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Executive Director’s Letter April 9, 2019

Perhaps you, like me have been thinking a lot about leadership lately. What is it, what happens when it’s lacking, and who should step up when it's absent. The current state of affairs is maddening, saddening, and should be motivating all of us to act. This is not a time to step back, but a time to engage and express our priorities. Let’s not forget that, as artists, we can play a vital leadership role by offering new perspectives and creative problem-solving tools that others may not possess. Arts organizations, scholars, and creators all have a wealth of this unique leadership knowledge that can help strengthen and further the goals of our city and region.

The arts can inspire emerging leaders as well. I was excited to learn recently that Baltimore’s new Police Commissioner, Michael Harrison, was heavily influenced by his high school band teacher—an arts educator who not only noticed his leadership qualities, but gave him opportunities to cultivate them. Often, educators, arts educators in particular, are able to identify students' strengths and help nurture them. I know I am still grateful to Mr. Klopp and Ms. Goodman for the part they played in my life. Practicing in the arts can also teach leadership experience. Directing plays was, for me, the best education I could ever have in team building and project management. While mounting a production, you must bring disparate people together to work toward a common goal, a common good, and to communicate a story. You must be able to take all the elements of production and find ways for them to fit together that are visual, oral, and sometimes even spiritual.

One way GBCA is helping inspire the careers of emerging leaders is through Urban Arts Leadership (UAL). The program provides excellent fellowship opportunities for individuals to learn the skills they need to secure impactful careers in arts administration. The UAL team is currently conducting a series of informational sessions for those interested in the Fellowship. You can learn more below, or by visiting the GBCA website here.

In the car or at home this evening?? Be sure to tune in to WTMD 88.9 FM for the Baker Artist Portfolio Music Finalist Showcase. Even better, come by and join us for the festivities and see these leaders in person at 7PM! Four of the six finalists for the Music category of the 2019 Baker Artist Awards will perform a free showcase at WTMD. The lineup features the indie/chamber pop group Outcalls, composer and pianist Scott Patterson, Americana singer-songwriter Letitia VanSant, and socially conscious hip-hop artist Von Vargas. This year’s finalists also include the experimental musicians Ami Dang and Stephen Santillan.

These musicians were among the 38 finalists selected from more than 900 artists who created a Baker Artist portfolio in 2019.

Hope to see you tonight,


P.S. The Maryland arts sector can celebrate the close of the 2019 legislative session knowing that the arts will be funded at a record level. The $24.4 million appropriated for the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) in the State’s FY2020 budget is a testament to the support we have garnered from Governor Hogan’s administration and the Maryland General Assembly. Thank you to our friends at Maryland Citizens for the Arts for their role in this successful year.

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