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Executive Director's Letter - 10/3/23

In Blackwater Woods by Mary Oliver

Look, the trees

are turning

their own bodies

into pillars

of light,

are giving off the rich

fragrance of cinnamon

and fulfillment,

the long tapers

of cattails

are bursting and floating away over

the blue shoulders

of the ponds,

and every pond,

no matter what its

name is, is

nameless now.

Every year


I have ever learned

in my lifetime

leads back to this: the fires

and the black river of loss

whose other side

is salvation,

whose meaning

none of us will ever know.

To live in this world

you must be able

to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

This has been a season of loss. I didn’t know Pava Lapere, but this stirring tribute from Sherrod Davis, friend and co-founder of Eco Map, reminded me again that those of us who believe in and are committed to Baltimore, share a passion for our city and what is possible here. She may have been in the tech sector, but her work and vision resonate well beyond a single field and certainly to the the arts and culture community. What a tragic loss, but how much better we are for her many contributions to Baltimore.

We had yet another loss last week of someone close, if not as well known. Maja Griffin, a dear friend of my son and many others, a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA), and someone who made an incredible impact on her friends and community of Baltimore, has left us too soon. Like other moms, my children’s friends can become especially precious, part of our extended family–a little distant, but still fiercely loved. Bless you Maja, we are so grateful for knowing and loving you. There will be a Celebration of Maja's Life on Thursday, October 5 at 10:30 am at The Derrick C. Jones Funeral Home, P.A., which is located at 4611 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215.

As I mentioned last week, we also lost the amazing arts scholar and advocate, Jackie Copeland. In addition to being a former GBCA Board member, deputy director for audience engagement at The Walters Art Museum, and leader of The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Jackie was most recently the Chair of the Maryland States Arts Council. On Friday, October 27, a memorial for Jackie will be held at The Walters Art Museum from 2:30 to 5 pm. A funeral service has also been arranged for 10 am on October 26 at the People’s Congregational United Church of Christ, which is located at 4704 13th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

With a full heart,


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