Community pARTnerships

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Community pARTnerships is a program in which AOB partners over several years with strong Montgomery County communities to engage middle and high school youth in creating works of art and design that address their communities’ needs.

How do Community pARTnerships work?

The goal of each pARTnership is to work together with community members in empowering and nurturing civic leadership of youth in their community. Using the proven approaches from our existing programming (Pour Your ART Out, Common Ground, and Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace), AOB works in partnership with community leaders and young people to:

  • create a multi-year master plan
  • lead community-wide meetings to discover needs and goals for the future
  • initiate an Artist Apprenticeship program for youth
  • create on-site art and design projects within the scope of the master plan that positively impact the neighborhood
  • recruit other community and youth leaders for participation.

How did Community PARTnerships come about?

Community pARTnershps was created out of the success of our programming at the Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace community, where we have been working with community members and the YMCA Youth and Family Services for the last five years. Together, we created on-site art projects that are not only visually transforming the neighborhood, but are increasing perceptions of safety and strengthening community bonds. As this engagement comes to a close, we created Community pARTnerships to improve upon the model for future community arts projects in other communities.

How does art and design address need?

Each community has unique needs, assets, and goals for the future. AOB works with community leaders to start a community-wide dialogue to ensure projects are meaningful and create positive change for those who live in the area.

At Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace, for example, neighbors expressed that the community does not feel safe at night because of poor lighting. The projects therefore address perceptions of safety by improving lighting, creating clearly visible mosaic address plaques that emergency services and visitors can easily see at night, and transforming a major thoroughfare (a pair of outdoor staircases) from a gang members’ gathering place to a safe community gathering space for families to enjoy. Check out the Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace page for images and stories.

How does AOB choose which communities to partner with?

AOB uses metrics that weigh feasibility and need to determine a list of potential partner communities across Montgomery County. Through community visits, speaking with community leaders and organizations, reviewing survey responses, and having community roundtable discussions, AOB makes a partnership with one of the communities from the initial list.

An ideal partner community:

  • has safety concerns or need
  • demonstrates community leadership and action through an organized community leadership entity, such as a civic association
  • has a community center or collaborative space on-site for youth programming

In addition to identifying a neighborhood to work with, we are actively looking for partners such as community organizations, schools, local businesses, and officials, and are open to a variety of areas for collaboration.

Which communities is AOB working with now?

Our first Community pARTnership with the Carroll Avenue Quebec Terrace community inspired our expansion to other locations. Our most recent Community pARTnership with the Briggs Chaney community in East Montgomery County kicked off in the fall of 2015.

We will evaluate the possibility of another community expansion in September 2016, or as funding becomes available.

How can I get involved?

Are you interested in having Community pARTnerships in your neighborhood? Are you with an organization or business that is interested in partnering? Know a talented young person who would be interested in getting involved? Or are you just curious and want to learn more? AOB would love to hear your ideas, especially concerning potential partnerships! Contact us at aob@artsontheblock.com or 240-645-0730