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Executive Director's Letter - 1/10/23

“We are writing a new chapter in our history, fueled by cultural tastemakers and creative entrepreneurs” – Visit Baltimore.

There is no doubt that Baltimore is more than a creative hub. Our 293-year-old city is a cultural engine for the region and the state. Our sector includes thousands of small businesses, teachers, leaders, transformers, and elevators of all the good the city has to offer.

Maybe it’s the magic in creative work that makes it look so easy. Remember, there are artists, people behind the curtains and brushstrokes, and keystrokes, and notes, and tears, and sweat, and evocation. Cultural workers speak in real ways, create new ways to speak, and the first ever-so-tiny cracks that begin to let the sun into places that have been dark for a long, long time, and places where the electricity just went out. And with humanities, they create opportunities for dialogue and understanding that are so rare these days.

And in that work, creative people find the holy ground, all while contributing over $11 billion to the State’s economy, creating jobs, improving education, and sparking joy and pride!

When you think about it that way, it’s easy to understand why this is an industry you want to brag about to the world. We should be proud, and we should be making darn sure the arts sector doesn't lose its footing because it is misunderstood. When you consider that every $1 granted to the arts in Maryland returns $10 on the investment, you know we are a sure bet. This is not a time to give up on arts and culture, it is a time to double down on strategy, financial investment, and vision.

As our friends at Visit Baltimore can tell you, we are and have been one of the very best things going in Baltimore. And that’s a lot to say in a city with abundant riches. Whatever it may look like, let’s celebrate, focus, and invest, not decentralize and dilute.

Let’s stick together,


P.S. This month we lost a dear and brilliant friend. Marilyn Hatza, most recently the director of grants and community engagement at Maryland Humanities, was an innovator and champion for social and racial justice. As Lindsay Baker, Executive Director of Maryland Humanities shared, “With Marilyn’s passing, the humanities sector in Maryland has lost a superstar and an advocate. Her vision was inspirational and challenged us all to do better.”

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