Baltimore News: Sondheim Exhibition at The Walters, Ballet After Dark on AGT, Ernest Shaw’s Lexington Market Murals

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This week’s news includes: Ballet After Dark excels on America’s Got Talent, Andrew Smith profiles Pigtown, the Sondheim Prize increases in prize money, Ernest Shaw paints four murals at Lexington Market, Kira Wisniewski interviewed, Adult programming at the Aquarium, Olmsted’s influence upon Baltimore parks, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Brew, Baltimore, and other local and independent news sources.


Sondheim Art Prize finalists exhibit their work at the Walters Art Museum from July 21 to September 18
by Ed Gunts
Published July 20 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Starting Thursday, the Walters Art Museum will exhibit the work of three finalists vying for one of Maryland’s most prestigious art awards, the Janet & Walter Sondheim Art Prize.

For the first time, the top prize is $30,000, up from $25,000 in previous years. The second and third place finishers will receive awards as well — another first for the awards program.

This year’s show, which runs from July 21 through Sept. 18, marks the first time since 2019 that the museum has had an in-person exhibit of the finalists’ work. In 2020 and 2021, the awards program was shifted to a virtual format, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Ballet After Dark inspires and wows with winning ‘America’s Got Talent’ performance
by Donte Kirby
Published July 20 in Baltimore

Excerpt: Ballet After Dark showed that Baltimore’s got talent thanks to a stirring audition featuring founder Tyde-Courtney Edwards on last night’s episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

The show’s three judges were inspired enough by the dancers’ performance to Kesha’s “Praying,” as well as Edwards’ mission to help trauma survivors reclaim relationships with their bodies and lives through the healing power of dance, to unanimously vote for the troupe’s passage into the competition round.

The Baltimore-based Edwards is no stranger to accolades for her work: She recently won the $25,000 top prize from an event celebrating her and other organizations in the latest cohort of Johns Hopkins University’s Social Innovation Lab. Telling her story on camera also isn’t new to her, as she’s detailed the creation of Ballet After Dark in Procter & Gamble‘s “Queen Collective” video series. All of these experiences culminated in Edwards and her troupe being ready for the performance of a lifetime.



Baltimore artist Ernest Shaw Jr. to paint four new murals for Lexington Market renovation
by Liv Barry
Published July 18 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore artist Ernest Shaw Jr. has been commissioned to paint four new murals for the renovated Lexington Market Plaza.

Beginning Monday, Shaw will render four, 16-foot outdoor murals to line the walls of Lexington Market. The project is expected to last three weeks.

Shaw’s career as a painter, muralist, and arts educator spans over three decades. He has a number of murals throughout Baltimore, as well as murals located in Rochester, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; and Cali, Colombia.

Currently, Shaw serves as an arts educator at Green Street Academy, a charter middle and high school located in West Baltimore.



Young filmmaker uses his camera to show what it’s really like to live in his neighborhood
by Adonijah Bourne
Published July 15 in Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Andrew Smith sits on his porch in Waverly and recalls a time when African Americans weren’t allowed to live in the neighborhood.

“It’s a nice neighborhood, I wanted to live up in this area when I was young … back in the ’60s,” Smith said as a camera recorded him.

“What was it like back then?” asked Myles Michelin, who was interviewing Smith.

“We wasn’t allowed up here,” Andrew answered while chuckling.



The National Aquarium isn’t just for kids. Adults-only, evening series debuts with Baltimore beatboxer Shodekeh.
by Julie Scharper
Published July 17 in Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: The Baltimore musician Shodekeh peered at the dolphins nosing out of a tank in a cordoned-off section of the National Aquarium. Guided by the dolphins’ handlers, he tossed ice cubes into the tank, locking eyes with the sleek creatures.

Then Shodekeh opened his mouth, unleashing the talent he has honed through decades of practice — the ability to replicate nearly any sound using only his body. He conjured the rush of wind through trees with his breath. He cleared his throat, then replicated the rush of ocean waves. The dolphins responded with clicks and whistles — signs, their handlers said, that they were intrigued.

“I tried to really stay in the moment,” said Shodekeh, who is Towson University’s innovator-in-residence and recently performed at Carnegie Hall. “I didn’t want to assume anything.”



Playwrights commemorate 41 unmarked graves of Black residents at Waverly cemetery in Single Carrot Theatre’s “Unmarked: Stories Untold”
by Liv Barry
Published July 15 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Their graves are unmarked, but their stories will be brought to life.

