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Allusive Vertigo

Baltimore has a recent history of quality art magazines and I have loved them all. My first writing gig was for Radar, a smart pocket-sized guide to art and culture, which later became Radar Redux online. Locus was a beautiful romp through artist studios and gallery spaces that came out annually for six years, ending in 2010. Link was a scholarly journal that dealt with a variety of local cultural topics, artists, and exhibits of import, produced by a community of local writers.

Currently the Contemporary’s new publication, Scroll, designed and written by their interns each year, is a thoughtful addition to the cultural landscape and Acres is a cleverly designed DIY journal that is definitely making its mark.

BmoreArt Issue 01: Place, Cover featuring artist Lu Zhang in the George Peabody Library, photo by Justin Tsucalas

This legacy, and a passionate love for magazines, has inspired BmoreArt’s new venture into print.

There are many who told me that Print is Dead. Print is clunky. Print is expensive. And in a way, they’re right. Online publications have reached a critical point of legitimacy; even the most established print publications now feature online content. Publishing on the interwebs is immediate, international, and easy to share—and BmoreArt benefits from the advantages of an online publication every day. However, these two forms, online and print, can enhance one another in strategic and beautiful ways.

Online information delivery is here to stay, but there’s something luxurious about the sweet papery smell of real printed materials, the texture of rich, buttery pages. A well-designed journal is an art object in its own right, to own and hold in your hands, an opportunity to pore over its images and text slowly and luxuriously. It’s a historical document that informs, and a beautiful object to treasure and return to. With this in mind, we have been working like crazy to produce our own new entry into the regional print landscape.

Baltimore Still Life, photo by Jill Fannon

Titled The BmoreArt Journal of Art + Ideas, our new publication is full color, 64 pages, and features original content created exclusively for print. Ideas are presented as art folios, written articles, and hybrid formats, the result of collaborations between artists and writers. Unlike our online publication, the magazine does not include event listings or critical reviews, focusing instead on individuals and long-term projects making an impact in Baltimore.

The publication features local artists, arts administrators, curators, photographers, illustrators, designers, architecture, craft, arts organizations, local busineses, and community practice, recognizing the important role they play in our city. We have also created a comprehensive resource guide for the arts in Baltimore, including museums, galleries, non-profits, colleges, and advocacy for creative people in Baltimore.

We decided to employ a thematic approach in the new journal, so this first issue was an opportunity for writers, photographers, artists, and readers to consider the meaning of Place, specifically our shared place: Baltimore City. What does it mean to be an artist in Baltimore today? What are the realities of living and working in this city? How does art define a place? How is the relationship between place and production realized?

The Young Art Administrators: Priya Bhayana, Deana Haggag, and Rebecca Chan, photo by Kelvin Bulluck

Rather than one decisive answer, this project has produced a variety of contradictory responses. Many build a deeper awareness for the wealth of talent in our hometown, the pride that we live in a place like no other. Others raise new questions, leaving us insecure and unsettled in the realization that we have much to lose. How do we preserve what we value and also move forward collectively? Where are the voices that need to be heard in making significant decisions for this city?

Posed to a variety of contributing writers, photographers, and visual artists, a rich and diverse conversation has emerged about what it means to live, work, and create a path for the future in Baltimore.

Thanks to contributors Bret McCabe, Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, Nate Larson, Jill Fannon, Olivia Obineme, Tiffany Jones, Sara Barnes, Dwayne Butcher, Elena Volkova, Crystal Star Whitman, Kelvin Bulluck, Will Holman, Andy Cook, Tony Venne, and Justin Tsucalas, the new BmoreArt Journal of Art + Ideas explores Baltimore as a fertile ground to live and work.

A huge, grateful thank you goes out to all of those who agreed to be profiled, featured, and photographed in odd situations for this magazine. Thank you for believing in this project and making yourselves vulnerable in the process. This town is filled with amazing, generous, smart people and this magazine reflects that spirit.

In the future, we want to release this publication twice a year, and all proceeds from sales of this first issue, and our magazine launch, will go towards our second publication. The periodical is available for consumption directly at the online BmoreArt site, at our Magazine Launch November 21 at MAP, at local book and art sellers, festivals and fairs, and museum gift shops.

Many thanks to Tony Venne, for his publication design and printing expertise, as well as to Bret McCabe, Rebecca Juliette, Rebecca Chan, and Jane Brown for professional and editorial support.

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation is a proud sponsor of this publication.

Top Image of Michael Farley by Crystsal Star Whitman.

This story is from Issue 01: Place, available here.

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