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Executive Director’s Letter February 27, 2018

Please join me in welcoming Tony Small to the GBCA team! Tony recently joined us as a consultant for Partners for Sacred Spaces/Making a Home for Art in Sacred Places Baltimore program. This program develops mutually beneficial, long-term relationships between houses of worship and artists and arts organizations. This work is timely given the persistent and growing demand for safe spaces for artists.

Tony originally moved to the city so that his daughter could attend Baltimore School for the Arts. While his daughter is now a working actor in New York City, Tony put down roots here. He has over 35 years of professional ecumenical expertise in five cities, from serving as a salaried Music Minister, Outreach, Executive, or Worship Arts Director in churches with 7,000+ memberships including: United Methodist, A.M.E., Pentecostal, Catholic, Baptist, Church of God, and as an accompanist for COGIC, Jewish synagogues, Seventh Day Adventist, Latino, Full-Gospel, and non-denominational congregations. He has also worked internationally and has been teaching Chorus and Musical Theatre for the BSA TWIGS program since 2015. He is an award-winning community artist.

Whew! With his mix of talents, Tony is the perfect person to take Sacred Places to the next level. He is busy meeting with congregations and getting to know artists, all in preparation for the formal process of creating new partnerships. Want to meet Tony? Mark your calendars for the evening of March 21 when we will host a happy hour launch event, (details coming soon). Please plan to come out and mingle with congregation leaders, and artists.

Speaking of stellar work, congratulations to Maryland Citizens for the Arts. Over 500 advocates gathered in Annapolis last Thursday for Maryland Arts Day, meeting with lawmakers and celebrating Sue Hess Maryland Arts Advocate of the Year Awardee Sandy Oxx, Executive Director of the Carroll County Arts Council. Also receiving an honor was Governor Larry Hogan. Americans for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors awarded Hogan the 2018 National Award for State Arts Leadership. Did you know that Maryland is fourth in the nation in per capita funding for the arts?

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. Advocates are asking lawmakers to:

  • Support the FY 2019 arts appropriation at the full funding level of $22.7 million.
  • Support the full $1 million transfer from the Special Fund for the Preservation of the Cultural Arts to the Maryland State Arts Council (included in the $22.7 million budget total).
  • Not support the proposed change in language to Chapter 145 found in the 2018 BRFA, which calls for a reduction in funding levels for the Maryland State Arts Council.

We are grateful for the hard work of Maryland Citizens for the Arts and Executive Director Nicholas Cohen! Nick is soon to be joined on staff by Amanda Morrell, 2015 Urban Arts Leadership alumni. Amanda has been working with the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County for the past 2.5 years where she was hired as a Program Manager immediately following her fellowship placement. Congratulations Amanda!

Have a great week,


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