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Executive Director’s Letter 8/23/22

Today is my son’s birthday (happy birthday, Charlie!) and that has put me in the mind of celebrating milestones. In September, as students return to school, GBCA will be launching its Cohort ‘23 of Urban Arts Leadership Fellows. Over the years, more than 40 leaders have graduated from the program and are now out in the world advancing their careers and the field through their brilliance and hard work. I am honored to say that Kibibi Ajanku, the mother/leader of the program, will soon celebrate her seventh year with GBCA and now serves as our Equity Director.

In a more bittersweet remembrance, the recent passing of technical designer and musician David Crandell has reminded me of GBCA’s early efforts to promote the Baltimore Arts and Culture through its partnership with Radarview. Executive Editor Jack Livingston worked with GBCA’s founder Nancy Haragan to launch Radar in May 2002, with David serving as General Editor. Radar was funded by the Baltimore Community Foundation and contributors included a wide swath of the cultural community. A handheld, paper snapshot of area artists, events, and organizations, Radar was a beautifully ambitious publication that was ahead of its time.

David too was ahead of his time as a multi-disciplinary artist. You can learn more about him in his obituary and through his Baker Artist Portfolio. Here’s a bit of David’s review of the J.M.W. Turner exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2002.

“...Turner is the most pivotal painter of the last 150 years: Romanticism’s apotheosis, springboard of so much modern painting, clear through Abstract Expressionism and the present day. But whatever art historians say, seeing his work is a lush experience. Baltimore has been chosen as the only American site for an international touring show from London’s Tate Gallery. Some may feel the Tate has been stingy with the vast canvases that are Turner’s hallmark; at $12, a bit like an expensive restaurant meal that’s long on the broccoli and short on the meat. But among the green byproducts of Turner’s painting, I found astonishment–rocks became portals to other universes, castles vanished in as many ways as there were etchings to hold them.

If you want to bathe yourself in the large works, save up for a London ticket. But if you want to know more of art’s surprising ways, go to the BMA and eat your vegetables.”

Godspeed David,


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