiyoyo disappear by singing and playing our ukeleles;
  • Waddled our way to Antarctica to play with some wacky penguins;
  • Chased a wild “dumpling” down a hole where we met the Wicked Oni;
  • And even went to the MOON in our rocket ship for a glass of milk and a “moon pie.”

All by using our 5 Acting Tools and Skills:  Imagination, Concentration, Cooperation, our Bodies and our Voice.

As we continued the Creative Kids Program into its third week of the ELO-Care Program, each class has shined in different aspects of the program curriculum and are preparing for their final performance on Thursday, June 28.

The Green Group (2nd/3rd graders) were awesome at retelling stories and acting them out.  They were able to use their imaginations not only to create the characters but inanimate objects also came alive and became a part of our story enactment.  By cooperating and working together, they made a wonderful environmental orchestra providing the background sounds for our stories too!  They will be enacting their favorite story, “Jimmy Zangwow’s Out Of This World Moon Pie Adventure” as their final performance piece and leading the entire ELO-Care student body in a moving, yet silly warm-up!

While the Baseball Group (3rd/4th graders) excelled at writing their own extension stories and even wrote a story called “Smelly Business” – that told of the  antics of Big Anthony when he takes Strega Nona’s magic perfume and grows a heap of trouble – and made it into a book to send to children in a homeless shelter.  They will be performing their own hip extension story based off “Tacky the Penguin” called, “Wacky Tacky Meets the New Girl in Town.”

The Basketball Group (4th/5th graders) focused more of how the 6 Pillars of Characters were represented or applied in each of our stories.  As growing young people, they quickly learned the effects words and actions – even when given by friends – can affect people and hurt them.  As their final performance, two students will be hosting a live “talk show” (based off the story “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears”) to interview animals (played by the other students)  accused of the terrible crime of killing a baby owlet, so that “…Mother Owl won’t wake the Sun so the day will come.”  The hosts will help each animal determine their part in the tragedy and what they – using the 6 Pillars – could have done differently to have prevented it.

What a trip!  If only we had a few more – just imagine where else we could go!

Arts Education Upclose: Quite the Characters

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

By Nora Achrati

At Broad Acres, the kids rotate activities every six days according to age group. They’ve been divided into three classes each of 4th & 5th-graders, 2nd & 3rd-graders, and kindergarten & 1st-graders. I started out with the 4th & 5th-graders, who are fantastic. These kids threw themselves into our stories improv games, and really impressed me with the level of respect and empathy they carried for each other.

It was bittersweet having to give them up in the middle of Week 2 – they’d done some really stellar work with the Zomo story, inventing and illustrating new paths for Zomo to take in his quest for the scales of Big Fish, the milk of Wild Cow, and the tooth of Leopard. We’re excited to be able to donate these different Zomo stories to the community.

Wednesday I was introduced to the 2nd and 3rd-graders for the first time, which meant starting again from scratch. These kids are much more rambunctious, harder to settle, so we’ve had to re-emphasize the character pillars and class rules each day. And we’ve been experimenting with compromises – setting up a “wiggle area” where kids who find it harder to sit still can be for a while (individually, and quietly), and balancing on-the-floor acting activities with hands-on, sit-down activities. I’ve had to adapt my lessons, too – my second class of the day rebelled against Strega Nona (too many of them had read it before and wanted something new), so Thursday we read and performed “Manana Iguana” together, and Friday we spent making masks to represent the different animal characters:

Emely as Conejo (Rabbit)

Sam and Hyggencio as Culebra (Snake) – It's a bit hard to tell here, but both Sam and Hyggencio came up with a clever way to use pipe cleaners for Culebra's tongue and construction paper for his fangs.

More Conejos (a popular choice). I'm particularly proud of Kelvin, left, who tends to get into trouble when we're on the floor acting but thrives when he has art materials in front of him.

My two other classes are also familiar with Strega Nona, but they’ve enjoyed adapting the story to our classroom theater, and they’re terrific at embodying the different characters – including Strega Nona’s animals, the townspeople, and the magnficent pasta pot.

Based on the success of the masks, though, I think I’ll be introducing “Manana Iguana” to the other classes before our time is up. The kids in the second class seemed to appreciate how much Spanish was incorporated into the story – for many, Spanish is a primary language at home – and enjoyed translating for me the days of the week and their own words for “party.” They’ve also been excellent at identifying the “Little Red Hen” themes of the story, and applying the character pillars.

