Previous to taking time off to raise our son and seeing him through high school, I worked in the District for an international environmental firm which I thoroughly enjoyed. After residing in Germantown for quite a few years and before Germantown even had a “town center,” I was itching to live in an attractive town with some culture taking place. I clearly missed the city life even the Monday thru Friday part of it. So when the Germantown Gazette featured an article on the plans for a town center with an art center as the focus, I was elated and determined to be a part of it.
I followed the newspaper updates and in 2001 groundbreaking began for BlackRock Center for the Arts. There followed an article about a volunteer meeting in the old library across the street and I attended. My name was probably the first on the list and I began helping the preliminary staff with anything they needed months before the building was completed. I was thrilled to be in on the groundbreaking of something important that would become the center of Germantown.
I have logged in so many hours here over the years that I cannot count, but it has always been enjoyable. Initially we began the volunteer set-up with an Overall Volunteer Coordinator who oversaw the four volunteer leaders — one for the Performance Ushers, one for the Information Desk which was my job, one for Concessions and (believe it or not) one for the Box Office. As BlackRock grew, procedures and hierarchy has changed over the years, and now I put in several hours during the week as docent in the Kay Gallery and as usher for performances, which amount to maybe three or four performances a month.
The fact that BlackRock is a place where all the arts come together under one roof is very exciting to me and means there is a lot of opportunity to meet the rest of the townfolk and take part in many different activities throughout the year. I have taken classes as well as volunteering and brought my friends and family to the concerts and just love the way the center brings the whole town together during the summer outdoor concerts. Beside performances, there have been other cultural activities taking place throughout the year such as the Chinese New Year festival with art activities for the children which has been so much fun to help out with and see what the children are capable of producing.
Seeing so many cultures come together here at BlackRock has been an enjoyment for me and an opportunity for me to practice my language skills like Spanish while working at the front desk. I have met many wonderful people here and it has been the one place that brings Germantown together and makes me feel a part of belonging to a place.