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The Spirit of Innovation & Freedom Confronts Innovation and Arts in the Community

Lexington Park, MD - February 13, 2020 - The Spirit of Innovation and Freedom (SIF) opens the minds of the community with a combination of science, arts, and innovation. On January 30th, SIF held their second event at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum. The event included a panel discussion that showcased the mindset of innovation as well as a completely improvised concert. This collaboration between artists and scientists was the initiation of SIF's Southern Maryland arts ecosystem project to share more cultural and intellectual programming to help accelerate innovation and bolster community engagement and economic development.

The Southern Maryland region is expanding and growing significantly. Much of the growth in the area centers around science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. At the same time, there is an increasing need for more arts oriented events and education. Tommy Luginbill, TechPort Director, states, “The relationship between art, music, and entrepreneurship is one that’s been around for centuries. In order to grow our innovation ecosystem, we need to find ways to embrace the arts.” Supplementing the STEM related focus with the arts will provide a stronger social infrastructure on which the community can flourish and grow. The Spirit of Innovation & Freedom's programming provides insights into the relationships between science, technology, and the arts and introduces a brand-new sound in music.

SIF’s event was something new, exciting, and interesting. The presentation opened peoples’ eyes to the mindset of innovation and how it’s similar across disciplines with a panel discussion between Anthony Malatesta, founder and team lead of NAVAIR’s Power and Energy Division Thermal and Electrical Modeling Lab, and SIF co-founder and multi-instrumentalist, Dominic Fragman. In introducing their ideas about innovation and their groundbreaking music, SIF generated general excitement to a standing room only audience who received the discussion and music with a standing ovation. “We are extremely excited to share this work. The mindset of innovation is one of mutual listening, open communication, positive interaction, and the exploration and embracing of different ideas and perspectives, which is not only a good way to orient oneself towards a task, but a good way to orient oneself as a community member,” stated Fragman.

Fragman was able to gain 30 local companies to sponsor the event, including ABSI, Sabre Systems, St. Mary’s Art Council, TechPort, and Solomons Gallery. The support of these sponsors shows the importance the growth of the arts and technology holds to the Southern Maryland community. Tabitha Dunn, a community member, gave her input on the significance of this work. “Even though I am a full-time student and work part-time, I found time in my daily routine to come to this event. I found the event to be so worthwhile and eye opening. I would definitely recommend going to support these events in the future.” SIF and the SOMD arts ecosystem project provide more frequent cultural  programming and opens minds to new possibilities and the connections between different fields.

The Spirit of Innovation & Freedom will continue to develop new partnerships with local companies to put on more programming and events in the community. With the help of SIF, Southern Maryland will have significant growth in the arts and innovation. SIF will be back at the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum for the STEAM Festival on February 29th. If you are interested in this event, you can find more information at www.paxmuseum.org.

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