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News briefs are compiled by BmoreArt staff to report on ongoing art news announcements in the region.

Emily Breiter comes in as Bromo Arts District Executive Director

In a press release, Amy Cavanaugh Royce, board chair of the Bromo Arts District and executive director of Maryland Art Place, welcomed Emily Breiter as the arts district’s next executive director. Breiter formerly worked on business engagement, fundraising, and events at the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore. Breiter will replace Claudia Jolin in the position, but Jolin will remain on the Bromo Board of Directors.

According to the Bromo Arts District Website, “Emily is a Baltimore area native who has previously worked for Downtown Partnership of Baltimore’s Business Development Team. She is an avid volunteer with the Station North Tool Library and frequent supporter of the arts. She is currently the Director of Economic Development for Downtown Partnership where she oversees arts initiatives and the Bromo Arts District. When she isn’t walking around Downtown, you can find her on a bike during Baltimore Bike Party on the last Friday of the month.”

The Downtown Partnership, which helped form the Bromo Arts District as an organization, will pay Breiter’s salary. “This interconnectedness also improves coordination on initiatives such as artist engagement, economic development, marketing, and grant funding,” Cavanaugh said in the press release. Breiter’s first move will involve working with the Bromo board to update the organization’s strategic plan.

MAP will host a happy hour on January 23, from 5:30–7:30 p.m., so the public and denizens of the district can meet Breiter and learn more about the Bromo.

Robert W. Deutsch Foundation names Jessica Solomon as Vice President

Jessica Solomon has served as the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation’s Senior Program Officer since 2017. According to a recent press release, the foundation (one of BmoreArt’s most significant supporters) announced that, “In her expanded role, Solomon will further refine and develop grantmaking strategies to ensure a strong culture of equity, learning and accountability to increase impact. Each year, RWDF makes grants in excess of $4,000,000 to Baltimore area non-profits.”

Bringing more than a decade of experience in organizational development to her new role, Solomon “will build on the foundation’s existing programs and place-based investments in arts and culture” including Open Works and Motor House, as well as community development and digital equity initiatives such as the Rubys Artist Grant Program, the Wash and Learn Initiative, and the Baltimore Artist Retreat, an annual intentional gathering for 50 Baltimore-based artists.

“This is an exciting time at the foundation,” said Jane Brown, president of the foundation. “2021 marks 30 years of grantmaking for RWDF, and as we approach this milestone, we see 2020 as an intentional time to reflect and actively shape what we become. Jessica’s insightful leadership will be critical to building and solidifying programs and making strategic investments that improve the quality of life in Baltimore and beyond.”

“This new role will enable me to support the foundation in remaining adaptive and responsive,” said Solomon, a native of Baltimore. “Now, more than ever ,it is imperative that our work is well-rooted in a deep understanding of the history and the untold stories of the communities we serve. I look forward to helping steward this next chapter.”

MICA awarded in National Democracy Challenge

MICA recently won two awards from ALL IN, a national, college-focused voting and civic engagement initiative. The Champion Award recognized the school with the highest registration rate of all participating campuses, and the Best in Class Award (for small, private, four-year institutions) for MICA’s Campus Action Plan. MICA graduate Maddie Wolf also took home the Honor Roll, one of 10 students across the country chosen to receive this award. More than 560 schools across 1,053 campuses participated in the ALL IN initiative.

In 2018, the school’s voting rate of registered students increased about 40 percentage points (from 14 percent in 2014 to 51.7 percent in 2018), and the number of its eligible students registered to vote increased almost 30 percentage points (from 68.6 percent in 2014 to 95.2 percent in 2018).

“We are honored to be recognized for our early efforts to institutionalize voter engagement and civic action throughout our campus, mirroring a priority that has long been held with members of the MICA community,” Abby Neyenhouse, director for the Center for Creative Citizenship, said. “Along with the founding of the Center for Creative Citizenship, this award is a testament to the renewed commitment of our institution to critically examine our community engagement efforts and include civic voice; to remind each student of their potential and ability to become an informed global citizen and change-agent in Baltimore and beyond; and to make the voting process easy, fun and accessible for all members of our community who are allowed that right.”

“Civic engagement is a natural expression of the kind of contributions our students embrace and enact,” said MICA President Samuel Hoi, in a press release. “We are proud and honored that MICA’s educational approach is affirmed and recognized by ALL IN.” (Photos from MICA’s National Voter Registration Day event in 2019.)

Morgan State University receives grant to expand civil rights education for Baltimore City youth

Morgan State University received $248,442 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services for the school’s Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum to bolster civil rights-based curriculum and programs for Baltimore City middle and high schoolers. A portion of the money will also go towards staffing at the museum.

MSU has partnered with the city public school system, the Maryland Historical Society, and Baltimore Heritage, “each of which will contribute expertise related to highlighting Baltimore’s civil rights leadership history and implementing experiential educational engagement for educators and their students,” according to a press release.

The three-year grant requires that the project supports the museum’s capacity-building, supports the “growth and development of museum professionals,” and offers “community access and awareness.” The funding has allowed the museum to hire Shana Rochester, PhD, as education coordinator and will help them hire interns to help with the project.

“Local teachers are visiting the Lillie Carroll Jackson museum to build primary source research skills and to connect their instruction to Baltimore’s history and the city’s role in the U.S. civil rights movement,” according to the press release. “During the school year, teachers bring their students to the museum to engage in a hands-on experience that enriches their understanding of their city’s African-American history and legacy, while building essential historical thinking skills.”

