Howard Avenue Open Studios

Written by Jan on . Posted in Events, Pour Your ART Out, Youth Apprentices

Howard Ave Studios Map

Click on the map for a larger version

Sunday, November 20th, 11am – 5pm
Arts on the Block Studio
4218 Howard Ave., 3rd Floor*
Kensington, Maryland

We are excited to be part of the Howard Avenue Open Studios Day taking place Sunday, November 20th. Visit the Studio anytime between 11 and 5 to check out our youth artists in action! Tour our space, meet our fabulous apprentice artists and staff, and learn more about the inner workings of AOB and our fantastic programs!

Help support our programs with a purchase of our youth artist created items! There will be work for sale and on display including:

  • Small and large decorative mosaic work
  • Mosaic pendants and keychains
  • Handmade greeting cards

Not able to come to the open studios? Consider supporting our programs with a donation during our Fall Campaign instead!

*Parking is available behind our building.

AND Don’t Forget to Spread the word!

Save the Date: AOB’s March Open House

Written by Jess on . Posted in Events, Pour Your ART Out, Youth Apprentices

March Open House!

Saturday, March 28th,12pm – 3pm
Arts on the Block Studio
4218 Howard Ave., 3rd Floor*
Kensington, Maryland

Visit the Studio on March 28th to tour our new space, meet our fabulous apprentice artists, make your own mosaic design, and learn more about AOB!

There will be work for sale including:

  • Small and large decorative mosaic work
  • Mosaic pendants and keychains
  • Handmade greeting cards

*Parking is available behind our building.

Spread the word!

In Our Midst: Ms. Aselin Lands

Written by Jan on . Posted in Board of Directors, Pour Your ART Out, Youth Apprentices

Aselin nowWe are fortunate to have recently welcomed to our Board of Directors Aselin Lands, a visual artist, award winning educator and AOB alumna. Currently, Aselin is in her second year as an art and computer applications teacher at Parkland Magnet Middle School for Aerospace Technology in Rockville, Maryland.  A member of the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Arts Collaboration,* Ms. Lands recently received the Maryland Art Education Association’s award as Novice Art Educator at the Middle School level for MCPS.

This artist who “thinks with her hands” and has been inspired most by Jackson Pollock, believes collaboration is the skill she learned during her time at AOB that is most applicable to her current work. “It is also a personal value of mine and it is embedded into my teaching philosophy,” she explains. In her classroom, she often discusses how art can be used to transform a community.  In addition, she endeavors her students with several collaborative projects to be installed around the school. Lands’ students work hard to be part of “something larger” and enjoy knowing that a great deal of people will see their work. Most recently, using her past travel to Athens as inspiration, she guided her students on creating an inspirational graffiti wall. As part of the design process they collaborated on one-word goal strategies — such as hardworking, focus, believe, and try — and held numerous discussions about graffiti and how it affects communities.

Aselin self-portrait

Ms. Lands’ message to today’s Pour Your ART Out apprentices is “Never doubt your abilities and always be open to taking the initiative.” She fondly remembers the large commission project she worked on while an AOB Apprentice Artist, the second phase of the expansive “Silver Pass” project in Silver Spring.  It was one of AOB’s first major public art projects, and encompassed much more work than the apprentices had anticipated. They made it through — often by singing plenty of songs — an insight worth sharing next time one navigates the underpass!  She stays in touch with her former AOB apprentices through social media and AOB events.

Prior to her work with MCPS, Lands spent several years at the Gary Rosenthal Collection in Kensington as a pivotal member of the glass art production and design team. She was “discovered” while an AOB Apprentice, after working with Suzanne Gartner and other Collection artisans, whose high praise is boundless.  During this time she also volunteered at Washington’s Children’s National Medical System in the Creative and Therapeutic Services Department, creating artwork with the patients in the emergency waiting room and dialysis ward. Lands also taught art to children of The Arc in their Town Hall Educational Recreation Center in a free Corcoran School of Art-sponsored after school program.

A Baton Rouge, LA native, Ms. Lands attended Benjamin Banneker Middle School and graduated from Springbrook High School in 2008  before obtaining a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts and Master’s of Arts in Teaching at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC in 2013.  When not inspiring today’s youth, Ms. Lands likes to travel, take hula, kickboxing and yoga classes, and of course create her own works of art. We are so happy to have her expertise and enthusiasm as we continue to help young people shape the future one art project at a time.

* a joint MCPS and Montgomery County Education Association organization dedicated to collaborative problem solving on visual arts interests

Click here for a recent video interview with Aselin.

Aselin -- standing, back row, center -- on an AOB field trip to Philadelphia, 2008.

Aselin — standing, back row, center — on an AOB field trip to Philadelphia, 2008.

On tour with fellow artists in Greece, 2014.

On tour with fellow artists in Greece, 2014.


How to Find Inspiration for Art in Your Surroundings

Written by Arts on the Block on . Posted in Pour Your ART Out, Uncategorized, Youth Apprentices

By: Apprentice Laura

Taking advantage of what’s around you is the best way to find inspiration.  Whether you have a piece of art you want to complete or a project that needs to get done, sitting staring at a blank sheet of paper isn’t always the right decision.  I have spent so much more time trying to think about what to draw, than actually drawing, and I have spent a lot of time looking for artistic inspiration.

