Baltimore News: Raunjiba Design Center, DJ Kotic Couture, & New Latino Cultural Center

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This week’s news includes: the Baltimore Beat goes on, John Waters’ personal film collection to be showcased at BMA, Remington’s Raunjiba Design Center, Highlandtown’s new Latino Cultural Center, and more reporting from Baltimore Beat, Fishbowl, Baltimore Magazine, The Herald-Mail, and other local and independent news sources.


New Latino cultural center opening in Highlandtown
by Clara Longo de Freitas
Published August 11 in Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: The rowhouse next to Salem United Methodist Church in Southeast Baltimore was empty. A priest had lived there once, Angelo Solera was told, but any traces of a home life had been wiped out by the time he first visited the building.

Dust covered the floors and piles of wood, dirt and trash accumulated in the backyard, including a letter board with broken up words. Water poured through the ceiling when it would rain.

None of it bothered Solera. He was grateful. He got to work, along with plumbers, painters, bricklayers and so many others in the Latino community and in Highlandtown to make it something special for the community.

“This is where ‘La Casa de la Cultura’ begins,” said Solera, the executive director of the community-based organization Nuestras Raíces.



Baltimore Beat, a reimagined alt-weekly, is reaching out with a new free print publication debuting this week
by Adam DeRose
Published August 9 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The Baltimore news media scene is growing again, as the Baltimore Beat is relaunching as a nonprofit news operation, with its first print edition scheduled for release on Wednesday.

The Beat’s return as the city’s alternative newspaper comes after years of careful planning, hiring and building what its owners hope is a sustainable foundation.

“What I do think is really lacking (in Baltimore), not only an alternative weekly paper like City Paper was and like the Beat was and Beat will be, but we think it just lacks a free print paper,” said Brandon Soderberg, the Baltimore Beat’s Director of Operations.



‘This is a town of ingenuity’: Raunjiba Design Center wants to be a resource for artists, creatives
by Jasmine Vaughn-Hall
Published August 4 in Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Walking through a renovated 10,000-square-foot warehouse tucked between a doggie day care and an auto shop, Scott Tucker explained how he and his wife Melani Dowdy could have leased a smaller spot, but they wanted a collaborative space that provided more.

Raunjiba Design Center in Remington is their way to pursue their individual passions — fashion and interior design — and also be a resource and hub for artists, designers, builders and creatives. Scott acknowledged they’re not bringing something entirely new to Baltimore, which has thriving arts and culture communities. But he said they want the center to contribute to the creative momentum that already exists.

“We just want to be a part of that and help be an energizer to support that,” Scott said.



‘Queen of the Underground’: Baltimore rapper and DJ Kotic Couture shares how her journey of self-discovery in a small town emboldened her alter ego
by Ed Schrader
Published August 4 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: On a muggy Friday evening amid the distant fragments of passing conversations and blaring speaker phones emitting from the occasional SUV, Baltimore rapper Kotic Couture clicks her jeweled neon-orange and pink nails as she unravels a bit of her past. We take refuge on a shaded stone bench in front of the Baltimore Museum of Art, where Kotic recently MC’d and has a music video on display.

Kotic Couture is no stranger to a club scene which has garnered the attention of Drake, Beyonce, MIA, DIPLO, and Netflix, where you can watch “Dark City: Beneath The Beat,” a documentary directed by Baltimore’s TT The Artist which references Kotic. She emits that energy of one who stands in the wings on the precipice of wider recognition for her fervent earworms and kinetic live performances.

On her freshly released album “Late To The Party,” which came out in June, listeners get a lot of heart amid wistful piano loops, marimba hits, and vocals shifting from distortion to up close and heart-melting. This is especially true on “Shadow,” a song about her late father whom she lost in 2019. The song hits a heavy emotional peak pulling the heartstrings with lines like “I hope my words reach the heavens for you to dance to. I had to say goodbye before I was prepared to look up and I see the stars shining, and I whisper all my secrets to the wind.”



Black Neighborhoods Matter
by Lisa Snowden
Published August 9 in Baltimore Beat

Excerpt: For the Eaddys, their home, located in the Poppleton neighborhood, means roots—a place that family can go. Sonia Eaddy said that her grandson, who just got out of school, is staying with her now, in this four-bedroom home tucked into a quiet corner of West Baltimore.

“It’s always somebody here,” she said. “This is our family home.”

It is a place she and her husband Curtis created to suit their wants and needs. A house transformed into a home over 30 years of hard work. First, they opened up the living room and dining room to make the space more welcoming and airy; then, they added a first floor bathroom. After a fire in 2012, they finished the basement.