This program is  part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Arts Education Upclose: CityDance’s Circus of the Stars

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Here’s video from CityDance’s Circus of the Stars ELO-CARE program with 2nd and 3rd graders at Wheaton Woods ES!

Arts Education Upclose: Just A Little Taste

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Over the next few weeks, 950 students in six Title 1 elementary schools here in Montgomery County will experience the magic and fun of art.

Week Two:  July 11-15Movement Recipe:  “Just a Little Taste”
By:  P. “Mama El’tsah” Broden

“What if I told you dance could tell a story?”

Hands flew up. Eyebrows furrowed.

There were a few that knew this was very possible indeed.  As a class, we decided that we would attempt the challenge of cooking up a story through dance. This task began with other questions like: “What elements make up a story? What elements make up dance? What do we exactly need in our recipe to create an unforgettable dance to serve to our audience?”

So far this is what we decided:

A dash of characters
One firm theme
3 cups of a plot
Pour slowly into a setting
Stir In music
Add spicy but simple choreography
Add lots of energy liberally

We mixed everyday this week, sometimes adding way too much or not enough of something, we haven’t got it quite ready to bake yet, but we will.

I was reminded of the beauty and importance of taking your time during the creative process. Observing the dancers patiently listen to 17 very different possible songs to use for our soundtrack was a treat. After much deliberation the classes selected three songs.

I didn’t totally agree with one of the selections, but I was outvoted!

Still Mixing……..

Eltsah Broden

This program is  part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.

Arts Education Upclose: Embrace the Space

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Week One: July 5- July 8
By P. “Mama El’tsah” Broden

Over the next few weeks, 950 students in six Title 1 elementary schools here in Montgomery County will experience the magic and fun of art…

It all began with the purchase of 6 rolls of vibrantly colored tape, which would play a vital role in keeping the pulse of our dance classes strong.  Red, Green Yellow, Blue, and Purple, were the colors selected to define our official “Stage,” alias “The Dance Space” or “The Dance Island.” This “Island” sits at Wheaton Woods Elementary in room #5, a very large classroom that has been cleared of all furniture except for a computer table, cleaned and the floor super shiny with promise for amazing footwork to boot.  Thank you Ms. Stephy for making space!

After measuring the space with careful footing, a semi-perfect rectangle formed, smiled and said, “Here we go again”!” another summer of ELO!”

I then placed strips of tape within the rectangle to indicate each dancer’s very own VIP dance space spot. Then the moment arrived, the meeting of the fifth grade dancers and me, their Personal Dance Space Tour Guide.  We entered the dance space to begin the process of getting to know each other, developing confidence, and becoming comfortable with different movement activities.

After quick introductions, we began moving right away with expectations, i.e. first establishing our dance spots and then getting to places in 16 counts. Next , it was time to mirror the teacher with a warm-up, Then, embrace the space by walking, moving  or grooving  on different levels, traveling in different ways and freezing in different shapes to the sounds of various styles of music.  Well, it’s official: they all love hip-hop and pop music. Lastly, we tried a keep the tempo exercise called the “rainbow dance.”  It includes a pattern of movements where dancers have to listen to the music and keep the tempo.

Many of the 5th graders were very shy and inhibited while the 4th graders seemed to be a little more comfortable with moving.  Wow! We have a lot of confidence building to do! By Friday, some dancers brought in music and shared improvised movements with the class. It was great!!

In class on Wednesday, we also began the process of creating chalk pastel self-portraits to represent who we are and to decorate our dance space with color and pride.  These dancers are true artists who really focused and took their time on this 3-step project   Wow!! I have done this art project at many schools, and I’m very impressed with Wheaton Woods 4/5th graders!

They were completed by Friday  7/8, I sprayed them all with a fixative to hold the chalk in place then mounted them on different color construction paper to make them pop, now our dance space is beautiful with our creative energy!  We are ready to create in week two!

Eltsah Broden

This program is  part of the Summer ELO-CARE program offered to select students in Montgomery County Pubic Schools.  This is the ninth year that AHCMC has had the privilege to work with MCPS on this very worthy program.  ELO-CARE is made possible by a grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Maryland State Department of Education.