Baltimore News: Walters Art Museum Union, Mount Royal Tavern, and B-360’s New Baltimore Dirtbike Park

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This week’s news includes:   Walters workers union reaches an election agreement, Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined at the Lewis Museum, the dirt on The Dirt Church, food!, drinks!, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Beat, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Monica Ikegwu, a Baltimore-based portrait artist, examines Tawny Chatmon’s work. Images from left to right: Ralisha in Pastiglia and Monique in Pastiglia from “The Pastoral Scenes” by Tawny Chatmon, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Myrtis.  (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)



From left, Walters Museum employees Garrett Stralnic, Gregory Bailey and Will Hays, in a photo posted to the Walter Workers United Instagram page Monday after the group reached an election agreement. (Erin Riordan)

The Walters Art Museum and its workers have a union election agreement. Now what?
by Imani Spence
Published March 28 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: The Walters Workers United reached a union election agreement Monday with the Walters Art Museum.

“This has been a long, arduous process, but we’re in the homestretch now,” said Will Murray, lead maintenance technician at the Walters, in a news release Tuesday from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees announcing the milestone.

Baltimore City delegates in the Maryland General Assembly approved a bill earlier this month that required the museum to recognize employees’ efforts to form a union. The bill will be withdrawn now that an election agreement has been reached.



Drew Hawkins, chair of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum’s board of directors, walks through the “Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined” exhibit. Images from left to right: "Visionary" and "Come With Me To The Place Where I remember You" by Delita Martin, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Myrtis (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

The future of African American art finds a home in Maryland
by Imani Spence
Published March 25 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Myrtis Bedolla was gobsmacked walking into the gallery. Her exhibition, “Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined,” was finally home in Baltimore.

The exhibition — now on display across the city at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, the James E. Lewis Museum of Art and Galerie Myrtis —first showed alongside the Venice Biennale, a prestigious international art and cultural exhibition hosted each year in Italy. Bedolla was invited to participate after someone from the European Cultural Centre noticed her work at Art Basel in Miami, Florida.

“I was just so honored to be asked to participate in such an important cultural event,” Bedolla said. But the work was only beginning; she had to create a dynamic exhibition.



Mount Royal Tavern. (Paul Newson/Paul Newson/The Baltimore Banner)

Mount Royal Tavern sells for $800,000 to new owners, who include Dan Deacon
by Christina Tkacik
Published March 24 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Baltimore’s favorite dive bar has sold. The Mount Royal Tavern, fittingly, has been taken over by artists. According to a contract submitted with an application to transfer the pub’s liquor license, the price was $800,000. The four new owners include Nicholas Wisniewski and musician Daniel Deacon of Baltimore plus Marlon Ziello and artist Derrick Adams, both of Brooklyn, New York. Together they formed a company called One Distinct, LLC. The LLC is registered to Wisniewski with the address 2239 Kirk Ave., which is the location of an artist-run nonprofit called The Compound.



An arepa from Arepi, one of more than a dozen new food vendors coming to the Baltimore Farmers’ Market this year. (Handout)

The Dish: A guide to all the Baltimore Farmers’ Market’s new food vendors
by Christina Tkacik
Published March 29 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Grab your tote bags: The Baltimore Farmers’ Market kicks off this Sunday at 7 a.m.

It’s the 46th year for the market beneath the Jones Falls Expressway at Holliday and Saratoga streets, but there’s still plenty to discover.

Here’s a guide to all the new food vendors.



Steak tartare and a martini. —Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Review: Ash Bar in Mt. Vernon is Pure Fantasy
by Jane Marion
Published March 23 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: There’s a moment at Ash Bar—6 p.m., to be exact—when the lights are dimmed so low, it takes a minute for your eyes to adjust. And once they do, you’ll feel like you’ve fallen through the looking glass, a place where time stands still, and the outside world falls away. In reality, the setting signals the transition from aperitivo hour to dinner service in Mt. Vernon. It’s a seductive statement of sorts.

