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Executive Director’s Letter January 29, 2019

This week, Kibibi Ajanku and I joined Julia Marciari-Alexander at the American Association of Museum Directors (AAMD) to make a presentation about Urban Arts Leadership. Julia is the Executive Director of The Walters Art Museum, which has hosted a UAL Fellow for four years. Discussions throughout the conference focused on equity and inclusion. Sharing UAL’s progress and learning with cultural leaders from around the country reminded me of how far we have come and the road we have yet to travel.

A case in point, keynote speaker Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institute whose most recent book, Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, and What to Do about It (2017), illuminates the impact of class beyond a discussion of income equality, and how it relates to attaining a college education and race. It is yet another complexity to consider in the work to create more inclusive work environments. Reeves also talked about the need to think beyond the nearest goal and consider what happens after a Fellowship is complete or a job is landed. For people with support systems or privilege, their “airbags deploy.” But those without these systems can needlessly fail when things go wrong because inequality endures. That is precisely why UAL has a practice of supporting fellows and host organization managers through the entire term of the placement. It is also why the alumni network is so important.

The week of Valentine’s Day is a busy one for GBCA. On the eve of Valentine’s Day we will be joining the third of eight events of the "Beyond Beautiful: One Thousand Love letters" exhibition at Maryland Art Place and Area 405. This pre-valentines event will celebrate romantic love and art with live music, performances, interactive activities, drinks, and light fare from 5:30-8:00 pm. For more details, visit We'll see you there!

On February 14th GBCA staff will join Maryland Citizen’s for the Arts and hundreds of advocates in Annapolis for Maryland Arts Day, and on February 15 Kibibi will lead the next Third Fridays Conversation: Black History Edition. (Stay tuned for the March 15 the Borders Edition.) I hope you will join us for these important, interesting, fun, and thought-provoking events!

All my best,


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