Baltimore News: MTV and the Hirshhorn’s New Art Reality TV Show, MLK Parade Emails, John Waters Valentines

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This week’s news includes: a parade of emails about the MLK parade, Valentine’s Day with John Waters, a new Women Artist Exhibition at the BMA, Eubie Blake Center’s saving grace, BOPA announces Arts in Action grant recipients, MTV and the Hirshhorn team up for an arts-based reality TV show, Alanah Nichole Davis is’s new Baltimore reporter, Crowns premieres at Center Stage Baltimore, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: The Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, on Howard Street in Baltimore, has made a difference in the lives of young people for generations by training them in the performing arts, actor and singer Keith Snipes says. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)


John Waters is a busy man with a new show, album and art exhibit. (Greg Gorman)

John Waters on Valentine’s Day, his first ‘sick joke’ and being busier than ever
by Leslie Gray Streeter
Published February 14 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: John Waters doesn’t want to give away exactly what he’s going to say at his Valentine’s Day show at Baltimore Soundstage, but given that it’s called “A Date With John Waters: End Of The World,” you can probably expect a dash of vinegar in those hearts and flowers.

“Lots of people are coming in love to my show, but there’s one who always loves the other one a little more,” said the well-known Baltimorean filmmaker, provocateur, author and lovingly off-center man about town. “Never be the one who loves the other more. That can change by the hour.”



Hirshhorn to Debut Reality Show Aimed at Minting Art Star on MTV
Published February 9 in ArtForum

Excerpt: Washington, DC’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will launch a six-episode reality television series on March 7. Titled The Exhibit: Finding the Next Great Artist, the show will air concurrently on MTV (“right after Ru-Paul’s Drag Race!” the press release announces) and on the Smithsonian Channel. Seven emerging American artists will compete for a $100,000 cash award and the opportunity to present their work at the Hirshhorn: They will be judged by a panel led by the museum’s director, Melissa Chiu.

The show, which the museum created in partnership with MTV Studios, Paramount, and the Smithsonian Channel, reflects the Hirshhorn’s effort to make art accessible to a broader audience. It is expected to reach a potential 40 million viewers.



Scott’s office was told in November that there were no plans for MLK parade, emails reveal
by Hallie Miller and Adam Willis
Published February 10 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: In mid-November, an employee with the Baltimore City Recreation and Parks department asked a staffer in the mayor’s office how the agency could participate in the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. The mayor’s office forwarded the request to the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, the city’s arts council.

Despite having a contractual obligation to stage the parade each year, a staff member in the arts organization responded to the email with a smiley face emoji and a brief retort.

“Beats me. We don’t have plans for the MLK parade,” said Tonya Miller Hall, now a senior arts adviser in Mayor Brandon Scott’s office.



BMA to Open Major Exhibition on the Achievements of European Women Artists from the 15th to 18th Centuries
Press Release: February 15

Excerpt: On October 1, 2023, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will open a major exhibition exploring the vast artistic achievements of women artists and artisans from across Europe between the 15th and 18th centuries. Co-organized with the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Making Her Mark: A History of Women Artists in Europe, 1400-1800 focuses on works that reflect the ways in which women played an integral role in the development of art, culture, and commerce across more than 400 years. Acclaimed artists such as Rosalba Carriera, Artemisia Gentileschi, Élizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Judith Leyster, Luisa Roldán, and Rachel Ruysch are positioned alongside lesser-known professional and amateur fine artists, as well as talented but often unnamed makers in collectives, workshops, and manufactories. While scholarship about historic women artists has seen an increase in recent years, the investigations remain largely focused on an elite group of artists working in large-scale painting and sculpture. Making Her Mark explores the breadth of women’s artistic endeavors and innovations through the presentation of more than 175 objects—ranging from royal portraits and devotional sculpture to tapestries, printed books, drawings, clothing and lace, metalwork, ceramics, furniture, and other decorative objects—and argues for a reassessment of European art history to incorporate the true depth and variety of their contributions.

