Baltimore News: Amanda Mack, Artscape Promo Video, ‘I Got a Monster’

Previous Story
Article Image

On Writing, Representation, and Baltimore’s 20th [...]

Next Story
Article Image

Art AND: Kyrae Dawaun

This week’s news includes: Crust by Mack moves into Harborplace, MICA’s money trouble, Bria Sterling-Wilson’s EBONY cover, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at the Hippodrome, reviews of ‘I Got a Monster,’ and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Amanda Mack, Southern Living’s 2021 Cook of the Year, shows off some of her baked goods under the pavilion of her future new space in the Harborplace development in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 11, 2023. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)


Amanda Mack, Southern Living’s 2021 Cook of the Year, shows off some of her baked goods under the pavilion of her future new space in the Harborplace development in Baltimore, Maryland, on March 11, 2023. (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

Black-owned, family-run Crust by Mack bakery savors opportunity to serve delectables at Harborplace
by John-John Williams IV
Published March 14 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Growing up in McCulloh Homes with a family of strong women, Amanda Mack knew she would be successful. But she never thought she would have a brick-and-mortar presence at the city’s iconic Inner Harbor.

“It was truly the heart of Baltimore. It didn’t matter how much money you had, it was a central point and meeting point for residents to take in all the beauty that Baltimore has to offer,” said the 35-year-old, whose Crust By Mack concept has attracted a cult-like following where customers have been known to wrap around the block waiting for her delectable creations, from savory meat pies to buttery rich cookies. “I never imagined having a space here.”



—Courtesy of Clark Vandergrift

What the Artscape Promo Video Teases About The Festival’s Return
by Grace Hebron
Published March 15 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: What is art? That’s the question that Baltimore native and Tony Award-winning actor André De Shields poses in the trailer for the city’s beloved Artscape festival. “Oils on a canvas, the shape of light, the movement of form and figure, the sounds of a city, the deliberate craftsmanship of a master’s hand, or the manifestation of a feeling?”

The answer is left to viewers of the visually moving promotional film—which was released in the fall by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts and took home two trophies for Best Internet Commercial and Best A/V Sales Promotion at the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore’s annual ADDY Awards held at the Senator Theater last week.

Around the video’s 90-second mark, the background music fades, and De Shields looks into the camera to announce the long-awaited revival of America’s largest free arts festival, which took a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 but is slated to return to an extended footprint throughout Bolton Hill, Mt. Vernon, and the Station North Arts & Entertainment District September 22-24. (As longtime locals know, the event is typically held in July, but it was pushed to September this year in hopes of avoiding excess heat.)



Financial and enrollment losses post-pandemic have been dramatic at MICA, but its troubles are not unique. (Laila Milevski/The Baltimore Banner. Original photo by Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

MICA’s financial woes aren’t unique, but they could be tough to fix
by Hallie Miller
Published March 14 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Emily Kobert remembers when the dreaded email landed in her inbox that strange day in March 2020. The Maryland Institute College of Art, like most other institutions of higher learning in the United States, instructed students to head home as the coronavirus snaked its way across the country and upended everything in its path. Campus would remain closed to students for more than a year.

Now a senior, Kobert, an animation major from South Florida, felt the ground shift beneath her feet again earlier this month as MICA administrators prepared the campus community for cuts to faculty and staff as well as college-wide “rescaling” that will condense departments. It’s the second time in a year the college has announced cutbacks, citing drops in enrollment.



West Baltimore arabber Levar Mullen, featured in “I Got A Monster,” is one of the residents who was affected by the Gun Trace Task Force. (Greenwich Entertainment)

The Culture Report: How the ‘I Got A Monster’ documentary chooses community over cops
by Lawrence Burney
Published March 12 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: In June 2019, before he was the state’s attorney for Baltimore City, Ivan Bates testified before the Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, laying out the many ways members of the Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force had terrorized city residents for more than a decade. More specifically, Bates directed the bulk of his attention to the task force’s sergeant, Wayne Jenkins. In the years prior, Bates, a defense attorney, represented a handful of clients who’d accused Jenkins and other officers of robbing them for money and drugs while also planting evidence to arrest them, further ensuring the success of those robberies.

