Today and over the coming days and weeks, Baltimore is reflecting on the past twelve months since the death of Freddie Gray. Many artists have been “called” to join those already working in the community by putting their practice into service for healing, understanding, advocacy and change. There are so many stories and so many organizations like Muse 360 Arts and the Youth Resiliency Institute who have worked tirelessly and for years to support and lift up young people in the city. It will take years of commitment and determination on the part of the city’s leadership and citizens to truly change the historic, systemic structures that continue to reinforce inequity.
Over the past two days, the juries for the Rubys artists grants program have met to select the grantees in the Performing Arts and Media Arts fields. It was a privilege to sit in on the sessions, both because the jurors were brilliant and because the wonderful work happening in Baltimore made their decision-making process a challenge. While not required, many of the artists proposed projects that related to Baltimore and the challenges we face. Their approaches were innovative and deeply-rooted in their sense of place. Thank you to the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation for making this amazing awards grant program possible.
On this day of all days, let us promise that we will listen to the voices that have been ignored for so long and do our part to engage in the democratic process. We are just one week from the election—so important both locally and nationally. There is a great deal at stake and a tremendous opportunity to change the course of history. So, if you haven’t done so already, read up on the candidates and find out where they stand on education, taxes, public safety, and the economy. You can also learn about where they stand by reading their Arts and Culture questionnaire responses at citizenartist.vote. Most importantly, get to the polls and vote.
A special thank you to Deep Vision Dance and V.T Dance for their recent performances at the Theatre Project. Your beautiful work was a demonstration of human connectedness, love, and spirit.