AOB was founded in 2003 under the umbrella of Montgomery Youth Works (MYW), then a division of the Career Transition Center (CTC). AOB founder Jan Goldstein and her MYW colleagues modeled AOB after Chicago’s highly regarded “Gallery 37” program, initially offering a twice-annual, high-dosage job-training-through-the-arts program in downtown Silver Spring, MD. In 2008, members of the AOB advisory board voted to move the organization towards independence. By July 2009, AOB had separated from CTC, relocated its administrative and program headquarters to a Wheaton, MD facility and transitioned its advisory board to a fully functional board of directors. That same year AOB expanded from one to four programs. The job training workshop was re-named “Pour Your ART Out” (PYAO) and gave rise to a more ambitious and far-reaching initiative at Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace, described below. AOB continues to be honored by the Catalogue for Philanthropy as “One of the Best” community based not-for-profits serving the youth and communities of the Washington, DC area. In recognition of AOB’s 10th anniversary, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley designated September 21, 2013 as “Arts on the Block Day.” During the summer of 2014, AOB successfully launched a PYAO program in Washington, DC.
AOB now provides three dynamic direct service programs in multiple communities in and around the DC Metropolitan area for nearly 200 middle and high school youth per year, and one large-scale project in the Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace neighborhood of Silver Spring that is transforming a low-income community through art and design interventions. Our Community pARTnerships are bringing together neighborhood youth, local decision makers and community stakeholders to created on-site art projects that are not only visually transforming neighborhoods, but are also increasing perceptions of safety and strengthening community bonds.