Bates’ on-camera testimony is the vehicle that drives the narrative for the new Kevin Casanova Abrams-directed documentary, “I Got A Monster,” released Friday in select theaters and on Prime Video, and based on Baltimore journalists Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg’s 2020 book of the same name. Last year, showrunner David Simon took on the same topic with HBO’s “We Own This City,” a star-studded scripted miniseries which is based on the book from Justin Fenton, now an investigative reporter for The Baltimore Banner. While both filmed projects cover the wrongdoings of cops in the GTTF (a subject I’ve written about, too), the angles they take are polar opposites.

See also:

Movie Review: I Got a Monster
by Max Weiss
Published March 9 in Baltimore Magazine



Photo by Keith Major for EBONY Media. Collage by Bria Sterling.

Meet Bria-Sterling Wilson, the Collage Artist Tapped for Janelle Monáe’s EBONY Cover
by Team EBONY
Published March 9 in EBONY

Excerpt: Janelle Monáe’s striking collage art for this month’s EBONY digital cover came from the brilliant mind of collage artist Bria Sterling-Wilson. The introspective creative is known for her manipulation of magazine clippings, newspapers and fabric which allow her to recontextualize found materials to examine how African Americans are represented and perceived in society.

Monáe and team discovered Wilson’s work on Instagram. Loving the artist’s ability to create imagery with a slightly retro feel that celebrates the sensuality of women, she reached out to Wilson and EBONY to collaborate on this project. Wilson got right to work, mixing materials and textures to unveil Janelle Monáe in a colorful and playful setting.

Wilson took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to describe her creative process and how her work will evolve in the future.



Richard Thomas ("Atticus Finch") and Yaegel T. Welch ("Tom Robinson"). Credit: Julieta Cervantes

Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at the Hippodrome: It was always complicated
by Karen Nitkin
Published March 15 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: “All rise.”

Those words bookend the fantastic production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird at the Hippodrome. Spoken by the bailiff during the trial of Tom Robinson, they signify respect for the judge and respect for the American legal system.

They also call to mind one of the most famous scenes in the 1960 book and the 1962 movie of To Kill a Mockingbird, a scene that Aaron Sorkin wisely removed when he updated the classic text for Broadway in 2018.



Anson Asaka’s exhibit, “The Black Queen In All Of Her Splendor and Glory,” is currently on display inside of the Katsea Gallery on West Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson, Md. (Photos by Reuben Greene)

Anson Asaka: Celebrating Black women
by Reuben Greene
Published March 14 in The AFRO

Excerpt: In honor of Women’s History Month, painter Anson Asaka recently debuted his latest exhibition, “The Black Queen In All Of Her Splendor and Glory,” with an opening reception at Katsea Gallery on West Pennsylvania Avenue in Towson, Md. The exhibit features a stunning collection of portraits that highlight the beauty and strength of Black women.

“It’s about celebrating Black women during Women’s History Month and recognizing them in all areas of life whether it be in the industries of entertainment, law, politics, science and in any other field you can imagine,” said Asaka.

The opening reception, hosted by Kay Lawal-Muhammad, featured readings by poet Rebecca Dupas, a performance by praise dancer Donnette Edmonds, music by K. Holloway and a performance by The Storage Unit Fusion Collective.



Godcaster vocalist Von Kolk performs at The Compound in Baltimore on March 8, 2023. Photo by Sam Levin.

Where’s the band? A spirited and suspenseful show at The Compound.
by Ed Schrader
Published March 14 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Last Wednesday night at the former ForkLift repair facility known as The Compound on 2239 Kirk Ave. in East Baltimore Midway, folks gathered for a three-band bill, a DJ, and a space that offers a reprieve from the norm.

My friends Marlon Ziello and Nick Wisniewski bought the place years back and transformed it with the help of many gifted masons, plumbers, engineers, and builders. I’ve had a unique chance to watch it evolve from a giant beat up old repair shop into a multi-faceted live-in artists space. The Compound contains within its multitudes: the Oak Hill Center For Education and Culture, a wood shop, a plethora of utilitarian studio spaces crammed with pottery, canvases, and woodshavings, and jam spaces for bands. When I lived here, there was even a coffee roaster and chicken coops.

Last week though, people came to rock. With some sweat and heavy renovations, the mammoth DIY space swung into the realm of legit venues with a 250-person capacity space complete with a high-end P.A. system that sonically rivals many area clubs.



