Monday, July 1, 2013

SSTCi Stars; Gloria Bonilla. July 2013

SSTCi Stars

Gloria Bonilla has served on SSTCi's Board of Directors since December 2011. She has been a strong advocate of SSTCi's mission supporting the community through its diversity of arts and entertainment programming. Gloria says, "SSTCi offers all community members  the opportunity to have a place to meet, learn about each other through casual gatherings as well other events to increase awareness on local, regional and national issues, world cultures and affairs."
  Gloria Bonilla
Gloria says she got involved with SSTCi two years ago through her professional involvement in the community. "I learned and became involved with SSTCi because of the community engagement role I have at Montgomery College," she says.
Gloria has dedicated most of her adult life to work on community and program development, human rights and immigration issues, access to education, resources and services to underserved communities.

Gloria is currently assigned to the Office of Advancement and Community Engagement at Montgomery College where she is applying her experience and skills developing a program to make information and education accessible to Spanish-speaking communities. Gloria has been responsible for directing, producing and hosting Mi Escuela es su Escuela Radio/TV program since its inception December 2008.
For the 2012 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, NBC4  recognized Gloria and other Hispanic leaders for their contribution to the community.

Laughter is the Best Medicine: a Message from our Director. July 2012

Laughter is the Best Medicine
A Message from Our Director
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. 
 ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Dear SSTCi Friends,
Lisa Martin and Jamie Raskin
SSTCi Executive Director Lisa Martin
with Senator Jamie Raskin at
The Silver Spring Blues Festival
What a whirlwind this summer has been so far! Our 5th Annual Silver Spring Blues Festival was a huge success measuring by the smiles on folks' faces day and night at both our main stage and at the market stage.  Thousands of attendees gathered on a beautiful summer day to "sing the Blues" with us and 18 performance groups, or approximately 100 of the top blues men and women (and kids) in our area, including Bobby Parker, School of Rock as well as lots of women singin' the blues as well including Skyla Burrell, Ursula Ricks, Gina DeLuca, Stacy Brooks, Gina DeSimone and the Moaners, and the list goes on.  Check out a few of the photos highlighting this very popular annual event in Downtown Silver Spring. We greatly appreciate the participation and support of all our sponsors and partners, the awesome musicians who performed throughout Blues Week, and especially all the hard work and dedication of our Festival Founder and Producer Alan Bowser and his team, including Jazs with the DC Blues Society. We look forward to another amazing event  next year!
Even the dogs are
dancing at the
Blues Festival
Aside from the fact that we like singin' the blues in Silver Spring, there is also plenty of laughter going on.  From the tiny tots pounding away at our drum circles to the seniors doing Laughing Yoga with us, we are doing our part to help bring a bit more fun and laughter to Silver Spring.
But as the song goes, "We just can't smile without you," so be sure to join us for some of our upcoming events, including our two weekly plaza performance series Twilight Tuesdays and Wednesday Night STARZ featuring an amazing array of talent representing a diversity of music from around the globe all in our own backyard.
We look forward to having you join us for much more laughter this summer!
Warm Regards,
                                        LISA MARTIN
                                        ygExecutive Director

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Singin' The Blues: a Message from our Director. June 2013

Singin' the Blues

A Message from Our Director

Oh yeah, when you smile, you smile
And then the spell was cast.
And here we are in heaven,
For you are last. 
~ Etta James

After an amazing show : The legendary Warner Williams, SSTCi Executive Director Lisa Martin and Swampcandy's Ruben Dobbs and Joey Mitchell. (foreground).


Dear SSTCi Friends,

     We may be singin' the blues all week in Silver Spring, but we're having lots of fun doing it! We kicked off Blues Week on Monday with a rousing performance by Swampcandy and a classic Piedmont Blues performance by the Blues' community's beloved Warner Williams, who still can rock the house at age 83! We in fact love Warner so much, we're inviting him back to open our Blues Festival Fountain Stage this Saturday at 3pm! An incredible line-up is in store, so gather round early and be sure to catch some of the best acoustic blues in our area on our Market Stage on Veterans Plaza, which is part of the Fenton Street Market 3pm-9pm. While there, you may want to get your "Bluesy" henna tattoos from henna artist Bhavna who will be painting the town "blue" all day and night starting at Fenton Market then moving over to our Festival vendor area on Ellsworth later in the day, where blues lovers are bound to be lined up for a guitar or a blue moon and stars to celebrate this genre of music that just about everyone seems to love!

