Amplify US! Performances Explore Home and Identity

Since 2008, we have worked closely with creative youth in East County to transform outdoor environments into great examples of community teamwork and local pride. You might remember the Turning Point mural and our now-famous mosaic staircases.

Earlier this year, we hosted storytelling Open Mic Nights at Mankira Coffee in East County in collaboration with our amazing partners, IMPACT Silver Spring and ClancyWorks Dance. More recently, we joined forces with Strathmore Music Center, Arts Midwest, Story Tapestries, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Montgomery County Media, and Friends of the Library, to produce four Amplify US! performances on themes of home and identity. In these fun and inspiring youth performances, participants shared their personal stories through storytelling, slam poetry, hip-hop, and visual arts. The power of sharing stories and the synergies in our common goals for Amplify Us! were a great opportunity for East County youth and a chance for us to engage more deeply with the community and launch our latest project.          

This summer, with support from a Neighborhood Matching Funds Grant, we will host a Summer Fun Arts Camp at the East County Community Center and a series of pop-up events, like a summer movie series at Edgewood Park and more Open Mic Nights at Mankira Coffee. Combining the community storytelling experiences of Amplify Us! and Open Mic nights with the sponsorship of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, we will again create a youth-driven public artwork in East County. This artwork will be similar to the piece created last summer for the Maydale Nature Center with one very large exception: the entire community will be involved.

During Summer Fun Camp, youth and community will lead the creation of a permanent artwork at the East County Community Center that celebrates the strengths of East County. This work of art will reflect community members of all ages through a series of locally held charrettes, on the street interviews, and online surveys. The team of youth leaders, with guidance from an AOB and IMPACT Silver Spring staff member will garner design ideas from the input results and then present those to area residents. The final result will be another stunning mural that tells the collective story of the East County community and it’s myriad of wonderful cultures, colors, and creeds. Learn more about this community partnership and see examples of mural from other places that are inspiring the creative team.