An Open Letter from Current Space abut Bill 08-163

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Interested Supporters of Small Venues,

Hello! I hope everyone had a good weekend. As you may or may not already know, there’s a bill being proposed in the City Council that will eliminate venue zoning classifications, charge live arts venues a fee, and place heavy regulations on them. I’ll be emailing everyone periodically with updates on this process and the status of the bill. This past week everyone at The Annex has been talking about the impact it would have on our work, and more importantly, the work of all of our friends who create and perform. The venue licensure ordinance could allow for venues to form in new places by eliminating the zoning requirements, however it would also drastically affect the small venues we know and love. We are asking all our friends, supporters, and patrons to OPPOSE this bill on the grounds that it will effectively restrict artistic expression and would cripple or kill the best part of Baltimore’s live arts.

WHAT: Opposition to City Council Bill 08-163 A.K.A. The Venue Zoning Bill, due for “Draft Vote” by the council on April 29th.

WHY: An Excessive Licensure Fee ( $1500) and non-compliance fines ($500-$1000) would bankrupt small venues that ALREADY DON’T MAKE ANY MONEY.

A “Moral Character” clause that would call into question an unspecified scope of the venue’s/individual’s past actions, opening the door for censorship. The overly-broad scope of the bills definition of performance, including anywhere presenting “the opportunity to dance”, poetry readings, and comedy. Fundamental concerns regard freedom of expression. With the specific and extensive regulation of performance spaces the experimental, fringe, underground, and DIY artists will be marginalized and pushed from the city.

WHERE AND WHEN: Meetings This Week-

TOMORROW MONDAY the 30th 4 P.M. at the Metro Gallery: Baltimore Live Arts Business Association (mostly for venue owners and operators, though i’d reccomend trying to go if you can’t make…

8 P.M. at The Hexagon: Baltimore Live Arts Supporters For Everyone!

TUESDAY the 31st from 6:30-8:30 P.M. City Council Venue Zoning Bill Community Workshop Meeting. City Council Members and other City Officials will be present to field questions about the bill and take comments. Please be respectful, but firm! The city council understands that the arts scene in Baltimore is a big draw, but let’s remind them. We don’t need to talk up underground venues to make the point that small, aboveground venues will suffer because of it. Morgan State, Communications Center, Room 101, 5601 Perring Parkway email back if you need a ride/can give a ride. Let’s carpool! Thank you!

SATURDAY the 4th from 5-7 P.M. Annex Action Plan Potluck @ The Annex (2nd Floor) We’ll talk about what happened at the Tuesday community workshop meeting and how we can raise publicity for the cause by turning anywhere and everywhere into a Live Arts Venue 🙂 We’ll make some food, bring some of your own!

HOW:Attend those meetings, as many as you can! Join these google groups for other updates and information

-Email City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake [email protected] , and your your council representative. It goes without saying that polite, sincere letters will do something to convince them that this bill puts a good chunk of Baltimore’s cultural uniqueness at risk. As angry as we are, offensive emails will only alienate our views inside the city council.

-Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk! It’s cheap and it’ll help raise awareness!

-Email me for more information on the state memos, city departmental concerns, city council member info

WHO: All of us, for the love of art, however you define it.

Peace Love and Hugs
Rick and The Annex

Current Gallery
30 South Calvert Street
Baltimore Md 21202

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