The vision to form GBCA emerged from a series of conversations between 1998 and 2001 among cultural organizations, artists, and supporters about the need for a unified and collective voice for the sector. Incorporated in December 2001, founder Nancy Haragan acted as executive director of GBCA until December 2009. J. Buck Jabaily succeeded Nancy and served as Executive Director until December 2012, when GBCA hired Jeannie L. Howe who leads the organization today.
Since its launch, GBCA has served as both a catalyst and an incubator for important programs and initiatives. GBCA promotes the cultural community helps build awareness and audiences with the Culture Fly event calendar, weekly discount and free ticket event promotion, JobsPlus, and its weekly community newsletter.
GBCA has sponsored and co-sponsored symposia and the bi-annual Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting, and led a number of community convenings. GBCA has helped coordinate sector-wide participation in ambitious citywide festivals, such as VIVAT! (2003), Tour de Clay (2005), Free Fall Baltimore (2006-present), and The Maps Festival (2008), and completed several important sector-wide studies, including a Collaborative Arts Marketing Study. GBCA served as licensee for the Maryland Cultural Data Project (2007-2011) making Maryland the first state outside Pennsylvania to adopt CDP which is now a nationally-recognized tool for organization and funders. GBCA also hosted RadarRedux.com (2008-2011) and undertook a local Wealth Analysis study (2007).
Since 2008 GBCA has managed the website and awards associated with the Baker Artists Awards on behalf of the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund. This innovative site has attracted thousands of viewers from around the world and awarded over $500,000 to area artists. In 2012, GBCA began to expand its support of individual artists including the implementation of sustainability training through Artists U/Baltimore and the creation of the Rubys Artist Grant program in 2013. For more on current GBCA programs, click here.