Earlier this year, Takoma Park residents received a colorful brochure in the mail with photos of dancers, artists, poets, musicians and more, advertising something called “We Are Takoma.” Many thought, “This looks like fun, but what is it?”
A week long celebration that never ended
In 2010 the city completed renovations of the municipal building. The centerpiece of the project was the refurbished council chambers, with new, state-of-the-art audio and lighting equipment and decorative fabric sound panels bedecked with vintage images of historic Takoma Park.
According to Housing and Community Development Director Sara Daines, local business owners David Eisner of the House of Musical Traditions and Charlie Pilzer of Airshow (recording studio) proposed a week-long festival to mark the occasion. The celebration, called “We Are Takoma,” highlighted Takoma Park’s status as an artistic mecca, and featured musicians, dancers, artists and poets. It was so successful that the city decided to extend the celebration indefinitely and established the We Are Takoma series to provide “affordable cultural events that are accessible to everybody,” said Emily Cohen, who does programming and publicity for the series.
The auditorium now hosts regular concerts, readings, dance programs and storytelling events, and visitors to the community center are now treated to colorful and sometimes moving art gallery offerings. One of the most popular events so far this year was “Colors of India,” a music and dance event celebrating Holi, the Indian festival of color.
Folk Divas, Memories and Saucy Sailors
This month’s art installation is called “Memories” and features artwork by Takoma Park-connected artists who have died. The next musical event is a double bill concert with Takoma Park singer-songwriter Lisa Moscatiello and Chris Seibert Noyes, a renowned singer and guitarist from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The following week, on April 12, the City will present”Hello, Sailor,” its first-ever, uncensored, adults only, Bawdy Songs concert, with Jennifer Cutting, Stephen Winick, Riki Schneyer and Craig Williams. For more information on this and other programs, see the We Are Takoma page on the City’s website: http://www.takomaparkmd.gov/arts