News Briefs: NEA and NEH Grants to Local Orgs, Opportunities for Film and Media Workers, and more

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2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade

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BmoreArt’s Picks: January 28 – February 3

Creative Alliance wins $400,000 grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

No small feat for a community-grown and community-focused organization, the Creative Alliance was recently awarded a $400,000 “Infrastructure and Capacity Building Challenge” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Creative Alliance joins larger local institutions such as the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art which have previously received this grant. Other regional arts institutions including the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Folger Shakespeare Library also received infrastructure grants ($636,443 and $500,000 respectively) this year.

Creative Alliance’s $400K will go towards its campaign goal of $5.6 million for the construction of the Creativity Center, which will be located right across the street from the Patterson theater location. The Creativity Center, set to open in the fall of 2021, “will offer state-of-the-art classrooms, a professional-quality dance studio floor, and a teaching kitchen. The Center’s accessible facilities will support life-long learning through workshops, classes, dances, performances, social gatherings, community dinners, and events that showcase and share the rich cultural traditions of our multi-racial, multi-ethnic community and city.” At the Creativity Center, students of all ages will be able to pick from an array of art workshops including drawing, painting, pottery, jewelry, and more as well as bilingual classes for traditional arts reflective of the neighborhood’s populous immigrant community, including quilting, piñata making, cornhusk flower making, batik, embroidery, screen painting, weaving and more.

“Many of the local businesses, cultural groups, and social clubs that once knit the social fabric of Southeast’s communities are gone,” said Gina Caruso, Creative Alliance Executive Director, in a press release. “The Creativity Center will promote cross-cultural education and engagement among all residents. Bridging differences is one of the great powers of the arts, and an important aspect of Creative Alliance’s mission.”


…As well as another $25k from the National Endowment for the Arts—along with a host of other Baltimore organizations for arts-related projects

Creative Alliance’s $25,000 NEA grant supports an apprenticeship program with Artesanas Mexicanas, a collective of women living in Southeast Baltimore originally from El Salvador, Mexico, and Ecuador who make and share traditional crafts and traditions. Founded in 2012 by Maria Gabriela Aldana “as a response to the immediate need for support and employment of Latina artists based in Southeast Baltimore,” Artesanas Mexicanas create and share folkloric arts, crafts, and traditions through public workshops and after-school programs.

Eight of the 18 total NEA grants awarded to Maryland organizations this year are based in Baltimore. Young Audiences of Maryland received $75,000 to “support its work integrating the arts into teaching and learning in Baltimore City,” specifically “a series of school-embedded, educator professional development experiences that match professional teaching artists with teachers to collaboratively plan arts integrated lessons, deliver them to students, and evaluate the experience.” Twenty-seven teachers from three Baltimore City Public Schools (Collington Square Elementary/Middle School, Leith Walk Elementary/Middle School, and Harlem Park Elementary Middle School) will partner with teaching artists to develop academic lessons that employ various art forms to enhance students’ learning.

The other Baltimore-based organizations and institutions taking home NEA funding include: Baltimore Center Stage, Community College of Baltimore County, Johns Hopkins University, National Association of Black Storytellers, Neighborhood Design Center, and Wide Angle Youth Media.


Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest submissions are open

The third edition of the Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest will take place later this year, September 4–6, 2020 at the Parkway Theatre, and now’s your chance to submit your film: submissions opened on January 19. The theme this year is Legacy: “We want stories that show the Black Femme as a universal archetype. We want more Black Femme protagonists – so whatever ‘legacy’ means to you, we would love to see your work.” Submissions are open, through Film Freeway, to narrative shorts and features, experimental films, music videos, and web series.

Nia Hampton (also a BmoreArt contributor) founded the festival in 2018 in part because “she got tired of not seeing films that she wanted to see,” wrote Lisa Snowden McCray. “I think about films where the lead should have been a dark skinned black woman and how revolutionary that is and how it shouldn’t be,” Hampton said. “How it’s a big deal, like in ‘If Beale Street Could Talk,’ the fact that [there] was a darker skinned woman being loved and seen, that is a very powerful thing and it’s upsetting that it’s so rare.”

