I am starting to take the weather personally. Admittedly, there was something nice about hunkering down yesterday and yes, the sunshine is starting to raise my spirits. Dare we hope this is the last wintery blast before spring really takes hold?
Before Monday’s storm shut us all down, it was a busy week for the cultural community. Among the highlights was Baltimore School for the Arts’ Expressions. The students are bright stars. Their talent, heart, and passion never fail to amaze and move me. What a gem we have right here in Baltimore sending talent of all kinds out into the world. Another highlight was The American Craft Council Show, which featured the work of several GBCA members, including Baltimore Clayworks and their resident artist and 2012 b-grant winner Yoshi Fujii.
Last week, we shared a link to the discussion about women in theatre that was blowing up the blogosphere, in part driven by posts of Baltimore’s own Elissa Goetschius, Artistic Director of the Strand Theater Company. This past Sunday, The Washington Post ran an extensive article about women and museum leadership, including a look at both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. The piece featured The Walters Art Museum’s Julia Marciari Alexander, Baltimore Museum of Art’s Doreen Bolger, and American Visionary Art Museum’s Rebecca Hoffberger. Brava!
Due to the weather, GBCA’s Happy Hour with the Bromo Arts District has been rescheduled for Monday, March 17 at EMP Collective. We hope you will come on out for a taste of the neighborhood.
Please tell me it’s time to put away my snow boots!
It’s often assumed that those of us who work in the arts labor away in some dusty garret or conversely, only breathe rarified air. That’s one reason why it excites me to hear about the volunteer and community engagement work of artists and my peers in arts administration. I spent Saturday pruning fruit trees with the Baltimore Orchard Project, but I am outdone by GBCA’s hardworking staff who volunteer at a variety of other organizations including the Maryland Historical Society, The Jewish Museum of Maryland, EMP Collective, Iron Crow, and Single Carrot Theatre. It’s actually a hallmark of the artistic community to be engaged in and concerned about our communities—bravo and thank you to all who spend their precious “free” time and many talents helping to make this a better world.
On the flip side, those of us managing nonprofit organizations are tremendously indebted to our generous Board of Directors and committees. We are so very grateful. Volunteering is an American value and continues to be strong in this country. In a recently released study, the Corporation for National and Community Service reports that one in four Americans volunteers. Volunteering spans generations including an ever-rising number of Generation Xers whose service has trended up more than 30% over the past 11 years. Way to shatter another stereotype!
Monday night we will have a celebratory Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District Happy Hour at EMP Collective. Join the district’s director, Priya Bhayana and learn more about the organizations and artists who bring the area to life!
All the best,
P.S. The new Urban Arts Leadership Program will have its first round of professional development “Intensives” for aspiring arts administrators. Contact email@example.com if you would like to be added to the invitation list.
Last week’s Maryland Arts Day was truly inspiring! Our constituents from Baltimore, Harford, Anne Arundel, Carroll, and Howard Counties as well as Baltimore City were out in force to say thank you and encourage legislators to support Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposed budget. O’Malley’s appropriation of $16.2 million for the Maryland State Arts Council and the $2.5 million special fund allotments for 2014 and 2015 recognize the many ways in which the arts and culture sector helps build thriving communities AND will continue to return more than 300% on the state’s investment. Your voices are still needed to ensure this level of support is sustained.
According to WBAL TV, The Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners officially announced the hiring of Gregory Thornton, the current superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, as the new chief executive officer for city schools. A scan of reporting from Milwaukee reflects a leader with a connection to the community and a commitment to arts education. I was particularly struck by two articles, the first about a program called “Saving Our Sons,” which is part of a larger initiative aimed at increasing youth engagement in their schools and communities. The second is about how Dr. Thornton has made art, music and physical education priorities in his budgets. Arts education advocates were among community stakeholders who met with Dr. Thornton today and report they are excited to work with him to benefit the children of Baltimore City. We wish Dr. Thornton a warm welcome to Baltimore.
We are still encouraging concerned citizens to join us next Tuesday evening at 5:00 pm at the school system headquarters at 200 E. North Avenue for the Board of School Commissioners meeting to show your support for arts education. Our work has just begun! Please join me as we celebrate the arts with student performances in the lobby and continue to establish a united voice as we look towards the future of City Schools under new leadership. You can also sign in your support of our efforts through this online form.
All the best,
Hello, from the Nation’s Capital!
I am taking a break from the GBCA newsletter this week to spend time with an amazing group of arts education advocates and practitioners as part of The Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child Exchange. It is inspiring to hear about initiatives In Austin, Portland, Tulsa, Madison, and more.
