Whether we like it or not, COVID 19 has forced all of us to reimagine our present and future. The creative and cultural communities have struggled mightily, but are also providing leadership and inspiration that are fueling these changes. For example, in September the Maryland Historical Society opened as the Maryland Center for History and Culture (MCHC).
After 176 years, this new identity is meant to better reflect the organization’s mission to provide space for the community to discover and develop a deeper understanding of the nation’s history and culture through a Maryland lens.
MCHC has new exhibitions (including their first-ever virtual exhibition) and more free virtual programming (an effort that since March has allowed them to reach thousands of people from around the world). The Center has reopened with new fall hours. You can learn more and schedule a visit on their website.
Baltimore Museum of Art recently announced they are deaccessioning (selling) three works in their collection to fund the Endowment for the Future, which will dedicate funds for the care of the collection and allow the museum to expand its ongoing diversity and equity programmatic initiatives. It will do so by enacting greater structural change within the institution and increasing access for the community. As part of the plan, the BMA will maintain and increase salaries for staff throughout the museum, establish dedicated funds for diversity, equity accessibility, and inclusion programs, eliminate admission fees for special exhibitions, begin offering evening hours, and enhance its acquisition budget. These are truly exciting advances.
At the same time it is important to note that the sale itself, while developed in accordance with the resolutions recently passed by the Association of Art Museum Directors, is still a controversial move that has generated heartfelt debate amongst museum professionals and others in the arts community. Structural changes designed to create greater equity on this scale require significant investments and the BMA is leading the conversation about how to secure the resources to respond to these urgent needs.
For artists experiencing this period of transformation, consider applying for the Red Bull Arts Micro-grant. Direct-funding to artists is essential always, and is particularly critical at this moment. In response to the current socio-political climate, Red Bull Arts is expanding the Detroit Microgrant Program nationally. This initiative directly supports our community of artists through providing unrestricted aid. The adapted Micro-grant program will award two $1000 grants each month to artists in 19 cities, including Baltimore. You can learn more and find the grant application here.
As we move into cooler weather, stay vigilant about your health!
All my best,
P.S. Visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/gbca to learn more about how you can support the important programs of GBCA.