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Executive Director’s Letter October 15, 2019 

There are few needs more basic than housing and the shelter, access to education, and security (both financial and physical) it provides. Without stable housing, it is challenging to prosper, and the struggle to find safe and affordable housing can be difficult and draining. Fortunately, the arts and artmaking can be used as powerful tools to help advocate for housing needs, innovate new housing models, and drive conversations with developers around “gentrification” and “regeneration' when building new communities.

Artists have always played a critical role in the vibrancy and vitality of neighborhoods, communities, and cities across our country. Places where artists cluster often become cultural hubs, increasing the value of the surrounding area. In fact, having a cultural organization in a community has been shown to increase nearby residential property values by up to 20 percent. The more art, the more desirable a neighborhood is to the residents. A 10-year study found that an increased presence of art in the community was correlated with a faster-than-average increase in property values in those neighborhoods over that time period. (Americans for the Arts-Social Impact Navigator)

As I mentioned earlier, the arts also play an important role in strengthening community input for development projects and in historic preservation. Just last week there was a big win for historic preservation, the arts, and people who live and work in Baltimore. Responding to an outpouring of letters and a survey that indicates the overwhelming support of residents, Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) voted unanimously to move ahead with a local historic designation in Woodberry. It will be Baltimore’s 37th local historic district, joining Mount Vernon, Bolton Hill, Union Square, Federal Hill, and others.

Woodberry is already home to hundreds of artist and maker studios. This designation will help secure their ability to continue to live and work in these locations, and thereby supports one of the City’s greatest assets, its arts and culture ecosystem.

Calling all area artists! The Baker Artist Portfolio season is off and running. Don’t wait until the last minute to create or update your portfolio. If you are looking for feedback, support, and/or guidance, Baker Portfolio Manager David London and Program Assistant Renz Balagtas have organized a series of information sessions to help clarify any of your questions. Both are happy to provide you with hands-on, customized support to make sure you are confident with the way your work is presented.

All my best,


P.S. GBCA will continue to keep you posted on these and other developments in the creative field. Please show your support by contributing today!

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