Composition VIII by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923.  Picture courtesy of

Composition VIII by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. Picture courtesy of

The easiest thing to do is to look at what’s around you.  Even if that means just looking around the room, this especially helps me when designing something. Find an object, or look at a poster or painting and think about why that artist chose to make it look the way it looks, and what you personally would have done differently (color, shape, size, etc).  This could help you come up with your own ideas and designs. You could go even further and go somewhere.   Traveling and the places I have been make such a difference in my artwork.  Going to a museum and seeing collections by different artists, like seeing Kandinsky’s work at the Guggenheim, or seeing Monet’s paintings at the Louvre, can give you that boost and even help you decide what kind of artist style you have by comparing work by other artists.

Park Güell in Barecelona, Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.  Picture courtesy of

Park Güell in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Picture courtesy of

Personally, I find inspiration in architecture.  It might sound strange, but one of my favorite things to do is stare at buildings; everything is so thought out and precise. It has a function but can also be beautiful, such as homes designed by Victor Horta or Frank Lloyd Wright, or a whole park created by Gaudí.  They all have the same task at hand, but each person manages to create something unique.  Either way, it always manages to give me some kind of idea.

Another way to use your surroundings is to find people.  Find someone to talk to and ask them about their artwork and what they think of your artwork.  Everyone sees art differently and getting a different perspective or opinion will always help.  I think young artists should go out, see as much as they can, talk to people, and continue to build an inner archive of impressions.  Ultimately, we are a reflection of this around us, but artists hopefully can reflect that vision to create art.

photo (2)Laura is a Winter/Spring 2014 Pour Your ART Out apprentice.  Laura has been surrounded by art and architecture ever since her parents forced her on endless family vacations to see historic buildings.  As she grew older, she started to resent them less for taking her to these places and actually started enjoying these trips to castles and fortresses. While not busy, she likes to read and mindlessly watch TV.  She also has a bad habit of drawing all over everything.  Laura is originally from Glasgow, Scotland, but currently lives in Maryland.


ARTpreneurs: Taking Care of Business

Written by admin on . Posted in ARTpreneurs, Pour Your ART Out, Projects and Programs, Youth Apprentices

Our ARTpreneurs are primed and practiced and ready to hit the professional world running with their art.  These high school students turned professional artists spent six weeks learning about art, job skills and entrepreneurship.  Their “final exam” took place at Fenton Street Market in Silver Spring.  The apprentices set up a booth filled with mosaic luminaries, pendants, handmade cards and more July 25 and August 2.

Artpreneurs Harpreet, Wuri, and McKay are all smiles after a successful market day.

ARTpreneurs Harpreet, Wuri and McKay are all smiles after a successful market day.

The hours of hard labor, the countless lessons spent planning every single detail, all those extra early mornings working, it all paid off on Saturday at Fenton Street Market. People bustled in and out of our booth, many stopping to look through our original watercolor cards, as well as glancing over handcrafted mosaic pendants.”  -Maddie P.

The ARTpreneurs workshop is for Montgomery County high school students who have a passion for art.  Participants learn every step of the artistic process, from planning and creating artwork, to pricing and selling their finished pieces. ARTpreneurs is currently supported by grants from the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and the Donors InVesting in the Arts (DIVA) Giving Circle of the Community Foundation for Montgomery County. The ARTpreneurs used everything they learned to reel in customers and sell their goods at the market.  Students from local non-profit, Docs in Progress, stopped by to film the Arts on the Block booth and interview our apprentices.

Artpreneurs Fenton Street Market Docs in Progress

“Our booth attracted many customers because it was colorful and eye catching. The market was a great thing to experience because it gave us a preview of what it is like to work in an actual store and to engage conversations with people.” –Alexandra O.

The apprentices displayed their mosaic pendants and lamps in the Arts on the Block booth.

The apprentices displayed their mosaic pendants and lamps in the Arts on the Block booth.

Our apprentices had the opportunity of learning about the business side of art from Entrepreneurship Educator, Derek Sontz.  Derek, Founder and Principal Consultant at, helped guide  conversations about the AOB booth’s strengths and weaknesses between the two market days.

“Weather can be a fantastic advantage or a horrible inconvenience. We were amazingly fortunate the first day when it was 80 degrees and sunny with the perfect amount of breeze. The market was packed and most people were already in a good mood, making selling and attracting customers fairly easy. The second day, we weren’t so lucky. It rained on and off while the air was hot and humid.” -Tara C.

Our apprentices proved their creativity when the raindrops started coming down by turning trash bags into waterproof fashion statements.

Our apprentices proved their creativity when the raindrops started coming down.   They made trash bags into waterproof fashion statements.

“The Fenton Street market was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about the business aspect in the days leading up to the market. Learning how to properly price items was definitely one of the most important lessons we learned prior to the market.” -Yodit K.

For more information about Pour Your Art Out and our ARTpreneurs Workshop, visit

What advice would you give to our young professionals?  Comment below and share your experiences and expertise.