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Executive Director's Letter 2/20/18

As the national news focuses on the latest tragic school shooting in Florida, it is heartening and inspiring to watch as young people organize for action. Their voices, like many in Baltimore, are strong, passionate, and pushing for immediate action and change. In Baltimore, we see how the powerful work of local activists, including many mothers who have lost their children to gun violence, are effectively organizing and making important strides. Baltimore Cease Fire and many, many others are working to save lives in Baltimore.

Many artists are driven by the same sense of urgency and outrage. Kenneth Morrison, spoken word artist and leader of DewMore Baltimore, is bringing them all—artists and activists—together to celebrate their work. On March 4 at the Impact Hub, Morrison is launching what he plans to be an annual event, Artivism Day—this year focused on violence prevention. He says, “Artivism Day is an artist-led movement to celebrate the WORK people are doing every day to make the city better and to use art as a strategy to increase ACTION in Baltimore.” The kickoff will celebrate individuals and organizations working to end violence in Baltimore. Featured artists include WombWork productions, Lady Brion, Icon Tha God, Grim Jackson, and many more.

Speaking of advocacy, Thursday is Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis. Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA) organizes this annual event, which draws hundreds of arts advocates from throughout the state to meet with legislators. The release of the FY 2019 State Budget calls for a record setting appropriation for the arts. If fully funded, this would mean a $22.7 million appropriation for the Maryland State Arts Council. You can learn more on the MCA website.

Last Friday, GBCA said farewell to staff member Janica Alston, who recently accepted a job as Program Manager of YMCA’s Big Brother/Big Sisters program. Janica joined GBCA in 2015 as a part-time intern and was quickly thrust into the much bigger, full-time job of Development and Membership Assistant. After completing the Urban Arts Leadership Program in 2017, she was promoted to Assistant Program Manager and has worked closely with UALP staff and Fellows, Baker Artists, and much more. She has proven herself an enthusiastic, curious, and smart leader. It’s not surprising that she has been scooped up by another organization and, while we will miss her, she has promised to stay engaged as a leader in the emerging UALP Alumni Network. Congratulations, Janica!

Hope to see you in Annapolis,


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