Executive Director’s Letter
April 19, 2022
With their president’s alignment with Vladimir Putin, Belarus has become a staging ground for Russia’s war against Ukraine. Sarah A. Topel’s article, The Battle for the Mural–and the Future of Belarus in the New York Times, demonstrates how “soft authoritarianism” hardened, and one mural became the symbol of resilient dessent. The story does not have a happy ending, but shows how a community coalesced around the political statement of art, and how they suffered as a result. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/30/magazine/belarus-mural.html
It is often by eroding the freedom of expression and controlling educational materials that tyranny expresses itself. What started as indignation about teaching difference in race and gender to children in schools, the United States has evolved into a campaign to ban books from school and turn away from the experienced advice of trained educators and medical professionals. When citizens, including students, are asked to report on friends, doctors, colleagues, and teachers on issues related to Trans rights, abortion, and more, regardless of your personal views, we should all pause to consider if this is a hardening and harbinger of something darker to come.
In happier news, the Baltimore Thinkathon is this week. Join the more than 60 people who have already signed up by registering here today. Spend your Wednesday morning “thinking and doing” with Baltimore’s creative minds. Topics currently include:
- Building an art economic ecosystem
- The changing work of public museums
- The wellbeing of artists
- Whose things get saved? Archives and marginalized people.
Have a burning topic of your own? You can add it to the list at registration.