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ADVOCACY, ENCOURAGEMENT, AND INVESTMENT IN THE ARTS THROUGHOUT MARYLAND

2015-16 UALP Fellow Teara Booker shares highlights from her Fellowship Placement at the Maryland State Arts Council below.

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On my first day with the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) I had the opportunity to attend Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis. What a perfect way to start of my next six-month Fellowship placement! I had the opportunity to advocate and network with hundreds of arts advocates from Maryland all in one setting. Maryland Arts Day, organized by Maryland Citizens for the Arts, is the largest assembly of arts professionals in Maryland. There were more than 400 participants connecting artists, educators, administrators, volunteers, and trustees with lawmakers from every legislative district in Maryland. I met the Council Chair, Carol Trawick, and Vice Chair, Carla Du Pree, and we immediately formed a lasting bond. Each and every member in the room demonstrated a strong support for the arts in Maryland and many expressed the impact the arts has on the economic and cultural life of the state.My first project at MSAC evolved around the Individual Artist Awards (IAA) Grant Program. The IAA program recognizes the importance of artists and their works of excellence to the cultural vibrancy of Maryland. Each year artists receive awards ranging from $1,000 – $6,000 for their artistic excellence. It was my responsibility to report the award recommendations to MSAC’s Executive Director, Theresa Colvin, prepare and deliver a presentation at the council meeting in Easton, and work with Pamela Dunne, Senior Program Director at MSAC.

In April, I had the opportunity to participate in MSAC’s County Arts Agencies of Maryland (CAAM) meeting alongside the 16 of 24 Maryland Counties’ Arts Council Executive Directors. CAAM is a non-profit statewide assembly of arts councils established to foster, promote, and develop skills and articulate the needs of Maryland’s diverse arts communities. CAAM works in cooperation with the MSAC and Maryland Citizens for the Arts to increase artistic opportunities for Maryland artists, arts organizations, and citizens. Held at Sumner Hall in Chestertown (one of only two existing African-American Grand Army of the Republic buildings still standing in the United States), we discussed legislation, upcoming events, and advocacy related issues around the state.

I had the pleasure of assisting Public Art Program Director Liesel Fenner, with the Public Art Annual Meeting at the World Trade Center in Downtown, Baltimore. There were over 50 people present to discuss the great public spaces and decorated architecture that provide a meaningful experience and lasting memory for all.

In May, I led the Community Arts Development (CAD) Grant Program Panel Review. The CAD program provides grants and technical assistance to each of Maryland’s 23 County Arts Councils and Baltimore City, which work with local partners and grantees to ensure that MSAC support impacts the entire state. Funds re-granted by County Arts Councils serve artists, arts organizations, schools and audiences. I selected the panel, organized and disseminated the panel materials, and successfully planned and led the meeting.

This June, I am looking forwarding to working with Chad Buterbaugh and Michelle Stefano (both Program Directors at MSAC) at the 6th Annual Folklife Festival. The Folklife Festival is a free annual celebration, that exhibits the “arts of the everyday” happening within our diverse communities–old and new–throughout our entire state! Please support this free festival from 12-8pm on June 4. If you need more information follow this link: https://www.msac.org/folklife-festival.

Additionally, I am looking forward to participating in the Art in Public Space Workshop being offered at the Creative Alliance. The workshop will focus on how to find project opportunities, types of public art projects – temporary and permanent, RFQ’s and RFP’s, the application process, developing a proposal, the artist selection process and fabrication.

I hope to continue working with the Maryland State Arts Council and the organizations and programs they support. I have seen the impact the Council has on the arts and the economy of the state. Upon completion of my Fellowship, I will continue creating and building opportunities for the citizens of Maryland and beyond to experience the arts and thrive.

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Teara Booker earned her MA in Nonprofit Management and Social Entrepreneurship from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a BS in Urban Arts Production from Coppin State University. She currently serves on three nonprofit boards. Experienced in program and volunteer management, fundraising, and board development, Ms. Booker aims to help arts organizations share great stories and highlight the impact of the arts in Baltimore. She is the owner of Creative Resolution Consulting, where she helps individuals, arts organizations, and nonprofits solve problems in the sector.

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