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Executive Director's Letter - 6/20/23

Don’t put away those caps and gowns just yet. This Thursday, June 22, Mayor Brandon Scott will be joining us for the Urban Arts Leadership (UAL) 10th year Anniversary Graduation! Congratulations to the 2023 cohort Juan Ogando, Tracy Stevens, and Adrian Velez. The Mayor will also be helping us celebrate the many people who have made the program what it is today, including the Urban Arts Leadership Advisory Council, Host Organizations, Cohort Teachers, and GBCA staff, most especially the program’s Director, Kibibi Ajanku and Manager, Renz Balagtas. David Mitchell, the founder of UAL, will also be recognized that evening.

While all our 2023 Fellows have had enriching experiences in their placements, we are particularly excited for Tracy Stevens who has been offered a permanent position as Marketing Manager for Maryland Citizens for the Arts. She is just one example of the many successes of UAL alumni, the majority of whom have found employment or committed to further academic degrees within six months of graduation.

Looking forward to next year, and as a result of the diligent UAL Advisory Council, GBCA will soon be announcing the 2024 cohort, which will begin next September.

GBCA is grateful for the past and present support of the following individual and institutional partners. We thank them for their commitment to the Urban Arts Leadership program and for all they do to support GBCA's mission to create equity and opportunity In, Through, and For the arts and humanities in the Baltimore region.

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company

Baltimore National Heritage Area Association

The Bunting Family Foundation

Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Family Foundation

Jane Brown and Neil Didriksen

Kevin and Robbye Apperson

Maryland State Arts Council

National Endowment for the Arts

PNC Foundation

Robert W. Deutsch Foundation

Rheda Becker and Robert E. Meyerhoff

SB & Company, LLC

Sozosei Foundation

Surdna Foundation

The Peck Foundation

The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund

Finally, we at GBCA have been closely following the developments at Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), with specific concerns about funding. Most of the recent focus has been on BOPA’s important function as the City’s event organizer. Equally as important is its role as the City’s Arts Council. It’s time for the creative community to organize around what is needed from a strong arts council and to take a close look at the City’s support. Using Mayor Scott’s report from the Transition Team on Arts and Culture's recommendations as a starting point, it is possible to move quickly to set priorities and take action. You can read more about this issue in my recent letter to the editor published by the Baltimore Sun here.


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