For them, the 319 North Carrollton Street home isn’t just an address on the map, it is the sum total of hard work and determination.



Five Baltimore City basketball courts where I learned life lessons
by Wallace Lane
Published August 5 in Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: I wholeheartedly believe that if you can make it in Baltimore you can make it anywhere. Baltimore breeds some of the most confident individuals alive. Never let anyone tell you differently. In Baltimore City, you have to earn every ounce of self-confidence, no matter what the field is.

Like many others in West Baltimore, I earned mine on the basketball court.

In my youth, I lived and breathed basketball. It was the first sport I ever loved and I spent most of my time playing on crates, at outdoor courts and at rec centers. There, I learned true grit, mental toughness and how to compete. My basketball love affair bred life lessons I carry with me till this day. No, I did not make it to the NBA or grow to be 6 feet, 5 inches tall or even ever dunk the ball, but most of my internal strength came from hooping as a kid around the city.

There are plenty of courts in Baltimore, but here is a curated list of my favorites — and where I experienced my personal growth.



A story three Baltimore TV stations aren’t reporting: Lead paint chips falling from their broadcast tower
by Fern Shen
Published August 5 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Ever since Christine Sajecki realized that the red flakes her six-year-old was picking up on the ground were lead paint – falling from the television tower that looms over her Woodberry neighborhood – she has been on a mission to alert her neighbors about their potential danger.

Sajecki plastered the area with homemade signs that warn residents not to touch the little red bits, tell them how to request clean-up and offer links to where they can learn more about the health hazards of lead.

But as she worked her way through the North Baltimore community, noticing the bits of red paint still visible on lawns and in gutters, she was horrified to find that many people were still unaware of the issue.

A couple she encountered with a baby, who knew nothing of the danger of the paint chips lying on the sidewalk outside their home, left her particularly disturbed.

See more:

Residents balk as MDE and TTI suggest bringing back the company that sent lead paint flakes onto Woodberry
by Fern Shen
Published August 10 in Baltimore Brew



Baltimore Museum of Art to show works from filmmaker John Waters’ personal art collection starting Nov. 20
by Ed Gunts
Published August 4 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Coming to the Baltimore Museum of Art this fall is “Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection,” an exhibit of art from filmmaker John Waters’ personal collection.

The exhibit will feature about 90 works of art selected from 372 works that the writer and filmmaker plans to leave to the museum upon his death. When the donation was announced in the fall of 2020, representatives promised the museum would have a preview of what’s to come while Waters was still alive, and this is it.

Scheduled to run from Nov. 20, 2022 to April 16, 2023, “Coming Attractions” is one of two Waters-related museum exhibits opening over the next year, along with “Pope of Trash,” a career retrospective at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles next summer.



BMA Curators Celebrate the Art of Collaboration
by Suzy Kopf
Published August 10 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: As curator of American art at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Virginia Anderson is particularly focused on the last few words of its mission statement—to create “a museum welcoming to all,” with a goal of assembling exhibitions that center on the voices and experiences of historically marginalized groups.

One of the keys to that success? Her BMA colleagues.

“There are so many things you have to balance as a curator working with different departments to make the art and the narrative shine,” says Anderson, 51, formerly assistant curator at the Harvard Art Museums. “I’ve experienced collegiality at every museum I’ve worked in, but I think intellectual resourcing is having a moment.”



Monkeypox vaccines remain limited in Maryland as U.S. declares public health emergency
by Latrice Hill
Published August 5 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: With monkeypox cases on the rise in the U.S., the Biden administration has declared the virus a public health emergency.

In Maryland, local health departments are working to vaccinate residents, but the vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the public health emergency declaration is part of a strategy to combat the outbreak and nationally increase “production and availability of vaccines, expand testing capacity, and conduct outreach to stakeholders and members of the LGBTQI+ communities.”

Although the U.S monkeypox cases confirmed so far have been largely concentrated among men who have sex with men, public health experts emphasize that anyone can contract and spread the virus.



A curator’s diligence and a 57-year-old theft: Stolen German art found in … Hagerstown?
by Tamela Baker
Published August 7 in The Herald-Mail

Excerpt: A rare piece of Baroque art. An international mystery. A determined art expert.

And finally, after nearly 60 years, a resolution to a theft first discovered in 1965 — in Munich.

When a year-end donation to the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts last winter included a rare Baroque drawing by Italian artist Giovanni Battista Salvi — better known as Sassoferatto — the museum staff was thrilled.

“How truly delightful it is that Hagerstown now has a Sassoferrato to call its own!” museum Executive Director Sarah Hall gushed in a column for The Herald-Mail.

Header Image: Abuelita by Jessy DeSantis

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