Kickstarter: A place to inspire and be inspired

(Google images)

Kickstarter is one of my favorite sites to visit for a little inspiration. This innovative platform allows people to spread the word about their project or idea and raise the funds to see it come to life.

Everyone is encouraged to use Kickstarter. Musicians, artists, filmmakers, designers, illustrators, etc. can use Kickstarter’s tools to create campaigns and watch as they gain backers and supporters.

There’s a few rules and guidelines, but once your video is up and running your project has the potential to be fully funded.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration or looking to inspire, Kickstarter lets you take a look at innovative and creative projects happening all over.

Search by city and you can see what’s going on right in Baltimore.

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Shuttle Spotlight: Annual Lighting of the Washington Monument

Thanksgiving dinners, Black Friday deals, holiday music constantly running on your Pandora are just a few subtle reminders that the holiday season is in full swing!  The weather may not be best, but one of my favorite things about the holidays is celebrating traditions – cooking great recipes, spending time with family and friends, decorating, etc.

Baltimore definitely embraces the power of tradition through many events – one of which is the lighting of the Washington Monument, an event put on by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts.  In the past, there have been performances from our amazing and talented students from the Peabody Conservatory, some kind words from our Mayor, a fireworks show, and of course the key and most important component, the official lighting of the Washington Monument.

Clear your calendars on December 1 and head down to Mount Vernon Place (600-700 block of Charles St) and be part of an annual Baltimore tradition.  The program officially starts at 5:30 PM, with the official lighting slated to occur at around 7:45 PM.

How do you get there – easy peasy!  Take the Collegetown Shuttle to Penn Station and transfer onto the Charm City Circulator’s Purple Route and take it down to stop #314.

Check out some of my pictures from years past.  Hope to see you there this year!

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For now, this is Ankur….

Signing off!

Shuttle Spotlight: Freefall Baltimore

The leaves are changing colors, it’s getting a little cooler, and professors are piling on the projects, quizzes, and homework, BUT one thing doesn’t change:  we ALL need a little escape every now and again to add a little spice to our lives.   The best part is, you can find lots of activities to participate in at minimal or no cost to you.  Every October,  the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts (BOPA) brings you Freefall Baltimore!  It’s a month long calendar of activities designed to increase access and interest to the arts and cultural attractions we have in Charm City!

We may be approaching the end of the month and thinking about Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and how to ring in 2012 with a bang (Lightbulb:  future blog posting!), but I highly recommend adding some of these destinations to your Baltimore Bucket List (Yes, there is such a thing).  I’ve had stellar experiences at destinations such as the Windup Space, CenterStage, American Visionary Art Museum, Walters Art Museum, and Reginald F. Lewis Museum (just to name a few).

If I could choose one event to attend in the last few days of Freefall Baltimore, I would go for the ballroom dancing classes at Johns Hopkins University ROTC Building at the intersection of 39th and University Parkway taking place this Friday at 8 PM.  Live out your Dancing with the Stars fantasy (wait is that only me?) and learn how to rumba, waltz, and tango and above all step out of your comfort zone.  I can even minimize my gas and parking costs by taking the Collegetown Shuttle to the JHU stop and walk a few blocks north on Charles St and west on University Parkway.

If dancing isn’t your thing, don’t worry about it.  Visit http://www.freefallbaltimore.com and find something that gets you excited.

For now, this is Ankur….

Signing off….

Getting ready for Artscape

This Friday kicks off Artscape, America’s largest free arts festival right here in Baltimore. The streets will be filled with sculptures, vendors, crafts, music, and so much more to keep you coming back for more.

July 15-17
Mt. Royal Ave | North Charles Street

Who’s taking the stage at Artscape, take a listen.

The Arts are on the Rise in Baltimore City Public Schools!

Last Thursday we attended the Arts Everday Summit and were impressed and excited to see that there is a movement starting to get the arts more involved in Baltimore City Public Schools.

The goal of the summit was to come up with strategies on how to engage students in learning through arts integration. Arts integration involves students learning the normal curriculum through arts-based exercises. For example, students could learn about the society of Ancient Rome by writing and performing a play all about the Romans lives. The new group Arts Everyday, that sponsored the summit, works to achieve this in classrooms throughout Baltimore and hopes to make such arts-exercises a part of daily education here in Baltimore.

The summit opened with a morning of speakers. And not just your normal ho-hum rah-rah arts speakers, but speakers with credible knowledge in the field and a passion for seeing this kind of initiative succeed. Dr. Alonso, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools came to express his interest in supporting the arts and helping to achieve more arts integration into curriculum. We heard from Sir Ken Robinson, a long-time expert in the field who was hilariously witty, and full of interesting insight into how to improve the way children are educated. We also heard from Paul King, who shared his experiences beginning an arts initiative in the New York City Public Schools and seeing it be a rousing success.

Over lunch the attendees, which were hundreds of people strong, were split into breakout groups to discuss ideas and strategies for how to take the ideas and passion from the summit and apply it in the schools. The conversation was very engaging and each question sparked additional ideas and development. Everyone seemed truly determined to see this plan succeed and to actually get arts into the schools. It would be impossible to list all the ideas that were developed in our group alone in this short space, but if our group was any indication, we are sure that there were hundreds of wonderful and realistic ideas and action plans brainstormed in that seemingly short hour.

When the group convened the general ideas that the different break-out groups had come up with were discussed on a general level and our speaker for this session, Russell Granet (Founder of Arts Education Resource) demonstrated with real-life examples how arts integration can actually improve the school lives of children in Baltimore.

Overall the day was an amazing experience. It was inspiring to see the overwhelming support for getting the arts into schools from both the schools and the arts organizations throughout the city. If this day is any indication of the future of Baltimore schools, than we are very optimistic about where the schools are headed.