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Executive Director's Letter: 5/5/20

Celebrate teachers this week and always.

This week is Teacher Appreciation week and not a minute too soon, if average salaries and constraining testing curriculum are any indication. It has taken a pandemic for us to remember how vital teachers are to the wellbeing of our children and country. Now, they are our warriors. It’s hard to imagine how they balance the needs of their own families and those of their students. So, like we do for our amazing healthcare workers, let’s give them a big round of applause, bang on pots and pans, and have a flyover. Then when it comes time to budget for salaries, professional development, school nurses, arts education, and school lunch, let’s all remember that teaching is an elevated calling that requires a special dedication and meaningful support. We need our teachers today and always. As I mentioned last week, there are numerous cultural organizations working to support parents, teachers, and children. Did you know there are so many other ways in which the arts and humanities are helping maintain our social fabric during this pandemic?

The Johns Hopkins Medicine Brain Science Institute (IAM Lab) has launched the COVID-19 NeuroArts Field Guide. It offers easy-to-do art activities and simple explanations about the science behind them. They will be updating the guide weekly with new ideas and information. I particularly like the section How Giving Back Artfully Can Give Your Teen a Boost and Art Activities Can Be A Lifeline for Lonely Seniors. IAM Labs is also eager to lift up the important work you are doing and offer their support by answering your questions. You can share your stories and send your questions about how the arts support our health to [email protected].

At the start of the pandemic, Open Works put out a call on social media to mobilize 3D printers in Maryland to help manufacture open-source much-needed face shields for healthcare workers. Five days later, the first face shields were packaged for distribution. This extraordinary, ongoing effort relies on a remarkable crowd-sourced supply chain and strong local partners. Prusa Labs developed the open-source design. We The Builders hosted the first part of this build using their collaborative program for part tracking and file hosting. Innovation Works is handling interfacing with health care providers, orders, and distribution. Open Works is collecting finished parts, sanitizing, assembling, and packaging them for distribution. Nation of Makers is the national association of makerspaces and maker organizations powering this project across the USA. They have organized regional efforts like this one under the national umbrella of Get Us PPE. Over 350 (and counting) volunteer printers are powering this project by producing parts at home.

Artists are also joining together to help feed people. Over 30 Baltimore-based artists have come together to form Images for Baltimore, a print sale fundraiser that will support the Maryland Food Bank. Each high-quality archival print is a reproduction of an original work and will be printed in partnership with Baltimore’s Full Circle Fine Art. Ranging from abstract illustrations to black and white photographs, the prints showcase the artist’s distinct style — whether it’s capturing a specific moment or emphasizing color and form. Check out all the prints on Images for Baltimore’s website. The fundraiser will run from May 1 to May 31.

I’d love to hear more about what you are doing to give back. If that includes making donations, remember your favorite organizations, or help GBCA to keep publishing, with a contribution today, Giving Tuesday.

Stay well,


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