“We are delighted to lead such an important and transformative educational initiative,” said Iris Leigh Barnes, PhD, the curator for LCJM and project manager/supervisor for the grant. “Baltimore has such rich civil rights history. It is vital that the city’s youth understand how that history fits into the national freedom struggle and that they learn from the iconic Baltimore leaders and the tactics they used to experience successes in social justice reform.”

Jessica Bell Brown and Leila Grothe join BMA curatorial team

In October 2019, the Baltimore Museum of Art announced Jessica Bell Brown and Leila Grothe as the new Associate Curators for Contemporary Art. Brown was previously the Consulting Curator at Gracie Mansion Conservancy in New York, where she led the exhibition She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, 1919-2019. Grothe was previously the Associate Curator at the Wattis Institute at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, working largely with emerging and mid-career artists such as Rosha Yaghmai, Yuki Kimura, and Melanie Gilligan. Brown and Grothe started their new positions in November.

Before her curatorial role at the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, Brown worked at the MoMA as the Museum Research Consortium Fellow in the Department of Painting and Sculpture. Highlights from that job include the 2017 Rauschenberg retrospective Among Friends, contributions to the MoMA’s publications, and #ArtSpeaks, a series of gallery talks within the museum that she co-founded. Brown as also worked for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Creative Time. Having earned an MA in Art History from Princeton and a BA from Northwestern, Brown is currently working towards a PhD on postwar abstraction in the post-civil rights decade at Princeton.

Along with her work at CCA’s Wattis Institute, Grothe has been a guest lecturer and advisor to the CCA Curatorial Practice graduate program. She has also worked as the Director for Curatorial Affairs for the 500 Capp Street Foundation, the collections manager for the Alexandra Bowes and Joyner/Giuffrida collections, the Assistant Director of External Affairs at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, and as a project manager for Creative Time in Dallas. Grothe has an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a BA in Art History with Honors from Southern Methodist University.

Led by chief curator Asma Naeem, the BMA’s contemporary department is also supported by Senior Research & Programming Curator Katy Siegel; Associate Curator Cecilia Wichmann; Associate Curator for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Leslie Cozzi, who joined the museum last year from the Hammer Museum; Cynthia Hodge-Thorne, the inaugural Meyerhoff-Becker Curatorial Fellow; and Stella Hendrix, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation Fellow.

Also: the BMA announced its fall 2019 acquisitions—and there are zero Baltimore-based artists on the list. 

In a December 30 press release the BMA announced that it acquired almost 100 works this fall, “with objects engaging all five of the museum’s curatorial departments.” While it’s a fantastic list of artists, none are from Baltimore and this is a disappointing oversight.

Of the group listed, Sonya Clark and Nate Lewis were both previously based in Washington, DC (semi-local?), although Clark is now a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts and Lewis has been based in New York for several years. We strongly suggest that the BMA makes it a priority to select new works for collection from the many deserving Baltimore-based women artists in 2020.

Along with Clark and Lewis, the new acquisitions include works by Zoë Buckman, Olafur Eliasson, Darrel Ellis, Doreen Garner, Samuel Fosso, Allen Frame,  Tomashi Jackson, Zhang Kechun, Judith Larzelere, Ellen Lesperance, M. Joan Linault, William B. Meyers, Tanya Marcuse, Sir William Orpen, Joe Overstreet, Howardena Pindell, Ramsses, and Sanlé Sory. “The museum also added 18 works by unidentified artists from Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Japan, Korea, and Nigeria, and a 19th-century Baltimore Album Quilt. Approximately a dozen of the works in the group were purchased with proceeds from the BMA’s spring 2018 deaccession from its contemporary holdings, including paintings by Firelei Báez and Ed Clark, a sculpture by Fred Eversley, and a video by Kota Ezawa. The fall 2019 acquisitions mark the final group to enter the BMA’s collection before it launches its 2020 Vision initiative, which includes a commitment to only purchase works by female-identifying artists in the coming year.”

ICA Baltimore announces affordable collecting opportunity in their Flat File Artists of 2020

The Institute for Contemporary Art Baltimore announced a new round of artists participating in their 2020 Flat File Program. According to the organization, “Artworks were chosen from over four hundred entries, and include work in a variety of media, from drawing and painting to photography, cloth and plastic; from artists from the Baltimore, DC, Maryland and Virginia as well as artists from recent ICA exhibitions.”

The organization and gallery, located at 16 W. North Avenue, will host a brunch opening on February 1, noon–4 p.m., and the show will remain up until February 23. After that, the works will go into the gallery’s flat files, available to view and purchase through the end of 2020. They’ll also be available to purchase on ICA’s website. All flat file artworks are priced under $500.

2020 ICA Flat File Program artists: Amanda Agricola, Erin Barach, Marybeth Chew, Julia Clouser, Seth Crawford, Sue Crawford, Sara Dittrich, Elaine Fisher, Skye Gilkerson, Jay Gould, Maggie Gourlay, Heather Harvey, Elli Maria Hernandez, Elliot Earl Keeley, Kyle Kogut, Mehveş Lelic, Ilenia Madelaire, Ariana Mygatt, Janet Olney,  Nat Raum, Lauren Rice, Eric Rivera Barbieto, Margaret Rogers, Margaret Rorison, Emily Schubert, Ayaka Takao, Dominic Terlizzi, Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, and Julie Wills.

Exhibition Dates: February 1–23, 2020
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 1, 2020, noon–4 p.m.
Open Hours: Saturdays and Sundays, noon–4 p.m., or by appointment

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