GOLD2023

Arts on the Block

Creative youth and emerging artists make public art, contribute to their communities, join the creative workforce, and design the future.

aka Arts on the Block   |   Silver Spring, MD   |  www.artsontheblock.com

Mission

Arts on the Block (AOB) empowers creative youth to imagine and shape fulfilling futures, join the creative workforce, and contribute to the quality of life in our communities. AOB achieves its mission by providing real-world experiences in the arts and entrepreneurial training geared toward opening new pathways to learning and achievement. A nonprofit social enterprise with a nearly 20-year history in the DC region, AOB is the longest running hands-on art apprenticeship program offering youth and young adults the opportunity to learn about art, design, and business by engaging them in paid public art commissions. We recruit, train, and place young people with art and design aptitudes who are not ordinarily introduced to entry-level jobs and career paths in the creative industries.

Ruling year info

2009

Interim Executive Director

Mr. Christopher Barclay

Deputy Director

Clayton Evans

Main address

900 Wayne Avenue Suite 1A

Silver Spring, MD 20910 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

64-0958139

NTEE code info

Business, Youth Development (O53)

Visual Arts Organizations (A40)

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

AOB continuously delivers exceptional arts-based programming, supplies talented and well-trained candidates to the creative workforce, and meets our community impact and funding goals. The strength of our apprenticeship model allows for much of this success. As the organization has grown, we have found practical methods to integrate community development into our work in a way that mirrors best practices in the professional fields of public art and urban planning. What began as a job-readiness program focused on providing youth with exposure to entrepreneurial practice has turned into a civic-minded effort to encourage positive work and life trajectories in hundreds of participants; develop community leadership; and transform the designed environment in multiple schools and neighborhoods over the long term. Moreover, our innovative business model carefully balances real-world projects and revenue-generating commissions with the positive youth development goals central to our mission.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Apprentice Program- TAP

TAP is the only creative industries career-focused apprenticeship in the DMV offering emerging creatives who face multiple barriers to career entry the opportunity to take measurable steps toward their chosen art and design careers. Apprentices are commissioned by public, private, and corporate clients to create large-scale public art commissions while learning to engage the creative economy and:
Developing professionalism through client relationship management;
Mastering technical skills while empowering creativity and critical problem solving;
Collaborating in project management and team building; and
Integrating methods of community development, urban planning, and public art.
Further, youth meet critical job-readiness milestones, including: resume writing and business communications workshops; mock interviews held with design professionals; real-world networking with regional business leaders; and site visits to working studios, design labs, and corporate offices.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Young adults

YAM was initially piloted as a critical, digital creative connection for school-aged children and families living in East Montgomery County neighborhoods to address the immediate social equity and learning gaps experienced by low-income and immigrant youth, and exacerbated by COVID-19. Now a permanent dual-language program, AOB provides the technology, art materials, online studio platform, and English/Spanish teaching necessary for YAM participants to collaboratively create hands-on art projects while practicing scientific inquiry using play-oriented methods designed to support social and emotional capacities of young learners; improve learning and language engagement; bridge the digital divide throughout the online school year; reinforce the STEM + Arts learning goals of MCPS; and provide a restorative family experience that encourages creative play on and off-screen.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
At-risk youth
Immigrants
Children
People of Latin American descent

Creative pre-professionals design their futures-
Studio Crew positions afford part-time employment opportunities to work alongside professional artists on increasingly complex public and private commissions. Studio crew members also receive on-the-job training to explore and build on their managerial and technical skills, including advanced production and installation; studio teaching; digital communications; product design, retail marketing, and merchandising; and gallery management.
The young adults on our studio crew (after TAP) receive continued career path support intended to bridge future full-time work and learning opportunities. While with AOB, they receive 1 to 1 mentorship and the professional experience and skill development required to lead in the creative economy. As they seek full-time employment, they carry with them the 21st Century skills other employers need and a supportive network committed to their immediate upward mobility and long term path toward success.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Young adults
Multiracial people
People of African descent
Intersex people

Where we work

Awards

One of the Best Small Charities in the Greater Washington Region 2012

Catalogue for Philanthropy

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AOB programs empower youth by providing studio training and career path supports to strengthen developmental assets, social skills, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities; encourage relationships with peers from different cultures and backgrounds; and bolster the STEAM learning objectives of public schools. The hands-on skills and self confidence gained through our programs prime youth for successful futures while contributing to the quality of life in their communities and connecting to opportunities to join the creative workforce. For all AOB programs, our goals are that youth become conscious and skilled creators of future opportunities in education, careers, and life; responsible and respectful adults and effective team members and leaders; and active contributors to their communities and society.