I hope to see you at Maryland Arts Day tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12 in Annapolis. Thank you Maryland Citizens for the Arts for your extraordinary leadership.
Sending Valentine’s Day love to our arts and culture patrons and champions,
It continues to be a busy 2014 for GBCA and our regional partners. February is Dance Month at our member organizations The Gordon Center and UMBC with the first-ever Baltimore County Dance Celebration, Take a Leap. This month-long event is presented by theBaltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences and features over 25 events including a debut work fromCompany E by Italian choreographer Walter Matteini, commissioned for the company’s Baltimore County performance.
The first round of applications for The Rubys: Artist Project Grants closed on Sunday and we are off to a stellar start. The adjudication process is underway and grantees in the areas of Media and Performing Arts will be announced in April. Our friends in Visual and Literary Arts should be sharpening their pencils to apply for grants beginning on May 1. We can’t wait to read about your amazing ideas.
Work continues on the redevelopment of BaltimoreFunGuide.com, the region’s most comprehensive online arts and culture calendar. Testing will begin in the next few months with the rollout of the new calendar (with a new name) to come in early June. GBCA is also redesigning its website and beefing up services and information available online.
With all the amazing things happening around the area and at GBCA, it’s time for me to make my pitch for membership. As we move into a new phase of service delivery and advocacy, let’s work together to support our incredible arts and culture sector. You can check out member benefits and levels on our website.
All the best,
Executive Director’s Letter
January 28, 2014
Following the fatal shootings at Columbia Mall last weekend and against the background of a climbing murder rate in Baltimore, I have been thinking about how art connects us with one another and our humanity. Over history, both distant and recent, art has helped humans to peacefully navigate our differences, validate our self-worth, and enable us to process the deepest tragedies.
GBCA’s recent advocacy efforts have reminded us of National Endowment for the Arts research on the impact of arts education for at-risk children, teenagers, and young adults. Not only did the study reveal improved academic achievement, these kids also had higher career goals and greater social engagement. That means they read the newspaper, volunteered, and voted in much higher numbers than those who did not participate in the arts. Engagement equals empowerment and feeling empowered gives you options.
Right here in Baltimore, Shawn Burnett was honored by the Knight Foundation’s BMe program for founding “…Walks of ART Inc to fill the void between urban youth and the arts. The organization aims to bolster a sense of self in Baltimore youth by providing a forum for them to express themselves through drawing, painting, dancing, writing short stories and other activities.”
And art helps us to respond to the unimaginable when it does happen. HealingNewtown through the Arts was established in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy and the subsequent outpouring of contributions to the community in the form of artwork and supplies. Managed by the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission, the project centers on the arts as a way to help the Newtown community to strengthen and to heal.
These are just a few examples that demonstrate ways in which arts and culture are integral to our lives, and are not a luxury. From the dawn of time, humans have used art to tell their stories, solve problems, support one another and live together with both beauty and horror.
Rest in Peace Pete Seeger,
P.S. Congratulations to Baltimore born singer Maysa for her Grammy nomination!
P.P.S. Remember, early bird registration for Maryland Arts Day ends this week. What are you waiting for?!
P.P.P.S. The RUBYS Artist Project Grant Application deadline for Media and Performing Arts is THIS SUNDAY FEBRUARY 2, 2014 AT 11:59PM!
Executive Director’s Letter
January 21, 2014
Attention arts education advocates, next week is your week! On Monday, January 27 join GBCA and Arts Every Day for a Brown Bag working session on the Governor’s new Leadership Council Task Force on Arts Education being spearheaded by Arts Education in Maryland Schools. Participants will be rolling up their sleeves to respond to the task force’s questionnaire, a critical tool for informing policymakers about priorities.
Then on Tuesday, plan to join other arts advocates for the Baltimore City School Board meeting at North Avenue. Come early to get a red arts advocate sticker and let the Board know how important it is to hire a CEO who understands the value of arts. The children of Baltimore have a right to the best education possible and that’s one that includes the arts. This public meeting takes the place of the one canceled in December due to weather.
I hope you caught Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s announcement about the reinstatement of the Creative Baltimore Fund. The great news for arts organizations and artists is that the fund will make more than $200,000 available annually for general operating support and projects. You may remember that the fund was a hot topic of conversation at the Mayor’s Cultural Town Hall in the fall of 2012. Eligibility requirements and the application may be found on the website of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts.
For the artists among us, it’s a snow day so get on the your computer and start working on your Rubys application! The deadline to request up to $10,000 for your dream project is February 2. What are you waiting for???
Get out the popcorn and stay safe,