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.


September Newsletter

Written by Jan on . Posted in Newsletters

News from Arts on the Block: fall edition
Dear Supporter,

Fall is in the air! It’s a favorite season around AOB — bright new faces abound and fresh artwork is underway.  Check out what we’ve been doing and what’s ahead — and don’t forget to Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay on top of All Things AOB!

Yours in art,

Jan Goldstein
Executive Director

Annual Wine Tasting is October 18

What would fall be without our annual AOB Wine Tasting Gala?  Spend a Saturday evening with friends old and new discovering new wines, shopping the silent auction, unleashing your inner mosaic artist and supporting the young people of AOB!  Join us from 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday, October 18 at the Johns Hopkins University Rockville Campus.Read more; buy tickets!

A Stellar Year for Common Ground

In April, County Executive Ike Leggett led Common Ground andtheir families in a series of projects for the Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace community. From the “Lighting the Way Home” prelude to the “Shine Bright” culminating event, the community received new mosaics, pop-up performances and a very special video. Read more, see event pics and watch “immigration Stories” here.

DC Debut for AOB a Resounding Success

Fifteen creative young people in DC’s Summer Youth Employment Program joined teaching artist Sonal Sheth and AOB alumna Danielle Hedquist in migrating our signature Pour Your ART Out workshop into the District this summer! Taking up residence at  Pepco’s Edison Place Gallery, they created beautiful address plaques, wall hangings and tables.  We were assisted by partnerships with Urban Alliance (job-readiness trainings), the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery (behind-the-scenes tours of exhibits and meetings with staff) and Urban Alliance (our intermittent host).

The project’s conclusion was celebrated in style August 7 by bringing together the DC and Montgomery County Pour Your ART Out apprentices and their families and more than 100 guests.  Many thanks again to our wonderful sponsors, partners, participants, staff, volunteers and guests for making this inaugural DC summer such a resounding success!

Welcome New Staff Members

AOB is pleased to announce the appointment of our first-ever Deputy Director, Clayton Evans. Clayton brings to our organization a wealth of experience in the arts and youth development, having spearheaded programs and organizations in and around New York City before moving to the DC area last year. We are also excited to welcome teaching artist Sarah Noreen Hurtt to AOB who masterfully led our Pour Your ART Out workshop in Kensington this summer, and other talented teaching staff who will be working with us beginning this fall. Read more!

Welcome to Our Newest Board Members

A thundering “welcome” to our newest board members Gianna Arnold of Saul Ewing LLP; Elizabeth Geare of Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. and AOB alumna Aselin Lands, art teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools.  A fond farewell to communications wizard John Boit, who is off to New England; we miss him already! Read more!
Apprentices in the Pour Your ART Out summer workshop in Kensington created these delightful mosaic stepping stones.  Wouldn’t they look great in YOUR yard? Bid on these and many more unique handcrafted items at the Wine Tasting silent auction on October 18!
Apprentice Allyson T.
Apprentice Justin H.
Apprentice Julia D.
Apprentice Jennifer E.
Apprentice Cerina J.
Apprentice Natasha S.
Connect with us!

4218 Howard Avenue, Suite 3A
Kensington, MD 20895


Second Annual Wine Tasting A Success!

Written by Jan on . Posted in Uncategorized

_DSC1703Our second annual Wine Tasting Gala went off with a bang this past Saturday, October 18 at John Hopkins University’s Rockville Campus. With the rich rhythms of Charlie Plunkett in the background, more than 100 of our closest friends and family enjoyed the flavorful wines, delectable foods and delightful conversation. Many thanks to our event sponsors whose generosity made the evening possible: Rex Smith of Hearts & Homes for Youth, Apex Home Loans, Kathy Lally, Gordon Architects, GPN Titles, June Linowitz and Howard Eisner, and Cady Susswein.

Our Silent Auction was also fully stocked with items ranging from mosaic light boxes to multi-media paintings, jewelry, sports paraphernalia, weekend getaways, self-pampering and more. A big thank you to our donors who provided these enticing array of prizes: AOB Art Apprentices, Total Wine, Elaj Aveda Day Spa, Homestead Bed and Breakfast, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Beer, Wine & Co., Westwood Aquarium, Sandi Cave, Nancy Weisser, Richard Dana, June Linowitz, Joan Samworth, Elizabeth Casqueiro, Gary Rosenthal, AOB Apprentices, Brodhead Flyfishers, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Wolfe Hockey, Imagination Stage, Pyramid Atlantic Art, Washington Nationals, Washington Redskins, Washington Capitals, Baltimore Orioles, SPAGnVOLA, Headlines Hair Design, Plaza Art, Gail Kaplan, Bethesda Dog, Cleverdog and Petsmart. And a big thank you to all who attended.