Arts on the Block (AOB), with 19 years of service in Montgomery County and the region, annually engages more than 400 youth in creative entrepreneurship programs through the work of our professional nonprofit mosaic studio. Teenagers and young adults compete for spots on our studio crew, learn the creative practice and technical skills to build mosaics, and acquire business skills and pre-professional experience through an apprenticeship model that supports the artistic growth and skill development of these emerging art & design professionals. AOB apprentices lead all our commissions, learning to manage the entire life-cycle of a creative product. They work directly with AOB clients to: understand their needs; plan, schedule, and budget the project; receive feedback, improve designs, and execute quality control processes; collaborate in creative teams; and realize each project to installation. Today, more than 150 AOB artworks are installed throughout the region and our alumni serve as a strong network of artists, architects, urban planners, educators, and business people.

AOB recently signed a long-term subsidized lease with Montgomery County on a 4,000 sf space that will allow us to double the size of our studio and open a new gallery and store in a coveted, highly-visible location on the first floor of the Silver Spring Library. The lease terms allow AOB to occupy the space for 20 years, ensuring our long term stability, bolstering our presence in the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District, and expanding our reach in the region. As new neighbors to the Library, the Levine School of Music and Gandhi Brigade Youth Media, we will form a multi-disciplinary cultural hub intended to serve the community as an anchor and destination for creative youth.
With this move, AOB will overcome the primary barriers to participation in our programs: transportation and ADA access to our current facility. We have outgrown our much-loved Kensington studio, located in a hard-to-reach warehouse with just one office, a small studio, minimal storage, one bathroom, and ADA accessibility only through a back door. Designed by Hickok Cole Architects, our new space includes a large mosaic workshop, a digital design studio, a gallery and retail storefront, and administrative offices made accessible to the greater regional community by public transportation.

In FY 22, our art apprentices in the teen apprenticeship program have had their work with Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) expanded with 12 new mosaic sidewalk murals added to our existing scope of work on the US 29 Bus Rapid Transit route between the Silver Spring Transit Center and the Burtonsville Park-and-Ride. Apprentices met with MCDOT clients, produced multiple design drafts for each transit stop site, facilitated the selection process, and have produced eight of the selected works.

We are the grateful recipient of an Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County contract to restore the iconic Silver Pass I & II mosaic murals we installed in 2006. Conservator Howard Wellman helped AOB assess the damage and design a solution to future rain exposure. AOB crew have completed half the mosaic repair and restored pieces will be reinstalled this spring.

AOB has also secured multiyear commissions from Lerner Development for the Black Hill project in Germantown and from JPMorgan Chase for exterior and interior murals on new bank branches in the DMV.

In Fall 2018, we expanded our community programs to four middle schools through the Collaboration Council’s Excel Beyond the Bell program- Neelsville, Roberto Clemente, Argyle, and Col. E. Brooke Lee. Following the end of a pilot program for the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation, we continue to support an after-school art club at Briggs Chaney Middle School. In these inquiry-based programs, youth learn about and develop skills in multiple artistic disciplines and use those skills to explore their identities; relate to peers; examine important school and community issues; and design, plan, and produce community art projects to address those.

In October 2018, AOB installed the rain garden in the Carroll Avenue/Quebec Terrace neighborhood of Silver Spring. Part of our 10-year arts-integrated collaboration with YMCA Youth and Family Services and the University of Maryland, the rain garden is a learning landscape that provides STEAM-based programs to help local middle-schoolers become stewards of the natural environment and their communities.

The AOB board and team are currently focused on:

Rapidly expanding our studio crew, refining teaching studio process and procedure, producing multiple large-scale projects, and preparing to run programs and maintain production schedule in the new space;
Fund development, financial and operational preparation for studio expansion;
Establishing and renewing stakeholder relationships in Silver Spring; staying connected with our community program stakeholders; and connecting to the larger creative community in advance of opening; and
A cost-effective studio buildout and open that improves program delivery, strongly positions AOB with the community, and maintains the inclusivity of the organization.

Financials

Arts on the Block
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Arts on the Block

Board of directors
as of 02/07/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr Jason Hofberg

BDO, USA LLP

Lucia Tang

Hickok Cole

Beth Perell

John Griffin

BDO, USA, LLP

Wendy Dinova-Wimmer

Adobe

Alina Alekseyev

Hess Construction

Dr. Shari Garmise

Shareem King

BDO USA, LLP

Frederick Smith

Mastercard

Rose Jaffe

Idris Aguerro

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/30/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data