Stephen R. McDow II Joins BlackRock Center Team Returning Home To The Arts

[REPOST From BlackRock Center For The Arts]

CONTACT: Amanda Russell Bradley: 240-912-1060;

Original Release


GERMANTOWN, MD- BlackRock Center for the Arts, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate, and engage in the arts, announces new leadership, CEO, Katie Hecklinger and Board Chair, Stacey Terry Ormsby. Further, the Board of Trustees welcomes media specialist Rebecca Castillo to the Board and Stephen McDow to the Leadership Team as the Community Engagement and Development Director. BlackRock continues to strengthen its leadership team with these additions, all of whom bring their skills and commitment to BlackRock’s mission of providing access to the arts for all. These changes will take effect immediately

BlackRock Center for the Arts acknowledges the incredible shoulders of leadership upon which we stand in our 20th year due to Lynn Andreas Arndt. Her vision and foresight not only sustained BlackRock but also established The UpCounty Hub. Arndt led through the pandemic with grace while encouraging us to still come together as a community safely and effectively. BlackRock would not be the same organization today without her guidance. 

Chief Executive Officer, Katie Hecklinger

Katie Hecklinger joined BlackRock in 2019 as Director of Education after more than 22 years as an educator, consulting teacher, curriculum developer, and Assistant Principal in the Montgomery County Public Schools. Katie’s significant contributions to MCPS included the creation of arts integration in “Curriculum 2.0,” serving on the equity and diversity task force, and ending her service with four years as Assistant Principal of Chevy Chase Elementary School. Katie joined BlackRock and immediately revitalized its educational programming, including the “BlackRock in a Box” program that delivered virtual arts education and supplies during the early days of the pandemic – reaching students with arts integrated literacy and well-being best practices. Katie has built strong partnerships with arts organizations to combine efforts in reaching a broader community, understanding that the arts are essential. Katie became Chief Program Officer in January of 2021 to oversee all gallery, educational, and performing arts programming at BlackRock. Katie looks forward to furthering BlackRock’s mission to make arts and art education accessible to all and to establishing BlackRock as a truly inclusive community resource in the region.

Katie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from University of Maryland College Park, a Master of Science degree in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University, and a Certification in Administration and Supervision from Johns Hopkins University. Katie recently completed the year-long Leadership Montgomery CORE program and has deep ties in the area, including being among the first graduating class at Quince Orchard High School. Katie serves on the Board of Trustees for two local communities, Darnestown Swim and Raquet Club, as well as the Barnesville School of Arts and Sciences. Katie is an accomplished classical voice performer, and sang with the Master Chorale of Washington, a symphonic choral ensemble in Washington, D.C. for 10 years. 

Board Chair, Stacey Terry Ormbsy

Stacey T. Ormsby is the Assistant General Counsel for Transactions for Montgomery County Public Schools. She is responsible for drafting, reviewing, and negotiating a wide variety of commercial agreements including licensing and technology agreements with a strong emphasis on data privacy, software licenses, and SaaS/Hosted/Cloud-based services. Stacey provides astute counsel to and in alignment with other MCPS departments with respect to assessing legal and strategic risks arising out of contemplated transactions. Prior to joining MCPS, she successfully operated a private law practice serving clients in Maryland and the District of Columbia, and made great strides in two international law firms.

Always dedicated to serving and building stronger communities, Stacey is a recent Leadership Montgomery graduate and an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.. She has served multiple terms as Commissioner for the Montgomery County Commission on Human Rights and volunteered as a Girl Scout troop leader, and performed in the woodwind section of the Montgomery Village Community Band. 

Community Engagement and Development Director, Stephen McDow

Stephen R. McDow II has over 15 years’ experience managing and leading stakeholder and public relations, community outreach, program development, and event management services to small businesses, start-ups, non-profits, and trade associations. His body of work delivers programs, education, outreach, and advocacy to rural and urban producers, innovators, and community leaders from diverse backgrounds. Stephen is an international speaker who advocates for economic justice for marginalized rural and urban communities. 

