By Luca Mochi
I am always amazed by the breadth of artistry in Baltimore. This pride month I wanted to focus on queer artists who are shaping and remaking the art world right here in our city. Last week I had the honor of meeting Jamie Grace Alexander for some coffee to chat about her recent work as a curator, visual artist, and a musician. Jamie is a black trans activist and multidisciplinary artist who serves as the Community Director of the Baltimore Trans Alliance, while also studying Nonprofit Management & Community Leadership at the University of Baltimore.
Jamie Grace – The Curator
Jamie’s current curatorial project is called “Gender Museum.” This digital archive was born out of the desire to tell trans stories and features photos and short captions highlighting people’s gender identity and expression. It is also a platform used to uplift trans and gender-nonconforming artists. Through "Gender Museum," Jamie has practiced and strengthened their skills in both archival and curatorial work. I asked her what it means to to be a curator of queer art and she said “a curator has a distinct knowledge of their collection, but also needs to know how to uplift the art and which stories to tell that give them new meanings. Doing that with gender and sharing that with the trans community has always been a part of the legacy of queer black people.” You can check out the Gender Museum on Instagram!
In addition to the ongoing “Gender Museum,” Jamie has curated an upcoming show called “Sur/Reality” which will be held at Baltimore City Hall and features the work of local transgender artists. The show will have it’s opening reception Thursday, June 27 at 6 PM. The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance works closely with Baltimore City government to regularly advocate for artists and arts funding so we are excited to see this event receiving the attention it deserves. For more info about the Sur/Reality show, visit the CultureFly event.
“Queer black people have made space for me to be in their scene, and I want to make space for others to be in the art world” – Jamie Grace
Jamie Grace – Intertwined with DIY
Music is one of the newer projects for Jamie, they have been playing bass and jamming with other black non-binary musicians in a band called blk vapor. When asked about a debut show she replied: “We will have a debut sometime soon, but right now it's just Hannah Montana covers in my bedroom!” That DIY mentality is integral to Baltimore’s underground identity. DIY art spaces like Rituals and the Crown continue to thrive because they allow artists and musicians to hold space where they can share their work without the barriers inherent to most larger art and music institutions. Jamie hopes to help create and curate more DIY spaces for up-and-coming artists and musicians, especially queer-friendly spaces through her advocacy work and visibility.
DIY art spaces can also be Petri dishes for collaboration. Jamie recently teamed up with Baltimore filmmaker Emily Eaglin to create a short film called "Jamie Fulla Grace." The film is a fun little semi-autobiographical day in the life of Jamie and follows her through everything from picking out the perfect outfit, to shopping at a farmers market. Art as activism as entertainment. To watch "Jamie Fulla Grace" Follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnGfZg3aFoI
To get involved, or find more information about the Baltimore Transgender Alliance please visit: https://www.bmoretransalliance.com/