Baltimore filmmaker John Waters stands between a portrait of himself by Catherine Opie and a piece of cardboard with the word "CRAZY" scrawled on it, attributed to Waters' father. The pieces are among 83 works of contemporary art from Waters' personal collection which are featured in a new exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Photo by Ed Gunts.

John Waters and Baltimore Museum of Art featured on CBS News Sunday Morning segment about his private art collection
by Ed Gunts
Published March 13 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore writer and filmmaker John Waters is no stranger to viewers of late night television talk shows, but this week he appeared on morning television as well.

Waters and the Baltimore Museum of Art were featured yesterday in a six-minute segment on CBS News Sunday Morning, one of the most-watched broadcasts on television.

Correspondent Rita Braver’s report focused on the BMA’s current exhibit of art work that Waters owns and plans to donate to the museum when he dies, entitled “Coming Attractions: The John Waters Collection.” Braver interviewed Waters at the museum in late January.



Kneads Bakeshop and Café located in Harbor East. (Kaitlin Newman / The Baltimore Banner) (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

With Kneads, the family-owned H&S Bakery goes upscale in Harbor East
by Christina Tkacik
Published March 10 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: To understand why it’s such a big deal that Kneads Bakeshop and Café is opening in Harbor East this month, it helps to know some history.

In the 1960s, John Paterakis made a $1.5 million gamble. The H&S Bakery owner built a state-of-the art manufacturing plant in Baltimore in hopes he could sell his wares to McDonald’s. Soon, he was providing the fast food restaurant with the bulk of its hamburger buns and his business was on its way to becoming one of the nation’s largest privately owned bakeries.

When his grandchildren decided to team up to start a new retail shop for H&S Bakery decades later, they knew it was never going to be just a cute little storefront.



Photography by Justin Tsucalas Lettering by Luke Lucas

How Michele Tsucalas Built a Granola Empire in Baltimore
by Jane Marion
Published March 15 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: On and early Fall morning, inside a run-of-the-mill Timonium office park, a kitchen staff dressed in white aprons, white chef shirts, and bouffant caps measures and mixes, spreads and smooths, bakes and breaks, and finally bags and boxes sheets of granola. Against the backdrop of shiny steel ovens, industrial-sized mixers, and walls papered with hygiene signs, the crew works with yeoman-like efficiency for a brand that has quietly become a made-in-Maryland cereal superstar.

Twenty-four hours later, Michele’s Granola—seven flavors in all, from almond butter to lemon-pistachio, plus seasonal and limited-edition varieties—will get shipped to some 3,500 grocery stores across the United States, including Whole Foods Markets, Giants, Krogers, The Fresh Markets, Sprouts, Wegmans, Graul’s Market, Eddie’s of Roland Park, as well as mom-and-pop markets (not to mention online on Amazon). The food product—once an “itty bitty granola baby” in the words of its founder—has a footprint in virtually every state from Maine to Hawaii, and it is now one of the top-selling premium granolas in the country.



Header Image: Amanda Mack (Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

Related Stories
Baltimore art news updates from independent & regional media

New fiber art exhibition at the Renwick, The Phillips Collection 2024-25 exhibition schedule, BMA announces environmental initiatives, Charles Mason III, Preakness future, Everyman Theatre's "Midsummer," FPCT's upcoming season, Golden West, and MICA - News from local and independent media sources.

Preakness Photos by E. Brady Robinson

Along with weird horse names and laying a bet, the fashion at Preakness and other Triple Crown races is oddly traditional, a pageant of who's who in pastel suits, bowties, fancy hats, and floral dresses.

The best weekly art openings, events, and calls for entry happening in Baltimore and surrounding areas.

This Week:  Jerrell Gibbs at James Cohan NYC, artists reception + awards presentation for UMBC's 2024 Visual Arts Senior Exhibition, The Black Artist Fair's Grantwriting Basics – The Black AF Edition, Open Critique w/ Schroeder Cherry at Creative Alliance, Arvay Adams opening reception and more!

After 180 applicants, Baltimore's last five mayors have selected their choices for official portraits by Baltimore-based artists

The Baltimore Mayoral Portrait Competition has selected Ernest Shaw Jr., Kennedy Ringgold, Gaia, Megan Lewis, and Karen Warshal for $20,000 commissions