Stephen’s collaborative and creative spirit, along with his business acumen, has proven to be key components in his success with elevating membership and outreach programs. The arts community is home as he is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Great-Great Nephew of renowned artist Delilah W. Pierce, son of SAG/AFTRA actress Wanda L. Spence, and a former actor in Ed Bullins’ Black Theater Arts Group at Northeastern University. In his free-time, he works as lead archivist and spokesperson for the Delilah W. Pierce Collection, produces and co-hosts Bi-Polar Girl Podcast, and sits on the board of a social and economic justice non-profit (CooperationWorks!).  

Board Member, Rebecca Castillo

Rebecca Castillo is a leader in the Latinx community and a media journalist. Her vision for BlackRock is to make it a staple building in the community and have it grow into a nationally-recognized organization. Rebecca Castillo is  an owner, producer, and host of a radio station by the name of RADIO EXITOS INOLVIDABLES. She also produces, edits, and hosts Celebrating the Arts, an interview series that invites artists from all around the world to not only share their stories and experiences, but also share their contributions to the importance of the arts in their communities. 

Says Board Chair, Stacey T. Ormsby, Esq., “I’m so very excited that on the cusp of our 20th Anniversary, BlackRock is embarking on a new journey with its leadership. When I think about the future of BlackRock and the arts community, it is important that leadership represents and reflects the people in the community, which is why I am proud to serve in this capacity. I’m very eager to see what we can accomplish together.”  

For more information about BlackRock’s upcoming season, special events, exhibits, classes, and more, visit our website, or call us at (301)528-2260.


Located in Germantown, MD, BlackRock Center for the Arts brings inspiring performing and visual arts experiences to diverse audiences in a welcoming and intimate setting, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate, and engage in the arts.


Delilah W. Pierce Recent Highlights

Congressional & State Department Record






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Honorable John Conyers Highlights Delilah W. Pierce In Extensions of Remarks

“The best paintings are the semiabstract landscapes by Delilah Pierce and portraits by LeRoy Gaskin. At the other end of the spectrum is a painting of Amy Carter dcing a dance routine with her former classmates at the Stevens School, their tutus made of real seashells which have been glued to the canvas.”

On Page 15090

Congressional Tribute To Six Washington Artists: Hon. Walter E. Fauntroy



Wednesday, May 11, 1983

Mr. FAUNTROY. Mr. Speaker, a major review of the works of six Washington artists-painters Richard Dempsey, Lois Jones, Delilah Pierce, James Porter, Alma Thomas, and graphic artist James Wells, held at the Evans-Tibbs Collection is taking place this spring. Located at 1910 Vermont Avenue NW., the Evans-Tibbs Collection is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization primarily formed to preserve and exhibit works of art by and bibliographic material on African American artists. Located one-half block south of Washington, D.C.’s historic U Street corridor, the museum and research center are currently housed where Lillian Evans Tibbs lived. As an internationally acclaimed lyric soprano known professionally as Madame Evanti, Mrs. Tibbs sponsored many artists and art activities during her life. The six Washington masters exhibition is one of many such activities held by the collection in continuance of that tradition.

…Born in Washington, D.C., Delilah Pierce studied at Howard in the late 1930’s with James Porter. In 1962 Pierce received an Agnes Meyer Fellowship to study and travel in several African countries. The realities of an American of part African ancestry visiting Africa was significant for it not only represented links to ethnicity in a historical sense, it provided for Pierce an opportunity to become one of a handful of African-American artists to travel to Africa and to do so before it became popular in the late 1960’s. Continue reading on page 12016 (GPO-CRECB-1983).

Congressional Tribute To Delilah W. Pierce

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Chesapeake Collectibles’ Segment On Delilah W. Pierce Is Fabulous!

In March of 2020, the producer of MPT’s Chesapeake Collectibles contacted the family of Delilah W. Pierce for an image and deeper context. COVID-19 Pandemic hit and the show didn’t air on March 23rd; rather, it aired on August 3rd & 4th. The show was and is fabulous and worth watching. The segment was a great highlight for Delilah W. Pierce, her collection, and her advocacy. Her art pieces appraised for $20,000 to $30,000 on the show.

