Baltimore News: BMA Acquisitions, Local Starbucks Workers Organizing, Fox News Blasts Baltimore

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This week’s news includes: Local podcasts highlight Baltimore creatives, new art coming to The Walters and BMA, MTA plans for the distant future, and more reporting from Community Architect Daily, No Pix After Dark and The Truth in This Art podcasts, ARTnews, and other local and independent news sources.



Marie Watt, Blanket Stories: Beacon, Marker, Ohi-yo, 2015.

Baltimore Museum Fills Gaps in Its Collection by Acquiring Surrealist Photography, Nari Ward Car Sculpture, More
Published January 26 in ARTnews

Excerpt: A photograph by Surrealist artist Kati Horna, a 17th-century etching by Paulus Pontius, and graceful figurine by Harlem Renaissance sculptor Richmond Barthé are among the 54 works entering the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. A mix of gifts and purchases, the group represents centuries of work from wide-ranging art movements and communities. Among the most significant pieces acquired is Nari Ward’s Peacekeeper (1995/2020), a burnt, rusted hearse. First created in 1995 for the Whitney Biennial, it was recreated for the New Museum’s acclaimed 2021 exhibition “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America.”

According to the museum, the acquisition has significantly bolstered its holdings of works by artists with ties to Baltimore: collage and performance artist Kandis Williams; painter Earl Jones; multidisciplinary artist and spoken-word poet Nia June; and sculptor Joyce J. Scott are few of the local artists joining the museum’s collection.



Image by Acutevision

EP 163: LIVE SHOW ft. Photographer E. Brady Robinson SK8R GRLS PHOTO EXHIBITION
hosted by Aaron Dante
Released January 31 on No Pix After Dark podcast

Excerpt: Aaron recorded a live show with Photographer E. Brady Robinson at the Hotel Indigo discussing her new Photo Exhibit SK8R GRLS. We discuss her inspiration behind the project, her love for roller skating, how she chose the Women for this and what is the soundtrack to this Exhibition.

IG: @ebradyrobinson
IG: @MarylandArtPlace
IG: @Acutevisions
IG: @NoPixAfterDark

SK8R GRLS is a photo series by E. Brady Robinson celebrating the freedom and joy of roller skating. The exhibition is on view at Hotel Indigo Baltimore, located at 24 West Franklin St. from Jan 25th – March 18th. A public reception will take place on March 8th from 5 to 7 pm in celebration of International Women’s Day.

In spring of 2021, Robinson took up skating as a way to stay active and reconnect with friends outdoors during COVID-19. During these skate dates, she photographed friends and eventually, a wider network of Baltimore-based female-identifying skaters. This work combines her love of athleticism, fitness, and fashion photography. These images, made at a moment where it felt like the world was reopening after over a year of closure and isolation during the pandemic, evoke a feeling of release and freedom.



Devin Allen, image credit: FJ Hughes

Season 6 : Episode 1 | Devin Allen
hosted by Rob Lee
Released February 1 on The Truth in This Art podcast

Excerpt: Devin Allen, a Baltimore native, has quickly become one of the foremost voices in the movement for Black lives. In the spring of 2015, with the death of Freddie Gray and tensions high in the city, Devin wanted to be a part of the movement. Having never photographed before, he instinctively picked up a camera to document the emotion, heartache, and anger in the streets. Since then, his work has resulted in two TIME magazine covers.



Baltimore Starbucks Workers Move to Unionize Against Deplorable Conditions
by Jaisal Noor
Published January 27 in The Real News Network

Excerpt: Workers at a Starbucks coffee shop in Baltimore City’s Mount Vernon neighborhood recently announced that they were organizing their workplace, joining a swell of labor action in different sectors by workers who have been emboldened amid worsening workplace conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workers are demanding better wages, better working conditions, and scheduling stability from the corporate giant, which markets itself as a pioneer in corporate and social responsibility. They have sought representation through Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) that’s helping to unionize Starbucks workers around the country.

“There wasn’t a soul out that wasn’t looking for some way out of the situation that COVID put service workers in,” Violet Sovine, a worker-organizer at the unionizing Starbucks, told Battleground Baltimore. “And Buffalo has given us a clear path for organizing ourselves and pushing back against those deplorable conditions that we’ve been put into.”

Sovine has worked at Starbucks since October 2020.



Fox New commentator Tucker Carlson (right) criticized Baltimore on his show, while Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (left) defended herself against federal charges on MSNBC’s Joy Reid’s show, both on Tuesday night. Images courtesy of Fox News and MSNBC.

MSNBC, Fox News programs put Baltimore back in national spotlight
by Marcus Dieterle
Published February 2 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore was back in the cable news spotlight on Tuesday after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby defended herself against federal charges on Joy Reid’s show on MSNBC, and Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson urged people not to visit the city.

On his show “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Carlson criticized Baltimore City for its high homicide rates; including the deadliest January in about 50 years; and other issues. However, he dismissed the idea that such problems are rooted in structural racism.

“Whatever you do, don’t go to Baltimore,” Carlson said.

“It’s one of the worst places in the western hemisphere,” he added. “It’s a bit of Haiti in the mid-Atlantic.”



