COMMUNITY • BY ED LEVY
If you come across a free music or arts presentation in Silver Spring’s Veterans Plaza, chances are that Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. (SSTCI) and its Executive Director Lisa Martin had a lot to do with organizing the event. SSTCI is a non-profit, which plans 80 free programs each year in Silver Spring.
The programs cover the full range of musical styles, from World to Jazz and from Latino to Folk, with many more varieties. Regular programs include: Twilight Tuesday (music on Veterans Plaza), Wednesday night STARZ – local youth performers (also on the Plaza), a monthly film and lecture series, and SPARKLE – programs such as Laughing Yoga focused on area senior citizens.
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SSTCI co-sponsors with the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, the June 2, 2013, Taste the World in Fenton Village festival, with the participation of 26 area restaurants, free music, and a raffle.
SSTCI’s signature event, the 5th annual Silver Spring Blues Festival will take place June 15, 2013, 10 am – 9 pm on Veterans Plaza and at the Ellsworth Drive fountain. There will be a number of lead-up events starting June 10.
You can find Executive Director Martin cheerfully pulling up her Vespa scooter as she arrives at her office in the Silver Spring Civic Building. She explains that SSTCI’s mission is to provide a vibrant, inclusive and engaging community gathering place that enriches the lives of Silver Spring residents. Martin is a San Diego native who has been in the DC area since 1999. She served in the Peace Corps in Estonia and sings in a local Estonian language choir. She is also President of the DC chapter of Partnership of the Americas and recently visited Brasilia–our sister city in Brazil. She holds a Master’s in Performing Arts Management.
The SSTCI Board is led by President Brandon Felton of DC Public Access TV, Vice President David Fogel of Space 88, Treasurer Ethan Balis of Elysian Energy, and Secretary Wanda Whiteside of Live Garra Theatre.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and support SSTCI’s programs. For the upcoming Blues Festival, volunteers are needed for equipment set-up and food service, to provide hospitality for the performers, and to sell t-shirts. SSTCI also needs someone to serve as Stage Manager for the Tuesday and Wednesday evening performances, and to serve as its Webmaster. Ms. Martin said that the organization welcomes community suggestions regarding potential performers and other topics.
It’s amazing how much life there is in downtown Silver Spring at night thanks to SSTCI and other organizations. Come and be part of it!