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Executive Director Letter 11/16/21

Resilience and Relevance

For one brief moment last July when vaccination rates were going up and Covid-19 infection rates were declining, it felt like we might sprint out of the global pandemic. Then there was the Delta variant which coincided with a small but vocal anti-mask, anti-vaccination campaign. Yet, artists and cultural organizations continued to soldier on, providing hope and inspiration even in the face of financial distress.

Cultural organizations have been vigilant. By installing new ventilation and other safety systems, requiring masks, and in some cases proof of vaccination, audiences are returning in person. Online and virtual events do continue and will likely be part of arts expression and education for good. This is not a sprint after all, it is an arduous hike through the mountains. It’s a good thing that adaptation and innovation are in the DNA of artists.

While working to stay meaningfully connected with patrons, audiences, and students, all of us have been deeply engaged in reimagining the future. It has been a time of reflection, action, and change at GBCA and throughout the sector.

One organization that hasn’t slowed down is the Eubie Blake Cultural Center. The Center is a home for music, visual arts, literary arts, STEAM learning, and more. The current shows include Megan Lewis’ Language of the Soul in collaboration with Galerie Myrtis. (Megan is an alumnae of GBCA’s Urban Arts Leadership.) The front gallery features Brandon Donahues’s Ball in transition. Both shows run through November 20. The Center is also the home of Rayn Fall Dance/Muse 360.

Another organization, Young Audiences of Maryland, is moving to a new home on North Avenue in the former O’Dell’s nightclub AND has changed its name to Arts for Learning Maryland. The name change of this Baltimore-based nonprofit reflects Arts for Learning Maryland’s evolution over the past 71 years, its impact on students, and its plans for the future. Today, Arts for Learning Maryland reaches more than 180,000 Maryland students a year in every Maryland school district with arts-integrated artist residencies, performances, and professional development experiences for educators.

GBCA is also glad to see that Shriver Hall Concert Series has resumed in-person live programming. Baltimore’s premier presenter of chamber music ensembles and solo recitalists presents the highly anticipated Baltimore recital debut of acclaimed British pianist Paul Lewis on Sunday, December 5. (Ticket holders have the option to watch live from home.)

Let’s all be thankful for the abundance of cultural experiences in the region!


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