This all-day cafe, set inside the hip new hotel Ulysses, has a flair for drama, with its high-gloss burled ceiling and walls, red banquettes embroidered with birds and snakes, and purple velvet-clad rattan chairs, made by iconic French furniture artisan Maison Drucker, whose chaise lounges went down with the Titanic. In other words, this is not just any hotel restaurant—or hotel, for that matter.



Lauren Castellana

Q+A with artist Lauren Castellana (Audio)
with Robb Lee
Aired March 28 on The Truth in This Art Podcast

Excerpt: In this episode of Truth In This Art, host Rob Lee interviews Lauren Castellana, a Baltimore-based photographer and the Director of Photographic Services at Towson University. Lauren’s award-winning work has shaped the photographic identity of the university for over seven years, and she is graduating with an MFA this spring. Her love of lighting and cinema shapes her art, creating complex environmental portraits that verge on the surreal. Tune in to hear more about Lauren’s work and her passion for teaching lighting classes and workshops.



image: Wambui Kamau

Nation’s first ever dirt bike park coming to Baltimore City
by Wambui Kamau
Published March 24 in WYPR

Excerpt: After a year of campaigning, a Baltimore City nonprofit has won $3 million in federal funds for a permanent dirt bike park and education center inside city limits.

Democratic U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, along with Maryland’s Secretary of Juvenile Services, Vincent Schiraldi, joined Brittany Young, founder of B360, in the announcement on Friday.

“These are very, very competitive funds,” U.S. Sen. Cardin pointed out, prompting the room to explode in applause. “This will give you the capacity to really reach out and meet the children where they are, and help them with their career development.”

Since 2017, B360 has used dirt bike culture to teach youth about STEM. The group has also decreased Baltimore’s dirt bike-related arrests by 81%, employed 36 former street riders, and increased career readiness, Young said.



Old Line Plate blogger Kara Mae Harris’s upcoming book to showcase Maryland holiday recipes
by Tyneisha Lewis
Published March 27 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: When Kara Mae Harris was compiling her new book of Maryland holiday recipes, she was reminded of a treasured memory of making a St. Mary’s County stuffed ham for Easter with her family in 2019.

“That was the year before the pandemic so it really stuck with me,” said Harris, who is also the author of the Old Line Plate blog. “It also brought to mind my friend Bertha Hunt, who is at least a fifth-generation stuffed ham maker, and her family is a big part of its history so I was lucky to meet her in person in 2021 and taste the ham that she made. I hope the book encourages other people to try to make stuffed ham. It’s a challenge but a great occasion to gather with loved ones.”



Baltimore author D. Watkins on his latest memoir, “Black Boy Smile” (Audio)
by Sheilah Kast, Melissa Gerr, Maureen Harvie
Published March 27 in WYPR’s On the Record

Excerpt: D. Watkins is tired of the lies. Lies about being tough, about not feeling pain or loss or rejection.

In his latest book, ‘Black Boy Smile: A Memoir in Moments,’ Watkins shows how he learned to face those lies and push through to the truth. He hopes everyone, especially young Black men and boys, find that strength from his stories

On April 12th, D. Watkins will be in conversation with author Shanita Hubbard at Enoch Pratt Free Library. They will be discussing Hubbard’s debut book, “Ride or Die: A Feminist Manifesto for the Well-Being of Black Women.”



Fried oysters at Charleston. (John-John Williams IV/The Baltimore Banner)

James Beard Awards do not advance Ekiben, Foraged or Charleston to next round
by Christina Tkacik
Published March 29 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Baltimore will need to wait for its next James Beard Award: None of the local semifinalists for the food world honors advanced to the nomination round on Wednesday.

Steve Chu of Ekiben and Chris Amendola of Foraged had been named as contenders for best mid-Atlantic chef in January, while Cindy Wolf’s Charleston was up for outstanding hospitality.



Header Image: Monica Ikegwu with "The Pastoral Scenes" by Tawney Chatmon (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

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