In her write-up of last year’s festival, Lyric Prince pondered self-perception. “At the festival, I felt encouraged by how Black femmes are committed to changing the narratives about us, by taking control.”


2020 cohort of Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund fellows announced

The Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund in Film and Media at Johns Hopkins recently announced its 32 Baltimore-based fellows who are working on 27 projects (a few collaboratively). SZIF Fellows receive guidance in the form of “Incubator Labs” which entail working sessions and discussions and mentoring from “award-winning artists and established professionals in technology, media, business, and the arts” who “offer their advice, guidance and practical knowledge, and help each Fellow explore new production and distribution models.” After this stage, fellows can apply for funding through SZIF to further develop their project.

“The world may be sweltering and at times on literal fire, but so too is the passion and the storytelling of this year’s Fellows,” said SZIF Director Annette Porter in a press release. “The Fellows’ commitment to bettering the world through storytelling is truly inspiring, and I don’t mean that lightly. The projects in this pool, whether dealing with the environment, identity and belonging, or local heroes, all speak louder than anything I could possibly say about them.”

SZIF was founded in 2016 to address inequality in the film and TV industries. “The Fund places a special focus on those who have not been given a voice in the film and television industry,” said Porter. “But more than giving a voice, it’s allowing people to see themselves represented in film, which is huge.”

One of this year’s fellows is BmoreArt contributor Angela N. Carroll, who’s working on a documentary series about postwar and contemporary African American artists who “have extraordinary catalogs but remain fairly obscure and are rarely exhibited,” she said. “The goal is that by visualizing their work and stories we can revise the art historical canon that has ignored their contributions.”

List of this year’s fellows:


· “Local Hero” by Gabriel Goodenough

· “Ghettos by Design” by Nehemiah Hall & Babatunde Salaam

· “Margie Soudek’s Salt & Peppers” by Meredith Moore

· “Open Secrets” by Catherine Rentz

· “Legacies: A Survey of Postwar” by Angela N Carroll

· “Into Light” by Amy Scott


· “Corpse Flower” by Emma Ayala

· “Hospes” by Stephanie Williams


· “All Manner of Thing” by Rebecca Mlinek

· “Cloud Nebula” by Scott Patterson

· “Eternity One” by Marnie Ellen Hertzler

· “King of the Freaks” by Evan Balkan

· “Traveler in the Wilderness” by Kyle Hamm

· “Like You Think You Know Me” by Stephen Schuyler & Marly Hernández Cortés

· “ACND (Ascension)” by Jamar Jones

· “Squeegee Boy” by Chung-Wei Huang

· “Blend” by Kamesha Brinso

· “Fifty Two” by Elissa Moorehead


· “I’m Migrant Mother” by Ileana Hernandez

· “Las Ruinas Circulares” by Nadia Hironaka & Tanya Garcia

· “Losing Winter” by Liz Cazabon

· “Stories Under the Bay” by Lisa Moren

· “Diary” by Gillian Waldo

· “Rough Ride” by Avery Griffin


· “Jailed from the Inside” by Dameon Gibbs

· “A Sophisticate’s Baltimore” by Kay Howell

· “Lead Checks” by Myron Higgins


Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network celebrates local entrepreneurs at Founder Fellowship Demo Day

Not only is it a great way to participate in your own community economy, but it also just feels so much better to support local businesses than to buy standard crap from a standard chain store. You know? On Tuesday, January 28, the Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network honors the five local businesses that went through its Founder Fellowship: the design business Branding by Brandi, vegan ice creamery Cajou, tattoo collective/studio Fruit Camp, co-op catering business Mera Kitchen Collective, and Vent Coffee Roasters. The event takes place at MICA’s Falvey Hall, and there will be a Pixilated photo booth, food from Ekiben, desserts from Crust by Mack, drinks by Off the Rox, and music by DJ Pierre Bennu, as well as a panel featuring fashion designer Anifa Mvuemba of HANIFA and real estate developer MTkalla Keaton of SUNSPOT Studios, moderated by BCAN Program Director Sharayna Christmas. It’s free to attend but registration is recommended.

Featured photo: Creative Alliance's Great Lantern Halloween Parade 2019 by Phil Laubner

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