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Baltimore News: Single Carrot Theatre Closing, Neighborhood Fiber Co., Terri Lee Freeman

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This week’s news includes: Single Carrot Theatre to close at end of fiscal year, Maryland Film Festival and Parkway Theatre ‘paused,’  Juliet Ames’ saltbox project gets national attention, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: This salt box featuring Billie Holiday in the city’s Radnor-Winston neighborhood has a cameo in a Good Morning America segment about artist Juliet Ames. The mural behind it is part of the B’more Birds project. (Courtesy Juliet Ames)

 

 

Important news from Single Carrot Theatre
Press Release
January 25, 2023

Dear friends and collaborators,

It is with a wave of complex emotions that after 15 years of joyfully serving Baltimore City and beyond with bold, transformative theatre and impactful, inspiring arts programming, Single Carrot Theatre has decided to close at the end of the fiscal year. Over the years, we have been honored by the incredible support we have received from the people of Baltimore and humbled by the talent and partnership of hundreds of collaborating artists.

To staff, artists, community partners, board members, and audiences, we are deeply grateful for the generosity, passion, knowledge and talents you have shared with us over these many years. Fifteen years is a good long run, and we are proud of the creative work we have brought to this city. We will dedicate much of our remaining time to celebrating our impact and legacy with all of you, so please stay tuned on our website and social media for more details to come.

Our reasons for closing are complex, multi-faceted and layered. Chief among these is the natural migration of Single Carrot Theatre leadership, in the coinciding of the planned departure of SCT’s 9 year tenured Artistic Director and the Executive Director’s move to a new sector. Furthermore, compounding post-pandemic organizational challenges have made sustaining a theater of our size ever more difficult. These include issues of staffing shortages and stretched human capacity, limited regional philanthropic resources, and the ever-increasing cost of sustaining live theatrical productions. For those of you who are still asking why, a more detailed perspective can be found here on our website.

Above all we want to steward remaining funds and our relationships with transparency and good faith. We are committed to closing ethically and responsibly and with a focus on advocating for the remaining powerful and important arts organizations in our community.

So what’s next?

  • Our education programs will continue through the end of the school year. Including day camps during Baltimore City professional development days and Spring Break.
  • We are gathering stories to celebrate our 15 year history to be shared on our website and social media. Share your memories by clicking here!
  • We are advocating for a more sustainable and healthy arts industry and will be releasing a case study of SCT’s work.
  • Stay tuned for a date and invitation to a send-off party this spring!

We are profoundly grateful to Baltimore for all you have done for us, especially in recent years. Our mission will always be rooted in our philosophical foundation – “The day is coming when a single carrot freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”

– The Carrots

 

 

Single Carrot Theatre Closing; Members Reflect on Company’s 15-Year Run
by Grace Hebron
Published January 31 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Last week, Single Carrot Theatre—Baltimore’s roving nonprofit ensemble known for its experimental, community-focused productions—announced plans to close this summer after 15 years. The company has canceled its remaining productions for the year, including poet Aziza Barnes’ BLKS and playwright Clare Barron’s Dance Nation.

In an announcement posted to the theater’s website on January 25, founding member and longtime artistic director Genevieve de Mahy described the reasons behind the closure as “complex,” citing her planned departure from the company—along with that of longtime executive director Emily Cory—as well as challenges linked to staffing and resources prompted by the pandemic.

“In general, the theater industry—and in some ways, the nonprofit industrial complex—is not designed to be sustainable,” de Mahy tells us, referring to the administrative nature of U.S. theater companies, many of which lack resources in marketing and fundraising. “The system isn’t set up to allow the arts to thrive.”

See also:

Experimental theater Single Carrot to close after 15 years
by Imani Spence
Published January 25 in The Baltimore Banner

 

 

Neighborhood Fiber Co. Aims to Weave Positive Social Change
by Sally Holtgrieve
Published February 1 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Karida Collins is writing a love letter to Baltimore, in the form of dyed yarn.

Collins, owner of Neighborhood Fiber Co. (NFC), knew she’d be naming her skeins after neighborhoods from the earliest stages of her business plan. The goal was to create something distinctly urban and highlight the beauty of city spaces, rejecting stereotypes of knitwear consisting of all pastels and soft prints. NFC hand-dyes yarn out of a firehouse-turned-production-studio on Eutaw Street downtown, selling the unique colors in its upstairs retail space to local knitters and crocheters and to the world via a robust online operation.

With more than 70 colors of yarn, the rationale behind each name varies. Some of them offer a gateway to ask questions and discuss historical context. “Upton” is the shop’s black, Collins says, adding it is difficult to dye full black so it’s really a dark gray.

 

 

Big Fish: Terri Lee Freeman and connecting past and present at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum
by David Nitkin
Published January 31 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Terri Lee Freeman faced great expectations as she returned to Maryland in 2021. After five years at the head of the National Civil Rights Museum, located in the Memphis motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, she was becoming the executive director of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore.

Museum supporters and leaders were enthralled by her experience and vision, as well as her background in philanthropy, having previously served for 18 years as the president of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Freeman, 62, came aboard at a pivotal moment: Baltimore and the nation were reckoning with the racial injustice that boiled over after the murder of George Floyd. Museum operations had not fully returned to their pre-pandemic state, and Baltimore was reeling from violence.

