Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"An Evening with the Stars" Oscars Night, Sunday, February 26th!

Join us for "An Evening with the Stars" Oscars® Night Sunday, February 26 at 7:00 PM at the Civic Building at One Veteran's Plaza in Silver Spring, MD.

Hosting this year's event is Pamela Brown of ABC7/WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8

Silver Spring Town Center and the National Center for Children & Families (NCCF) are bringing Hollywood's biggest night to downtown Silver Spring!

We are pleased to have Pamela Brown of ABC7/WJLA-TV and NewsChannel 8 hosting this year's event. Mix and mingle on the Red Carpet, savor cuisine from around the globe, win exciting prizes and watch the Academy Awards® Live on the big screen!

Come as you are or dress as your favorite star! Perhaps your attire will be inspired by one of the stars or characters on the Big Screen this past year...come in 50's attire from The Help, or dress Hawaiian beach casual like George Clooney in The Descendents. Feel like a simple pair of jeans and fun Hollywood costume jewelry - there will be plenty of that too! Everyone will have fun posing for a photo on the Red Carpet with their favorite "stars" on hand that night!

There will also be an array of raffle prizes to bid on as well as swag bags filled with entertainment passes, gift certificates and other goodies to take home.

Tickets are $25 in advance if purchased online by Saturday, February 24th! After the 24th, tickets will be $35 per person at the door. Admission includes an array of beverages and heavy hors d'oeuvres, featuring cuisine from around the globe. Don't worry, we will have plenty of popcorn and Milk Duds on site as well!

Order online here: An Evening with the Stars To order by mail, please send checks made payable to "NCCF" for $25 per person with the names of attendees on the "memo" line and postmarked by February 20th. Send to:

Silver Spring Town Center Inc.
Silver Spring Civic Building
One Veterans Plaza
Silver Spring, MD 20910

For any questions regarding this event, contact lisa@silverspringtowncenter.com.

All proceeds benefit The National Center for Children and Families, as well as Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.

We hope to see you for "An Evening with the Stars" in our "community living room" on Oscars® Night!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Expanding Community Access at the Silver Spring Civic Building - Statement of Alan Bowser, President, Silver Spring Town Center, January 12, 2011

Statement of Alan Bowser
Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.
County Executive’s Budget Forum
Silver Spring Civic Building
January 12, 2012

Thank you for the opportunity to present our testimony this evening on the County’s FY13 budget.

My name is Alan Bowser. I am President of the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., a community-based 501c3 non-profit organization that was created to facilitate community access and provide arts & entertainment programming in this building and on Veterans Plaza. I am proud to represent our distinguished Board of Directors who has been working hard for years to promote Silver Spring, our local cultures, and grow this important community resource. I am very pleased to present to you tonight our new Executive Director, Lisa Martin, who manages SSTCi’s day-to-day operations.

2011 was a great year for the Silver Spring and the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. In addition to producing our 3rd Annual Silver Spring Blues Festival and a very successful Veterans Tribute Concert (which benefited two important Montgomery County non-profit organizations), we inaugurated the popular Plaza Performances series with over 7o acts, started a monthly SSTCi Arts Salon, and expanded our cooperation with the local businesses, the Fenton Street Market, the Office of Community Engagement, the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Community Use of Public Facilities. Importantly, we also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Montgomery County to help provide exciting community-based programming for the Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza.

When SSTCi was created, its founders had a vision of the new Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza being the community’s new “living room,” following the demolition of the historic Armory.

The founders envisioned a public space that would be used everyday by our neighbors for community meetings, performances, ceremonies, and other purposes. SSTCi is working hard to make their vision a reality.

We hope that, in your new budget, you will do several things to benefit our Silver Spring neighbors, and the Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza

First, we ask that the community’s access to the Building be expanded. We would like to see the Building stay open longer in the evenings—it currently closes at 6 pm. Expanding the hours of operation would allow more community groups to use their public space. And, presently, many members of the community who work during the day cannot take advantage of this beautiful facility in the evenings without paying special fees to Montgomery County.

Similarly, we believe that the facility should be more accessible to the community on weekends. Community groups and people who work should be able to take advantage of this public building—its gallery, atrium and meeting rooms—on Saturdays and Sundays, without paying special fees. We also believe that there should be access to the restrooms for visitors to the Plaza on weekends.

Second, we would like for Montgomery County to consider lowering the rental fees, generally, and eliminating the ancillary fees that residents need to pay to use space in the evening hours. If the building was regularly open during the evenings to 9 pm on weekdays, there would be no need to charge special fees for security and housekeeping. We’ve received comments that these fees are cost-prohibitive to some smaller community organizations who would like to meet in the Civic Building in the evening.

Third, we would like to see a substantial increase in the County’s target for community programming at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Currently, at twenty percent, we would like to see a much higher target for community use.

Finally, a few years ago, the Executive’s office recommended that SSTCi be supported through a significant one-year grant that would help us with staffing, programming and development work. While that grant, at that time, was not supported by County Council staff and not made, we hope that you would consider a similar budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. At a minimum, we hope that you will include some funds in the budget that will help the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. to continue to provide community-based arts & entertainment on Veterans Plaza and in the Civic Building. We have important work to do and we request this promised support from the County.

