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Executive Director's Letter January 14th 2020

January 14, 2020

Get ready! You have probably never seen or heard anything quite like it and you won’t have another chance until 2021. It’s the annual Afternoon of Artistic Excellence from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, this Saturday at The Walters Art Museum’s Graham Auditorium. The event features eight superstar Baker Artist Awardee performers—all of them headliners. And by that I mean Joyce J. Scott, Carl Grubbs, CJay Philip, Todd Marcus, Lafayette Gilchrist, Bashi Rose, ellen cherry, and Meshelle, the Indie Mom of Comedy.

Organized by Barbara Grubbs and Contemporary Arts, Inc. in partnership with the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, the Afternoon is supported by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of the Baker Artist Portfolios, The Maryland State Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, The Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation, and the Citizens of Baltimore County. In addition to individual performances, the finale will feature an improvisation with the group. This is a truly unique Baltimore experience that you won’t want to miss. The event is free, and advanced reservations are close to selling out, but walk-up tickets will be available at the door while supplies last.

Last week, the 2020 Urban Arts Leadership fellows and host organizations went through the last phase of the matching process. The fellows are undertaking leadership projects at The Clarice Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Clayworks, Baltimore Museum of Art and two new sites: Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Arts Education in Maryland Schools. The Fellows are also engaged in GBCA’s exciting pilot field school, Beauty Beneath the Blight, which focuses on the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor. It will engage and train folklorists, to interview community scholars artists and culture bearers. The program will culminate with an exhibition and related programming.

This partnership with The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution is funded, in part, with a challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for which GBCA must raise an additional $20,000. The field school will lay the groundwork for establishment of an archive at Coppin State University and Sankofa Dance Theater to ensure that the materials are accessible to West Baltimore residents. Beauty Beneath the Blight will enrich the Urban Arts Leadership curriculum with intentional and equitable community engagement training. It will provide the fellows with critical transferable skills and inter-generational preservation of knowledge.

I hope to see you on Saturday at The Walters!


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