This weekend, Single Carrot Theatre presents “Unmarked: Stories Told,” featuring three staged readings to observe the memory of 41 unmarked gravesites of African Americans in the cemetery of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Waverly.

Single Carrot Theatre is located at 3001 Old York Road, next to St. John’s and the cemetery where the staged readings will be held over three days.

The team behind the readings worked with local historian Jessica Douglas to recover “as much historical information as possible” about those buried in the unmarked graves, according to Single Carrot’s website. Douglas and the “Unmarked: Stories Told” team also studied information about life for Black Americans in the Reconstruction Era.



GameChanger: Kira Wisniewski
by Suzy Kopf
Published July 19 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: When Art+Feminism was founded in 2014, its goal was to address the fact that fewer than 10 percent of Wikipedia contributors identify as female, which reflects a long tradition of men being gatekeepers to the art world. They launched edit-a-thons to write into public record the art-centric stories and accomplishments of cisgender and trans women, as well as non-binary people and people of color.

Since then, more than 100,000 articles have been created or improved. The global nonprofit’s extroverted director, Kira Wisniewski, formerly head of operations at the National Women’s Studies Association, works to ensure that same ethos is sustainably reflected in the rest of their work. She also co-organizes CreativeMornings/Baltimore and sits on the board of the local Awesome Foundation.



Victory for Poppleton: The Eaddys can stay, the Sarah Ann houses will be saved and rehabbed
by Fern Shen
Published July 18 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Living in West Baltimore’s Poppleton neighborhood has been heartbreaking for residents – the city taking their homes by eminent domain for a project that’s dragged on for a decade, spawning more vacant weedy lots than new buildings.

Fighting back against what they viewed as a textbook case of failed development, residents and their allies made signs and fliers, held rallies, researched land records and wrangled doggedly with city officials to preserve what’s left of a community inhabited by Black families since the Civil War.

Today, to their surprise and delight, they are scheduled to stand side-by-side with Mayor Brandon Scott, Housing Commissioner Alice Kennedy and La Cité Development President Daniel Bythewood Jr. for an announcement that they are basically getting what they wanted.

Sonia and Curtis Eaddy, who fought for 18 years to keep their house at 319 North Carrollton Avenue, will be able to keep it.

See also:

Eaddy family can keep their Poppleton home; Black Women Build to restore Sarah Ann Street houses
by Marcus Dieterle
Published July 18 in Baltimore Fishbowl



An FCC grant allowed the Enoch Pratt Free Library to nab 5,000 new Chromebooks and hotspots
by Donte Kirby
Published July 19 in Baltimore

Excerpt: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week announced its commitment of over $266 million in two new funding rounds through the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which has already granted Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library a little over $5 million.

The public library system plans to apply for more money from the FCC, as its Fund supports better connectivity for students via schools and libraries.

Such funds could help Baltimore institutions like the Enoch Pratt Free Library close the city’s own massive internet connectivity gap. Before the pandemic, 40% of Baltimore city households didn’t have internet servicewhile one out of every three households didn’t have a laptop or desktop computer, according to a report by the Abell Foundation. This is an issue felt throughout the state, with 520,000 Maryland households not having a home wireline broadband subscription. That shakes out to roughly one in four households effectively disconnected from high-speed internet.



How Frederick Law Olmsted’s Principles Shaped Baltimore Parks
by Christianna McCausland
Published July 18 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Cheryl Duffey sits on a park bench in Locust Point surrounded by large planters sprouting annual flowers. Her two cocker spaniels lie at her feet on a beautiful herringbone brick terrace marking the entrance to Latrobe Park. She grabs the dogs’ leashes and enters the park, down a sweeping staircase and into an allée of trees.

“This is a well-utilized neighborhood park,” says Duffey, who is liaison for the Parks and Beautification committee of the Locust Point Civic Association. “When school lets out or on a weekend, the park is full.”

From the mature trees to local denizens using the space for everything from a volleyball game to a playdate, today’s Latrobe Park would still be recognizable to the Olmsted firm that designed and opened it in 1907. Yet many of the people whiling away a pleasant afternoon here likely have no idea they’re on land designed by the most revered landscape firm in America.



Header Image: Ballet After Dark on America's Got Talent, screenshot via Baltimore

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