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Too Many Opening Receptions this Friday, April 11

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From a MD Sate Arts Council email today:

“Governor Martin O’Malley recently named the members of the Maryland Commission on Public Art, a group charged with implementing Maryland’s first formal public arts program.

“We are fortunate to have been able to bring together some of Maryland’s most dedicated artists, business professionals, and government and elected officials to guide us in the important task of developing the state’s first public art program,” said Governor O’Malley. “Moving this program forward has been one of my priorities and is an integral part of expanding the state’s national reputation as an arts leader.” Under the direction of the Maryland State Arts Council, the new group will develop guidelines and procedures for commissioning permanent works of art affiliated with state construction projects.”

Members of the committee are as follows: Barbara Bozzuto, WYPR Chair and business consultant, Alex Castro, Designer/Creative Director, Castro/Arts; Founding Partner, Urbanite LLC, Ann S. Coates, gallery owner and chair of Snow Hill’s Arts and Entertainment District, Bill Gilmore, Executive Director, Baltimore Office of Promotions & the Arts, Randall Griffin, CEO, Corporate Office Properties Trust Donna LaVerne Rice, artist and former Columbia councilwoman, also served as a former member of the Maryland State Arts Council, J. Rodney Little, Maryland Historical Trust, Sen. Richard Madaleno, member of the Maryland State Arts Council, Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse, Maryland State Archives, Office of the Comptroller (designee to be determined), William E. Kirwan, Chancellor, University of Maryland System

Ok. So the governor is trying to do something good here – to create more opportunities for public art projects in Baltimore and in the State of Maryland. So what does he do? He annoints a committee. Amongst all of the CEO’s and Senators and Executive Directors on the list, I don’t see a whole lot of professional artists named. While the ability to raise funds for projects is of vital importance, I am not convinced that businesspeople KNOW anything about public art, or art in general.

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I hope and pray that this group channels money and projects to MARYLAND artists, rather than outsourcing to nationally known artists from other places, as in the Johnathan Borofsky ‘Man/Woman Sculpture’ debacle. Not only did it cost taxpayers $750,000 and look rediculous, most of the funding left the state. There are a multitude of qualified sculptors and public artists based here in Maryland – I hope that this committee will make it a priority to advance their careers.

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