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Executive Director's Letter - 1/16/24

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope you spent time last weekend reflecting on and honoring the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. King. As we move forward in the new year, we hold the words of Dr. King in our hearts as a reminder of the importance of giving.

As part of our ongoing service to the community, GBCA is committed to helping ensure public sector support for artists and cultural organizations of all races. It is our civil right. To that end, I participated in Maryland Nonprofits legislative briefing about the 2024 General Assembly joining Nicholas Cohen of MD Citizens for the Arts (MCA), Megan Baco of the AnacostiaTrails Heritage Area, and Maryland Museum Association to lead a breakout session. Nicholas and I were thrilled that Meg could join us, marking the first time that the arts and humanities sectors have done this presentation together.

In her role as part of the all-volunteer Maryland Museum Association, Meg provided information on their work. As a consortium of organizations, they have sent a letter to Governor Wes Moore requesting the inclusion of $5 million for the Museum Assistance Program in the FY25 operating budget, noting that the program has not been funded since 2011.

Maryland Citizens for the Arts reports that, even in this difficult budgetary environment for the state, there is optimism that the arts funding formula will be followed for a budget increase or around $2 million. Also, funding for the Capital Grants Program for small organizations is mandated in the amount of $3 million. Nonetheless, it is critical that the sector has strong representation for Maryland Arts Day on February 13 in Annapolis. GBCA will be leading the Baltimore County attendees in one-on-one visits with select elected officials along with organizations, including the Baltimore County Arts Guild.

Maryland Arts Day is the largest annual gathering of arts professionals in Maryland. With more than 500 participants representing every county in the state and Baltimore City, this statewide arts advocacy event connects artists, educators, administrators, volunteers and trustees with lawmakers from every legislative district in Maryland. Maryland Arts Day needs your participation to show strong support for the arts in Maryland and its impact on the economic and cultural vitality of the state. For more information on Maryland Arts Day, please visit the MCA website. Register Today!

In other news, the Marilyn Hatza Memorial Strengthening the Humanities Investment in Nonprofits for Equity (SHINE) 2024 operating grants at Maryland Humanities have been announced. Follow the link above to see a county-by-county list of recipients and this link to learn more about honoring Marilyn who had a tremendous impact on humanities organizations throughout the state and as a model for the country.

Also on the humanities front, a new organization, Baltimore County Heritage Network, has been formed while sadly, the Catonsville Historical Society closed during COVID, and it is unclear what will happen with their building and collection.

Be sure to join us in raising your voice for arts and humanities in Maryland!

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As a member of GBCA, you will not only gain access to wonderful benefits, but you will also become an active participant in a broader cultural community. Your organization and employees will directly benefit from opportunities to collaborate, connect, learn, network and share with your colleagues in the cultural community. Join our growing constituency of over 300 individual artists and organizations representing the region's extraordinary range of arts, culture, history, heritage, humanities, and attractions.

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