Please watch the episode: Chesapeake Collectables

Delilah & Joe Pierce House Reservations Refunded Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC/Oak Bluffs, MA, March 24, 2020: As a family, we’ve made the choice to put people over money and refund all reservations to the Delilah & Joe Pierce House this summer (2020). The loss of our summer income will be felt. But the disruption of a small eco-system would be worse. Gov. Charlie Baker asks that those of us with second homes remain off-island. Due to his directive, we are also doing our part in keeping summer vacationers off-island to protect the people. This was not a choice we took lightly as we had to disappoint many ready to enjoy all that the island has to offer. However, the hard-working laborers, educators, merchants, farmers, fishermen, firemen, officers, healthcare professionals, and business owners who make the island home year-round are far too important to the eco-system. We have to protect them and their children! Yes – This is more important than money! God speed!

Please remain safe and distant from your neighbors!

Visit: Delilah & Joe Pierce House

Best Wishes,

Spence & McDow Family

As Seen on:


Since moving to its new location in 1986, the museum has mounted exhibits encompassing both art and cultural history, such as “Inspiration: 1961-1989,” which featured the work of such local African American artists as James Lesesne Wells, Delilah W. Pierce and the late Alma Thomas, and the current exhibit, “The Real McCoy: African American Invention and Innovation,” which examines the contributions of blacks to industry and technology, curated by the museum’s resident historian, Portia James. Read more: Lion Of The Anacostia Museum

Delilah W. Pierce Featured In Department of State’s Art In The Embassies Program


Transcript from Department of State Newsletter:

Paintings by Black American Artists Are Going to Africa

The Department’s Art in the Embassies Program is sending a group of paintings by Black American artists to Africa. The collection will be exhibited in the US Embassy Residence of Ambassador Beverly Carter in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. It will remain in Africa for at least two years. The paintings were assembled at Ambassador Carter’s request by Mrs. Llewellyn E. Thompson, Director of the Art in the Embassies Program, in cooperation with Adolphus Ealey, Director of The Barnett Aden Gallery and Fine Arts Coordinator of the District of Columbia School System. Through programs of this kind, the Department hopes to further the exposure of Afro American art abroad. Mr. Ealey believes that it is necessary that Afro American artists direct their art towards a world culture instead of limiting its circulation to the United States. Commenting on the collection, Mr. Ealey said,

“The artists on exhibit vary in period and styles as well as age and techniques. Each work comprehends various and sundry experiences and modes of expressions. They offer no cause to plead or interest to serve only to translate in visual form the shared emotions and ideas basic to all mankind.”

Represented in the collection are the following artists, David C Driskell, Adolphus Ealey,  Sam Gillium,  Lois Jones, Norman Lewis, Lloyd McNeill Jr., Delilah W. Pierce, James S. Porter, Merton D. Simpson, Carroll Sockwell, Lou Stovall, Alma W. Thomas, Larry Erskine Thomas, Laura Waring, James L. Wells, and Franklin White Jr.

AT PREVlEW: Mrs. William P. Rogers (right) chats with artists Adolphus Ealey (left) and Alma Thomas at a preview of the paintings by Black American artists which will be sent to Africa by the Arts in the Embassies Program. EXHIBIT Among the paintings presented in the collection are left to right Rose of Charm (oil) by Laura Wheeler Waring, Maine Island (oil) by David Driskell (below), Peasants on Parade Haiti (oil) by Lois Jones, Guardian of the Shore (oil) by Delilah W. Pierce, Liberation (silk screen) by Lloyd McNeill Jr., untitled abstract by Carroll Sockwell (below) and Snoopy Sees A Glimpse of Jupiter (an acrylic) by Alma Thomas. APRIL 1973 45

Click To Read Full State Department Newsletter

Download PDF: Delilah W Pierce In Department_of_State_News_Letter

Delilah W. Pierce Featured In CALLALOO

Delilah W. Pierce is recently featured in CALLALOO – DC and MD In The History Of American Art. CALLALOO is a journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters, founded in 1976 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is currently published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. The Editor is Charles Henry Rowell and features the most prominent African American artists in history. From Delilah’s friends Lois Mailou Jones and Alma Thomas to James Porter, this literary and arts canon is a must read!


CALLALOO – Volume 39, Number 5