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.


March 2014 Newsletter

Written by admin on . Posted in Uncategorized

Telling stories, crossing cultures!

DSC_0322Small hands comb through piles of buttons, fabric, and trimmings to find just the right addition to their story.  One of AOB’s classes with Excel Beyond the Bell at Roberto Clemente Middle School debuted a new partnership during its second session. We teamed up with Art & Remembrance and award-winning storyteller Noa Baum to teach the importance of stories and how to translate them into art!

The students viewed the documentary, “Through the Eye of the Needle: the Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz,” about the woman who inspired the founding of Art & Remembrance.  Krinitz was a Holocaust survivor who created works of art out of fabric and embellishments to tell her story.  Students were guided by teaching artist Carien Quiroga in telling their own stories using similar materials.

Thank you to Art & Remembrance founder Bernice Steinhardt and Ms. Baum for  giving our students such a unique and rewarding experience.

Lighting ceremony to shine on Common Ground!

Frozen was the name of the game this winter.  But don’t worry, snow won’t freeze the arts!  “Lighting the Way Home,” the celebration for Common Ground‘s achievements in the Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace community, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 24.  The special event, filled with art, community, and light, was rescheduled due to inclement weather!  The collaborative team of “Common Ground” – Arts on the Block, YMCA Youth and Family Services, Imagination Stage, and Gandhi Brigade – are eager to share the accomplishments of the middle and high school participants including the beautifully crafted beautiful illuminated mosaic address signs that will make their debut at the event. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett will be among the speakers commending Common Ground for its important work in building community and growing creative young leaders!

For more information about “Lighting the Way Home” and Common Ground, please visit the Common Ground Blog.

Trading in the studio for a Baltimore art day!

On a cloudy Saturday in March, AOB’s apprentices went on a field trip to Baltimore and sampled the art the city has to offer!  One of our clients, United Therapeutics, sent our passionate young people on this excursion for the unique opportunity to see where their materials come from.  Our apprentices visited Maryland Mosaics, a mosaic supply company, and American Visionary Art Museum with Teaching Artist Sonal Sheth and her assistant Danielle Hedquist.  They saw tiles of all shapes, sizes, and materials and were able to engage with art in a new way.

“It was great to see the apprentices discover such interesting ways of creating art forms,” Danielle, herself a former PYAO apprentice, recalled.  “They got excited to see the different materials and maybe create something at home!”  Thank you to United Therapeutics, one of our clients, for sponsoring this educational and fun trip.

 Guess who’s expanding to DC!

AOB is expanding its signature program, Pour Your ART Out, to Washington, DC!  From July 8 – August 15, the Pepco Edison Place Gallery. will be transformed into a dynamic space where visitors can see a retrospective of AOB’s work over the past ten years and watch the creation of new works by apprentice artists for major sponsors.

PYAO-DC is in need of sponsors!  For more information about investing in creative young peopleplease email Jan Goldstein and watch our website for more information.

Staff farewell and welcome

With sadness we bid farewell to Mary Ngo, our steadfast operations director, whose efforts helped keep our ship afloat for the last two years.  Mary, who has been a friend and colleague for all 10+ years of our existence, is looking forward to staying closer to home and being available to her two (adorable) children while her husband is deployed overseas.  Our gratitude and best wishes to you, Mary!!!

And so we  welcome new office manager, Erin Murray, to the team!  Erin has her B.S. in Art History from Towson University and will begin earning her M.A. in Museum Studies at George Washington University this fall.  Additionally, we will be availing ourselves of Erin’s event planning and gallery operations experience for our Pour Your ART Out-DC program.  Welcome aboard, Erin!

Board transitions

At our board retreat earlier this month we welcomed three new members:  Chris Barclay, recent past president and current member of the Montgomery County Board of Education (and candidate for County Council); Montgomery College Instructor and AOB parent Francisco Orantes; and last but not least, returning board member/entrepreneur Debra Bowes.  We are thrilled to have such talented, dedicated, and enthusiastic new members providing leadership for the organization at this important time!

At our October meeting, we said goodbye to members John Barnes, who stood by AOB and guided our financial operations for over six years including several years as Board Treasurer; Kay Abrams, who shared her many talents with us including playing a pivotal role in our fundraiser last year; and Terry Roberts, who helped us navigate all things relating to our operations.  We thank each of you for your dedication and for so generously sharing yourselves with us!