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Executive Director's Letter - 9/5/23

Labor Day is a U.S. national holiday held the first Monday every September. Unlike most U.S. holidays, it is a strange celebration without rituals, except for shopping and barbecuing. For most people it simply marks the last weekend of summer and the start of the school year. The holiday’s founders in the late 1800s envisioned something very different from what the day has become. The founders were looking for two things: a means of unifying union workers and a reduction in work time.” US News & World Report, By The Conversation, Sept. 1, 2023.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. This week, as we celebrate the holiday, we continue to honor the many contributions and struggles of workers in America, including those in creative industries. This is a particularly potent time for labor organizing in museums, amongst artists, and in Hollywood where the Writers Guild of America is in the midst of a strike as is the Screen Actors Guild/American Film Television and Radio Actors.

Jobs in the creative industries are often viewed as fulfilling in and of themselves, but these workplaces have also fostered inequality and exploitation. For example, years of offering unpaid internships as a means to gain a foot in the door have created imbalance and inequity. This practice reinforces a homogeneity in the workplace that favors people who are already financially secure, well connected, and white.

The writers in Hollywood are striking both because of current practices, which do not protect the income generated from their work, and in anticipation of how Artificial Intelligence (AI) will transform their industry and further devalue their roles. (See: Why Hollywood Writers are Striking and the Immediate Impact.) Sadly, while the studios, executives, and investors make millions of dollars, those creative employees are offered little job security or benefits.

In the nonprofit sector, cultural leaders are working hard to strike a balance between paying fair wages and their sustainability. An issue further complicated by a reliance on philanthropic contributions. Funders have a preference for program grants and rarely fund operating expenses which include staff salaries. All of this is to say that these are issues that have been long overlooked and critically need the time, attention, and corrections they deserve.

I am delighted to announce that Alix Fenhagen has joined the GBCA team as the new Baker Artist Manager. With a background in arts management, marketing, development, and theatre practice, Alix has consciously combined her passion and creative thinking as an artist with a strategic and collaborative approach to promoting and sustaining artistic endeavors.

Alix has worked as a digital marketing and PR strategist and consultant in the arts, helping artists and organizations promote their work to reach and grow audiences. She was a long-time ensemble and board member of the recently closed Single Carrot Theatre, where she served as a Managing Director over two different periods. In addition to her work as an arts administrator, Alix is a multifaceted theater artist, who has had the privilege to work with many of Baltimore’s wonderful theatre companies and artists.

All my best,



GBCA has a new partnership with Warehouse Cinemas. Next time you take in a movie at their new Rotunda location at 727 W 40th St Baltimore, watch for our special September advertisement.

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