    SSTCi has also been busy with an array of other music with our Twilight Tuesdays and Wednesday Night STARZ ambient performances on Veterans Plaza as well as some special events like the annual Taste the World in Fenton Village earlier this month. SSTCi managed the music for this eventand has gotten a lot of queries about the various bands (see their contact info   with their photos below) such as Tahuantinsuyo, a Peruvian folkloric group and

Rose Moraes and Soul Brazil who headlined with lively Brazilian Bossa Nova. A special shout out to my new friend and favorite 70's cover band musician Roger Coleman of The Blackjacks who sang some special songs from my own early childhood like America's Ventura Highway and Horse with No Name. One of the many perks of working with musicians!

Brandon introducing Swampcandy
SSTCi Board President gave welcome remarks
just before Swampcandy's
 swamp-stompin' performance!
We look forward to singin' the blues with you at our Festival as, well
as singing many more songs of all kinds throughout the summer!
Warm Regards,
Executive Director


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Change The World: A Message from Our Director. May 2013

Change the World

A Message from Our Director

June 2013

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens

can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

- Anthropologist Margaret Mead

Temple of Good Will
Following her presentation Community Building Through the Arts in Public Spaces , SSTCi Executive Director Lisa Martin with Brazilian artists and arts administrators at the Temple of Goodwill in Brasilia. Lisa gave talks about SSTCi while on a Partners of the Americas exchange visit to Brazil last month.

Dear SSTCi Friends,

     Last month, I was in Brazil on a 10-day Partners of the Americas visit made possible by a travel grant from the State Department's Office of Education and Culture. Serving as the president of the DC Chapter of Partners, I did a required president's visit to our counterpart chapter in Brasilia, the
                                                 capital and new Sister City of our own Nation's Capital.
Templo da Boa Vontade /
The Temple of Good Will
Temple of Good Will
     In addition to visiting people and places related to our partnership's three shared programs: Arts & Social Action, NGO/Government Relations and Ambassadors of Hope, I also wanted to share with people in Brazil what we do here in Silver Spring. Meeting with many who work in Brasilia's arts and non-profit world., I presented a talk about SSTCi's challenges, opportunities and successes in a presentation entitled Community Building Through the Arts in Public Spaces at four different events. Two were in downtown Brasilia: one at CAIXA Economica's Cultural Department and another at the Temple of Good Will, as well as two others at arts centers in Gama and São Sebastião, which are satellite cities of Brasilia.

My presentation highllighed how virtually anything is possible if you have the help of others in your community. I told about how with very limited funds, SSTCi is able to produce over 80 free arts and entertainment programs year-round thanks a great deal in part to the vast array of talented individuals, literally thousands, who come together to make it all happen. This includes many musicians, expert presenters, partner organizations, sponsors, County officials, volunteers, and other participants. Many of the Gandhi Brigade Brazilian artists and arts administrators who attended my talks were enthusiastic about and inspired by what SSTCi is doing, and said they hoped to replicate some of the community-based programming and community engagement that we do in Silver Spring.

     I also told them about the many other non-profit arts and cultural organizations here in our area who collaborate with us, and do their own magic for the community, like Gandhi Brigade, which just held its annual Youth Media Festival. Gandhi Brigade does an awesome job training young people in video arts, while also raising awareness of social issues and instilling passion and confidence in Blues Festival Logo kids that will remain with them for a lifetime. (As a side note, I had a great time serving as a judge and seeing all the media projects the kids have done. )
Blues Festival Logo
    The quote by anthropologist Margaret Mead sums up the fact that we should "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." It is committed citizens, like members of the Silver Spring Citizens' Advisory Board who actively serve our community and "change the world" for the better one day at a time. SSTCi is proud to be partnering for the second year in a row on their 3rd Annual Taste the World in Fenton Village event. Every year this group of people come together to make the event happen helping to bring about positive change for the struggling restaurants and other business owners in Fenton Village, which in turn benefits the overall community. I hope you will join us for this worthwhile event Sunday, June 2nd. Also mark your calendars for our Silver Spring Blues Festival happening Saturday, June 15th. We will kick-off Blues Week at our Blues Week Kick-Off Party Monday, June 10th---this is not to be missed!

Warm Regards,

Executive Director