All of these things would help us to realize the promises made to the Silver Spring community during this period of revitalization.

Thank you for the opportunity to present our views about the FY13 Montgomery County Budget.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eric Maring at the Silver Spring Town Center Arts Salon, January 19, Noon to 1 pm.

Guest Artist: Eric Maring
Topic: Keeping it Fresh

How do you keep your art fresh?

GUEST ARTIST: Eric Maring is a music teacher, a performing songwriter, a dance caller, and an early childhood music specialist. He has also spent a large part of his time in India where he learned to play tabla (Indian percussion). He currently teaches in three pre-schools - at Kids Are Us in Anacostia, D.C. for Levine School of Music's outreach program, at the University of Maryland’s Center for Young Children, and at the National Archives pre-school. He also performs in festivals and elementary schools, teaches guitar and piano to young musicians, calls school and community dances, and holds weekly early childhood music classes for children and parents through the College Park Arts Exchange. Most importantly, he’s the proud father of 7-year-old Leo and 2-year old Julian.

Who’s invited: Fine artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, photographers, graphic designers, playwrights, poets, and anyone interested in the creative process.

What to bring: Ideas, questions, stories, business cards for networking, and a brown bag lunch and/or drink, if desired.

Where to show up: Silver Spring Civic Building; Silver Spring, MD 20910. We’ll meet in the Colesville Room, 2nd floor. The Civic Building is the new building across from the Majestic Movie Theater, on Ellsworth between Fenton and Cedar. Most meters on the street are one hour only; To mapquest, I suggest you use the address for the Town Square Garage (Garage 61) 801 Ellsworth Dr, Silver Spring, MD 20910, which is right across the Street.

What is a salon: An Italian invention of the 16th century, a salon is a gathering of people who are invited by a host to enjoy the exchange of creative energy. The goal of The SSTC Arts Salon is to encourage the cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration among artists of all disciplines, to promote networking, and to alleviate artistic isolation.

How to RSPV and/or receive notices about upcoming salons: Please join the FB page and reply to the event at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/111769958927685/ OR email rsvp to info@maryamato.com.

Each salon will have a different topic and will feature a guest artist who will begin the conversation.

HOST: Mary Amato (Host) is an author, poet, songwriter, musician, and playwright. info@maryamato.com; http://www.maryamato.com/

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Silver Spring nonprofit director brings international experience - Gazette

Silver Spring nonprofit director brings international experience

Published: Tuesday, January 3, 2012

by Kristi Tousignant, Staff Writer

Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.’s new executive director has helped organize festivals in Estonia and Ireland, international experiences she hopes to draw on for Silver Spring.

Lisa Martin, 44, became the first executive director for Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., a nonprofit organization that coordinates events on Silver Spring’s Veterans Plaza, including the popular Blues Festival.

“This was like a dream job for me,” she said. “I love creating memories and experiences in people’s lives through the arts.”

Martin became executive director Nov. 22 and since has started reaching out to the Silver Spring community.

“[Martin’s] a tremendous optimist and, for her, the glass is always half full and she sees the sunny side and she brings out the best in people,” said Alan Bowser, president of Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.

Since its creation in 2004, Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. has been run by a board, Bowser said. Board members divide the duties of organizing plaza events, communications, and fundraising. While most of the organization’s revenue comes from fundraising, Bowser declined to provide details about the organization’s budget or revenue.

The nonprofit sprang up during the redevelopment of Silver Spring as a way to ensure Veterans Plaza would be a community-focused space, Bowser said.

“Having a full-time executive director will let us act more as a governing board and bring a focus to fundraising activities as well as community outreach,” Bowser said.

The group organizes weekly performances and hosts monthly arts discussions and annual events like the Silver Spring Blues Festival and the Veterans Tribute Concert.

Martin has worked on many festivals, she said, an activity she finds more gratifying than any other job.“These types of events end up standing out in people’s memories,” she said.

She has worked on the International VSA Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., which hosts visual and performing arts by people with disabilities. She has also worked on the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

“We think Lisa has a great sensitivity to the different cultures that make up our Silver Spring community,” Bowser said. “We are excited about the festival experience she brings to Silver Spring Town Center.”

Originally from San Diego, Martin attended San Diego State University, achieving bachelor’s degrees in cultural anthropology and journalism. Bowser declined to say what Martin will be paid.

Afterward, she got a job working at the San Diego Opera in the public relations and marketing department.

A few years later, Martin joined the Peace Corps and travelled to Estonia, where she taught English from 1996 to 1998. During the summer, she helped organize the Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival.

In 1999, Martin moved to the Washington, D.C., region and worked as a researcher for a museum consulting firm.

She went on to get her master’s degree in performing arts management from American University, writing her thesis on an art festival in Ireland, living there in 2000 to research the paper.

A few years ago, Martin started her own business, researching and evaluating events and festivals. With the struggling economy, the business was not doing that well, Martin said. While keeping an eye out for new jobs, she stumbled across the ad for the opening at Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.
Martin said she hopes to showcase performers from all around world. One of her main goals is to increase communication between the nonprofit and the surrounding community and businesses.

“Even just locally, we have such a diverse array of people in the community,” Martin said. “We are kind of building everything from the ground up.”

© 2012 Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net