Not long after taking the position, personal tragedy hit. Freeman’s husband, Rev. Dr. Bowyer G. Freeman, a longtime pastor and past Howard County NAACP president, died unexpectedly in January 2022. Freeman’s professional obligations briefly became secondary.

 

 

An Announcement About the SNF Parkway Theatre and the Maryland Film Festival
Press Release

For a quarter century, the Maryland Film Festival has been a vibrant part of the state’s arts community, bringing films, filmmakers, and audiences together.

The enduring COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for the Film Festival – as it did for countless other arts organizations. The film industry experienced dramatic changes, and filmgoers’ habits evolved. We were excited about the promise of audiences returning when we reopened the Parkway Theatre in August 2021, but attendance at our festival, screenings, and events has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Given these continuing challenges, the Maryland Film Festival Board of Directors has decided to scale back the organization’s operations and pause screenings, programs, and events. With public events paused, the Maryland Film Festival will prioritize a planning process to develop a new business model and plan that will chart the future trajectory of the organization, including the annual film festival, and the operations of the Parkway Theatre. We postponed the 2023 film festival but remain committed to mounting a memorable 25th anniversary festival in the spring of 2024.

Our goal is to ensure that the organization remains a vital community asset for years to come, and we will continue to provide updates on our progress.

 

 

Meet the New Steward of The Walters’ Treasure-Trove Collection of Material Culture
by Suzy Kopf
Published January 30 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Earl Martin is a curator of several thousand ordinary but extraordinary things. A snuffbox with a tiny portrait of Louis XIV. A Russian drinking bowl made of gilded silver. A Fabergé sugar bowl covered in botanical garlands.

Specifically, Martin is the Deborah and Philip English Curator of Decorative Arts, Design, and Material Culture at The Walters Art Museum, a new position created with a $2.5-million endowment from its namesake local art collectors and tasked with caring for the Mt. Vernon institution’s collection of 18th- and 19th-century artifacts.

But the job requires more than just preserving pretty things from the past, ranging from ceramics and textiles to glass: Martin is looking at how these pieces—both functional and ornamental—had an impact on the world around them.

 

 

The Culture Report: Two Baltimore artists selected for prestigious national fellowship
by Lawrence Burney
Published January 29 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Baltimore revels in its underdog mentality — it’s the edge that helps shape so much of the city’s character. But still, in recent years, the city has been identified as one of the best underground arts ecosystems, partly due to its natural eccentricity. From music to film and visual arts, Baltimore has a plethora of quality representation on the world stage. And this week, there’s more reason to celebrate that legacy.

For the past 17 years, Chicago-based arts nonprofit United States Artists (USA) has been an avid supporter of artists with varying practices throughout the country. Each year, the organization selects for their annual fellowship program individuals whose work has either made significant impact on their communities or pushes their practice forward. These fellowships come with unrestricted $50,000 cash awards. Last week, USA announced its 45 fellows for 2023, and, delightfully, two of those artists are born-and-raised Baltimoreans.

 

 

After inaugural exhibit, The Parlor arts hub returns with ‘vintage marketplace’ starting February 4
by Ed Gunts
Published January 26 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: After a successful inaugural exhibition last fall, Baltimore’s newest arts hub is returning with more activities in February.

The Parlor, a mixed-use arts center that’s taking shape inside the former Stewart & Mowen funeral home at 108 W. North Ave., opened in November with an exhibit entitled “Memento Mori,” which is Latin for “Remember that you will die.”

Starting Feb. 4, it will host “Pied a Terre,” a month-long marketplace where visitors will be able to shop for vintage furniture, décor, books and clothing. According to merchant and organizer Currie Lee, the marketplace will be an “immersive experience,” staged to reflect “the spaces we inhabit in our day-to-day life” and support small businesses.

 

 

‘Showing the whole world how cool Baltimore is’: Salt box artist appears on Good Morning America
by Julie Scharper
Published January 27 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Baltimore’s salty side is capturing national attention.

Good Morning America is honoring the work of artist Juliet Ames, who has led the transformation of the city’s salt boxes into works of art. Her work was featured on the show Thursday.

“Baltimore is so special to me,” Ames, of Lake Walker, told the show’s producers. “I don’t think could happen really in many other places.

 

 

James Beard Awards recognize Ekiben and Foraged chefs — but not Cindy Wolf
by Christina Tkacik
Published January 25 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: While the rest of the world is looking at the Oscar nominees, foodies’ eyes are on the James Beard Awards. And this year, Baltimore has another strong showing.

Two Baltimore restaurateurs were nominated for the best mid-Atlantic chef category: Steve Chu of Ekiben and Chris Amendola of Foraged in Station North.

“I am still in shock. I cannot believe it. It’s mind-blowing,” Amendola said. “I am humbled to be included on that list. After so many years of idolizing those chefs … now my name’s on that list. That is crazy.”

He found out about his nomination from Chu, who texted him in the morning to say congratulations. “I couldn’t believe what I was reading,” Amendola said.

 

 

Header Image: This salt box featuring Billie Holiday in the city’s Radnor-Winston neighborhood (Courtesy Juliet Ames)

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