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ACES Arts and Culture Program

The ACES Arts and Culture program, now entering its 7th year this coming fall 2023 season, was initiated to provide an opportunity to educate ACES Scholars about how the arts interact with one’s culture and provide opportunities for high school and college students to attend arts and cultural events at major performing and visual arts organizations in the DC metropolitan area. Due to the pandemic, in-person activities were not permitted totally; therefore, we pivoted our focus, and began providing a career readiness bridge to nurture our creative ACES Scholars who are considering a pathway to visual, performing, and media arts instruction at Montgomery College and, ultimately, careers in the arts. Here are the following programming opportunities that were offered during the 2022-2023 season in a series of three virtual workshops.

On June 23, 2022, we kicked off our “Arts Career Workshop Series” for the 2022-2023 year, in collaboration with USG Career Readiness team/Pathways Expo.  We entitled our workshop, “Envisioning a Career in the Performing, Visual, & Communication Arts in a Post-Covid World – A Conversation!”, where Gina DiMedio Marrazza, coordinator of the program, moderated a panel featuring the following renown visual and theatre artists, arts administrators, and community activists. They presented their educational and career journeys, and then answered questions for over 45 minutes from our ACES high school students about the “possibilities” in arts careers post-covid. Over 80 students attended this virtual “conversation”.

Our panelists included:

  • Kevin S. McAllister
    Stage Director, Actor, Baritone,
    Arts Administrator/Activist
    Co-Founder & Executive Artistic Director, ArtsCentric
  • Kendra Rubinfeld
    PR & Marketing Consultant (KRPR)
    Community Activist
  • Edgar Reyes
    Artist & Community Activist
    Professor/Site Coordinator at Salisbury University (USG)

Here is our PowerPoint for the above workshop.

To continue the arts momentum in this series for ACES high school and MC students, we held our second collaborative virtual workshop with our USG/ACES Career Readiness team, October 3, 2022, entitled, “Exploring Your Educational Options in Visual/Media & Performing Arts Programs at Montgomery College”. Ms Marrazza moderated a panel of exquisite Montgomery College professors and chairs of the Visual, Broadcast/Media and Performing Arts program majors at Montgomery College. They shared their educational journey first, and then focused on the curriculum and artistic ensemble possibilities when matriculating at Montgomery College. Forty-five plus students attended and asked pointed questions about curriculum and performance/art presentation opportunities, and career in the arts post-covid.

Our panelists included:

  • Joanne A. Carl
    Broadcast Media Production
    Instructional Project Manager
    Montgomery College, RV campus
  • Bryan Tillman
    Associate Professor
    Montgomery College, RV campus
    Arts & Design Professional
    CEO/owner – Kaiser Studio Productions
  • R. Scott Hengen
    Technical Theatre Professor
    Production Coordinator
    Montgomery College, RV campus

Here is the PowerPoint for the above Workshop 2.

Our third and final workshop in this year’s series was held on March 23, 2023, “Delve into the Arts – A Peer to Peer Discussion” with MC students in Visual, Media & Performing Arts Programs at Montgomery College.  This program was open to our ACES high school students who are considering coming to Montgomery College and joining the Arts program (Visual, Media, or Performing Arts).

Together with our collaborators from USG/ACES Career Readiness Team, our “Arts & Culture” plan was to have present MC Arts students in the Visual, Performing, & Broadcast/Media Arts degree programs, present their educational experience, and the curriculum focus in their arts genre.  I interviewed the students as to how they “walked across the bridge” from high school to MC…and they shared their journey that included being unsure of the major they were going to declare that first semester while at MC.  All 7 of the MC Arts students shared their complete joy and dedication to the MC program, specifically because of the quality of the professors, the small/intimate class sizes which enhanced the professor/student support, the internships they are introduced to by the faculty and chairs, and the camaraderie of the student body in each program.

Our high school ACES audience got to ask questions about what they were concerned/frightened about – not having experience in visual/technology arts (animation, sequential art), and left the zoom with more of a confidence that they could definitely join any of the arts programs, and get the skills needed to have the curriculum and excellent nurturing by the team of professors.  Please note that the chairs of the programs who spoke in workshop 2 (see above) also attended to give support and clarity to the questions from their perspective.

Here is the PowerPoint for the above workshop.

As the program continues this coming year (Year 7- 2023-2024), we hope to continue to present even more effective and meaningful programs that will be there to support the students and bring clarity to their educational and career journeys in the arts.

Our program would simply not exist if it were not for the generous spirit of the performing and visual arts organizations who graciously donated complimentary and/or discounted tickets to our program. We invite you to visit them and experience their expertise and community spirit by supporting their many extraordinary offerings! You will not be disappointed!

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