Making Her Mark is co-curated by Andaleeb Badiee Banta, Senior Curator and Department Head of Prints, Drawings & Photographs at the BMA, and Alexa Greist, Associate Curator and R. Fraser Elliot Chair, Prints & Drawings at the AGO. It is being presented as a special ticketed exhibition in Baltimore from October 1, 2023, to January 7, 2024, and will open in Toronto in March 2024. The exhibition features several new BMA acquisitions on view for the first time, as well as loans from the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Swedish Royal Collection in Stockholm, the National Gallery of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and many other significant public and private collections in North America and Europe. A fully illustrated catalog includes essays and commentary by the curators and other scholars, including Babette Bohn, Professor Emeritus of Art History and Women and Gender Studies, Texas Christian University; Virginia Treanor, Associate Curator, National Museum of Women in the Arts; and Madeleine Viljoen, Curator of Prints, New York Public Library.

“We are delighted to present this groundbreaking exhibition that will bring together exceptional works of art, craft, and design by women artists from a period and a field that has largely equated talent and artistic excellence with men, and painting and sculpture,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “The exhibition explores women’s essential work in the development of new ideas, aesthetics, creative movements, and commerce of the time. By recontextualizing this period in history and offering these women artists the attention they deserve, we hope to inspire our community to reimagine what they have previously held to be true about both art and history, and to contribute to the critical work of rectifying centuries of omissions.”



From left, actresses Nikki Owens, Ashley Johnson-Moore, Asia-Ligé Arnold and Jade Madden bring their ”Crowns” to life. (Rob Kim/Baltimore Center Stage)

In ArtsCentric’s ‘Crowns,’ Black women and church hats take center stage
by Imani Spence
Published February 10 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Some are tall, stretching for the sky. Others are low, gracing faces with lace and jewels. Many Black women wouldn’t dare walk into church without one. They are church hats, and they grace the heads of matriarchs across the country.

“Crowns” — a musical about the chapeaus and the women who wear them — opens at Baltimore Center Stage on Saturday. It’s produced by ArtsCentric, a color-conscious community theater organization.

Written by playwright Regina Taylor, “Crowns” is based on Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry’s book of the same name that features black and white portraits of Black women in church hats. The show focuses in particular on the character Yolanda (played by Anaya Greene) — a young woman who recently lost her brother — as she visits her aunt. Yolanda’s aunt informs her that in the South, women wear head coverings to church. The musical uses the hats and their prominence to talk about the way Black churches can influence and guide Black women, providing them with a sense of values and community.



Announcing the Arts in Action Grant Recipients
Press Release: February 15

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) proudly announces the 2023 recipients of the Arts In Action Arts Education Grant, which is made possible through the generous support of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC). The Arts In Action Arts Education Grant supports arts education projects, classes, and/or workshops that take place in school, after school, or in local community settings.

These grants are awarded by the Baltimore City Arts Council to individual artists and arts organizations that will implement programming during the Spring semester of the 2022–23 academic school year. “Arts programming has such a positive impact on the whole child,” says Director of the Baltimore City Arts Council Jackie Downs. “Which is why it is vital to support individuals and organizations who do this work. We’re thrilled to be in a position to be able to support these grantees who will impact our children in a meaningful way through their programming.”

The panel review team who evaluated this year’s applications includes author, curator, and social engineer Olu Butterfly; Bakari Jones, Empower Program Manager at Impact Hub; and Dr. Fadia Shaya, Professor and Executive Director School of Health at University of Maryland, Baltimore. This year, BOPA awarded 10 individual artists and arts organizations a total of $45,000 in educational grant funding. Here are the 2023 grantees:

• Baltimore Clayworks
• Baltimore Symphony Orchestra OrchKids
• Beyond Fearless Inspired by Truth,Inc.
• Bristol Players dba Fells PointCorner Theatre
• Dance & Bmore Programs (Maryland Philanthropy Network)
• Delandria Mills
• Dirk Joseph
• Rise with a Purpose, Inc.
• Single Carrot Theatre
• Susan Comfort

Learn more about the Arts In Action Arts Education Grant by visiting and following BOPA on social media (@promoandarts).



The Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center, on Howard Street in Baltimore, has made a difference in the lives of young people for generations by training them in the performing arts, actor and singer Keith Snipes says. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

Perspective: How the Eubie Blake Center saved one 16-year-old
by Keith Snipes
Published February 14 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Have you ever visited the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center? I have. Do you know who Eubie Blake was? I didn’t. That is, not until his life story would significantly impact my own.

This experience began at age 16, when I was in desperate need of a summer job. In my search for that job, I was directed to apply for work through the Mayor’s Office of Art and Culture, back when there was such an office.

It was there that I met a rather stern, yet gregarious, woman named Hattie Harrison. Ms. Harrison was an esteemed member of the Maryland legislature and a Baltimore public school teacher.

I remember sitting in her office undergoing an examination of sorts, as if she were trying to determine if I would be a good fit for what was to come. Fact is, I had no idea what she had planned for me. I simply wanted a summer job, and I didn’t care what that summer job would turn out to be.



Meet Alanah Nichole Davis,’s new Baltimore reporter
by Sameer Rao
Published February 13 in Baltimore

Excerpt: If you’ve been part of Baltimore’s arts, nonprofit or entrepreneurial sectors for a while, then Alanah Nichole Davis will be familiar to you.

You might know her from this site, for which she’s written about antiracist allyship, discussing work with your family and more. You might also know her from the columns and profiles she’s written for such publications as Salon, Baltimore Magazine and The Baltimore Banner. Or you may know of her poetry, or her nonprofit board service or something else.

Now, you can know her for something else: being’s new lead reporter for Baltimore.



St. John’s College Announces Opening of the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Museum
Press Release: February 13

Excerpt: St. John’s College today announced that the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Art Museum will reopen to the public on February 17. The museum closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the past three years has offered online-programming while the surrounding space underwent renovations. The newly renamed Mitchell Art Museum, previously known as the Mitchell Gallery, is the only art museum in Anne Arundel County accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and one of only five to be accredited in the state of Maryland.

“We’re excited to welcome people back to the Mitchell,” says St. John’s College President Nora Demleitner. “We have a dynamic array of extraordinary exhibitions coming up and are excited to share them.”

(read more)

Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., and on Fridays until 8 p.m. The museum will open to the public on Friday, February 17, at 4 p.m., preceded by a ceremony including Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, President Demleitner, Mitchell Art Museum Director Peter Nesbett, St. John’s College students, and other members of the college community.



Bob Dylan’s “Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” Became a Protest Song of the Civil Rights Era
by Ron Cassie
Published February 9 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Fifty-one-year-old Hattie Carroll typically worked as a server and bartender at the Emerson Hotel during special functions such as the annual Spinsters’ Ball, a charity affair benefiting the Baltimore League for Crippled Children and Adults. (The gala’s name was intended as tongue-in-cheek, referring to debutantes who remained unmarried at 25.)

On Feb. 8, 1963, William “Billy” Zantzinger, a 24-year-old tobacco farm owner from southern Maryland, and his wife began their evening with a pre-ball dinner and cocktails at the swanky Eager House. The couple arrived elegantly dressed to the 10 p.m. gala. He wore a top hat, white tie and tails, and a carnation in his lapel, and carried a “toy” cane, which he’d picked up at a carnival. He was boisterous and rudely drunk, elbowing his way through the two-and-three deep crowd at the Emerson Hotel bar. According to the grand jury testimony of a waitress working alongside Hattie Carroll, he came in hollering, “I just flew in from Texas. Give me a drink!”



Header Image: The Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

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