From Apprentice to Artist to Businesswoman

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After uploading a teaser of photos from a recent engagement shoot to her Facebook page, Evelyn Alas checks another five star review for her business.  Evelyn is making her mark on the commercial photography world, but she made her mark on the Arts on the Block family first.

Evelyn was one of the apprentice artists during AOB’s very first year.  While an apprentice, Evelyn learned job skills through the arts and worked on commissions for real clients.  Evelyn worked on a project called “Unsung Heroes” that depicted real and metaphoric figures pertinent to the development of Silver Spring in life-sized mosaic forms.  Evelyn learned from AOB lead artist Carien Quiroga to appreciate the nuances of creating public art.

Evelyn also enjoyed the field trips to local art studios and museums that exposed her to different mediums and styles.  “Not everyone’s going to be a fine art painter and stay with it.  There’s public art, graphic design, poetry,” Evelyn explains, “It’s not just creating your own art, it’s creating art for other people.”  This philosophy guided Evelyn well as she built her business.  Evelyn Alas Photography specializes in weddings, engagement shoots, and special events.  When asked what draws her to photography, Evelyn answers, “The ability to tell a story with an image without using words.” Evelyn’s passion fueled her drive to pursue a future and business in art.

Evelyn used what she learned from AOB to succeed at the University of Delaware, where she earned her BFA in Photography and minor in art history.  There, Evelyn strengthened her ability to articulate her artistic process. It can be difficult to stand out in a field where customers are driven by budget and not necessarily quality.  To showcase her assets, Evelyn utilizes those same skills she developed with AOB.  “I try to explain [to clients] the background to my art.  I don’t have a cookie cutter formula for their wedding or event. I take into consideration who they are and how they want to be represented,” Evelyn says confidently.

“I can be very creative in wedding portraits, that’s something that’s caught people’s attention when they see that I do things a little different.”

Evelyn’s work has indeed been turning heads, like at a recent Peter Pan inspired wedding, featured on Style Me Pretty.

AOB often hires Evelyn to photograph some of their ongoing projects and finished products.  “It’s been amazing that Arts on the Block continues to help and support me.  It’s kind of full circle, this relationship that we have,” Evelyn reflected.  She has these words of wisdom for our current apprentices and all young people looking to pursue a career in the arts: “Any learning experience, either work related or in general, is valuable and you should treasure that. “Don’t be trapped or single minded, be open to exploring other mediums. Soak in what other people teach you.”

You can find Evelyn Alas Photography on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the company website.

There isn’t much of 2013 left, so we ask that you make a donation before the new year to guarantee that Arts on the Block will be able to keep making a difference in the lives of young artists, just like Evelyn.

World of Fun at World of Montgomery

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Arts on The Block was thrilled to join in the fun at World of Montgomery 2013, presented by The KID Museum and Montgomery County, Maryland! We braved the wind in Wheaton on Sunday, October 20 to be a part of the Mosaic Community Booth at the heart of the festival.  We brought our mosaic base, tons of ceramic tiles, some adhesive and a lot of enthusiasm to make a community mosaic! Those that stopped by were encouraged to contribute to the project by placing tiles along the sketch that Arts on the Block Teaching Artist, Natalie Ramirez, sketched out.  Arts on the Block VISTA, Lily Ross, helped Natalie guide visitors in the mosaic making process.

The Mosaic Community Booth was the perfect spot to watch the parade that showcased area groups from different cultures.  The music and dance performances on both festival stages enthused visitors as they milled from booth to booth.  We met lots of wonderful people and families.  Some had a longstanding appreciation for the arts, some were just dabbling for the day, but everyone had fun! Impromptu artists from young to old (and everywhere in between) helped to bring the mosaic to life. Some were shy and some were unsure, but everyone soon learned that a mosaic is just a puzzle with no right or wrong answer!

The mosaic’s design was an extension of this year’s festival theme: water being essential to life.  A faucet releases the earth in a drop of water that makes its way to a drinking glass, symbolizing the right of every person to clean drinking water.  What started out as a chalk drawing quickly turned into beautiful proof of the power of community.

Thank you to everyone that helped make World of Montgomery possible;  we had a great time! Thank you to all of the community members and visitors that spent their day with us. We couldn’t have made our mosaic without you!

 Comment and tell us what your favorite part of the festival was and check out the Arts on the Block Calendar to see where we’ll take our art next!

Mini Faire, Big Art

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On the very bright and summery September 29, hundreds of families flocked to downtown Silver Spring to check out the Mini Maker Faire, presented by KID Museum.  Arts on the Block joined in the fun with a booth where “makers” of all ages could create their own mini-mosaic or add tiles to a one-of-a-kind community mural!

Parents, grandparents, and children — anyone tall enough to reach the table — took part in the hands-on arts experience under the skillful direction of AOB’s David Silva and David Ronquillo.



Visitors completed the mural before the end of the day,  but Silva and Ronquillo kept finding innovative ways to create mosaics.

We loved being surrounded by so many creatives and having fun with so many friends, both old and new!

Thank you to everyone that made the Silver Spring Mini Maker Faire possible and to everyone that came by our booth!

Did you miss the fun? Do you want to help with another AOB mosaic? Visit out booth at the World of Montgomery Festival in Wheaton on October 20!


Wine Tasted — Thanks for a Great Night!

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Arts on the Block Day ended with a wonderful night, filled with friends, fun, and of course wine.  Thanks to all of our wonderful supporters of community development through the arts, we were able to celebrate our 10th anniversary in style! Here are just a few of the thank yous we are bursting at the seams to share:

Thank you to our amazing Board of Directors for organizing the event and for their continued support.

Thank you to our numerous sponsors for being so supportive of community development through the arts.  Thank you to our Champagne Sponsor: Rex Smith.  Thank you to our Pinot Noir Sponsors: Apex Home LoansConfidence TitleSchaefer Financial Group, Inc.Triton Wealth Management; and Visionary Ophthalmology.  Thank you to our Chardonnay Sponsors: Backyard BountyElite Kitchens; Don & Ann Hague; The Martin Insurance Agency, Inc.Siemens; and Zipin Law Firm.

Thank you to our In-Kind Sponsors: The Bottle ShopThe Bean BagLe Pain Quotidien; Honest Tea; and La Prima Catering.

Thank you to Garrett Park Town Hall for allowing us to host our celebration in such a beautiful space.

Thank you to Charlie Plunkett and his band for providing melodious entertainment.

Thank you to Sarah Bryen and Scott Shenton for putting the program and silent auction list together.

Thank you to our volunteers: Lendeh Sherman for her excellent photography and Maddie Palmieri, Geri Gotera, Sophie, and Leah Abrams.

Here is a sneak peak of pictures from the event.  Many more to come!DSC02071-e1379981875207-768x1024