Walters Art Museum will host ‘Majolica Mania,’ March 13 to August 7
by Ed Gunts
Published January 31 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The Walters Art Museum is planning an exhibit that highlights the ceramic art form known as majolica.

Majolica Mania, as the exhibit is called, will take over the entire Hackerman House, the former Thomas-Jencks-Gladding mansion at 1 West Mount Vernon Place, now restored and part of the Walters campus. It will open March 13 and run through August 7.

Majolica is a type of clay pottery that is coated with enamel, ornamented with paint and glazed. The Walters’ exhibit will feature 350 examples that show the many ways it has been used over the years, and the ties it has to Baltimore.

“The Walters is honored to be a part of this wondrous exhibition, which brings to life one of the great under-recognized ceramics of the 19th century,” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, the museum’s Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director, in a statement. “There’s an intimate connection to the history of this pottery because majolica was also produced in our great city. Majolica Mania is an opportunity for us to connect to that shared past and to reveal the stories of the laborers, many of them women, who created the ceramic.”



Daniel Ramos and Sunny Schnitzer who joined the Scott administration at the same time, are now leaving.

High-level resignations shake the Scott administration
by Mark Reutter
Published February 1 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Daniel C. Ramos and Olivia “Sunny” Schnitzer are leaving Brandon Scott’s cabinet a year after their appointments were announced as key elements of Scott’s electoral promise to “revolutionize and modernize” local government.

A farewell party is scheduled for Ramos, Baltimore’s first deputy city administrator, and Schnitzer, deputy mayor for public safety, on February 11 at a downtown restaurant, The Brew has learned.

Previously, Ramos had denied that he was looking to leave his $185,000-a-year job. Last Tuesday, he was named budget director for Harris County, Texas.

Schnitzer’s resignation as Scott’s $207,000-a-year safety advisor takes place amid a record surge of homicides in Baltimore and a vacant house fire that claimed the lives of three firefighters.
Her resignation has not yet been announced. She and the mayor’s communications office did not respond to a Brew request for comment. photo by De an Sun.

Bill Would Open the Door for Investigations in Wrongful Conviction Cases
by Hannah Gaskill
Published February 2 in Maryland Matters

Excerpt: House Judiciary Committee Vice Chair David Moon (D-Montgomery) is sponsoring a bill encouraging investigations into cases of wrongful convictions.

“I would argue that in law and criminal justice, imprisoning innocent people is a catastrophe,” Moon said Tuesday at a hearing on his bill. “It’s the professional equivalent of a doctor amputating the wrong leg.”

As amended, House Bill 249 would require that the Attorney General’s office and professional boards, including the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities and the Attorney Grievance Commission, be notified when the Board of Public Works learns that someone is eligible for compensation because they have been wrongfully convicted or because a judge grants a writ of actual innocence.

Under Maryland law defendants can file a writ of actual innocence if they submit new evidence that hadn’t been discovered in time to make a motion for a new trial.

Originally, the bill would have required the Attorney General’s office to investigate these cases. After an amendment, the notification would not require an investigation but would put the issue on someone’s desk.



Harford County Public Library CEO Mary Hastler (left) and chef John Shields (right.) —Courtesy of Chesapeake Farm & Bay to Table

‘Chesapeake Farm & Bay to Table’ Wants to Throw a Dinner Party on Your Screen
by Grace Hebron
Published February 2 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: As CEO of Harford County Public Library, Baltimore-raised bibliophile Mary Hastler is living out a dream she’s had since childhood. “As I always say, I have the best job in the universe. I love what I do.”

She loves it so much, in fact, that in spring 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns canceled the majority of in-person events, Hastler was determined to find new ways to keep local book enthusiasts connected. One of her ideas was to launch a program that the library planned several years ago: a cooking web series. But this one would be virtual, of course, and reminiscent of a pre-pandemic luxury.

“When you have a dinner party, it may be at a big, beautiful house, but almost everybody gravitates towards the kitchen…to watch as the cook is putting a meal together, or to pour some wine,” Hastler says. “That’s when a lot of the conversations are going on.”

The goal would be to recreate this atmosphere for library attendees, with help of local authors, chefs, and farmers. Luckily, the library knew just who to reach out to.



The latest in a series of MTA plans: A 50 year plan

MTA’s long range plan – will it be worth the paper?
by Klaus Philipsen
Published February 1 in Community Architect Daily

Excerpt: The MTA works in rapid succession on the kind of plans that map out the future, some are firsts. The MTA never had a Strategic Plan, it published its first one in September of 2021 under the title “Rebuilding Better“. The agency never prepared a statewide 50-year transit plan, but it has one in the works now.

Many would argue, we don’t need more plans, we need better transit. Indeed, there have been plenty of plans, including the Baltimore Region Rail System Plan of 2002 which was shredded when the current Governor killed the plan’s crown jewel, the Red Line in 2015. The Rail Plan’s successor, the Regional Transit Plan for Central Maryland (RTP), was mandated by the legislature to have a 25-year horizon. It was published in 2020 under the title “Connecting our Future” and must be updated every 5 years.



Header Image: Figure of a Peacock, Paul Comoléra, 1876, at The Walters Art Museum

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