Baltimore News: Club Hippo, Baltimore’s New Film Festival, VisArts Announces Resident Artists

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This week’s news includes: Half a century of memories from The Hippo, WTMD + WYPR team up for New/Next Film Festival, Hamiltonian Artists Announces New Studio Spaces in DC, BmoreArt’s Cara Ober interviewed by Tom Hall on WYPR’s Midday, Bethesda Painting Awards Finalists announced, the Queer Jewish Arts Festival returns to Baltimore for a third year, Creative Alliance announces leadership changes, Linda DePalma’s Redwood Arch is restored, Howie Lee Weiss at Goya Contemporary, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, East City Art, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Club Hippo circa 2015. —Photography by Mike Morgan, Baltimore Magazine


Club Hippo memorabilia in a 2018 artwork by artist Aaron McIntosh. —Courtesy of Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts/Aaron McIntosh, Invasive Queen Kudzu: Baltimore, 2018

Half a Century Ago, The Hippo Became a Haven for the Local LGBTQ Community
by Kendell Shaffer
Published May 2023 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: It was late, and the next song would have to be the last. As Farrell Maddox cued up the tech-trance “Sandstorm” by Darude, the DJ looked across a churning sea of dancers in the heart of Mt. Vernon, some rocking shirtless on top of the giant speakers, others swaying to the rhythm on the sunken dance floor.

Rainbow disco lights scanned the crowd and a big logo sign hovered behind, its bright pink hippopotamus striking a pose. It was the final night of Baltimore’s iconic Club Hippo—Sept. 26, 2015.

Charles “Chuck” Bowers, the club’s owner of 37 years, watched from the far side of the room. Just before 2 a.m., Maddox caught Bowers’ eye and spoke into the mic.  “Chuck doesn’t have a microphone, so he can’t say anything, but if you can see him, and you see the look on his face, you know where his heart is right now.”



Installation view of En Masse - Ensembles, Sets, and Variations: The Art of Howie Lee Weiss at Goya Contemporary Gallery, Baltimore.

En Masse – Ensembles, Sets, and Variations: The Art of Howie Lee Weiss
by Stephen Wozniak
Published May 2023 in White Hot Magazine

Excerpt: In his new solo exhibition, En Masse – Ensembles, Sets, and Variations: The Art of Howie Lee Weiss at Goya Contemporary Gallery, the artist explores a significant series of what curator Amy Eva Raehse calls “hybrid” human portraits that celebrate the evolutionary diversity among us. In a second series for the exhibition, Weiss develops middle-grounded, square-cropped variations of local landscapes. The rhythmically patterned units in this latter work act like composer-multiplied song notes – each, charming and seductive, but more meaningful as they interface into a vigorous, enchanting musical score.

The towering, gridded, wall-pinned installation of both series form an almost symphony-like experience for gallery goers: a consort of fresh, forward voices and a choir of long-limbed trees – positioned opposite one another – which undulate and communicate an unwritten aggregate dialogue in the space. A third series of small, singular, framed portrait works, in between, punctuate and invite comparison with the bare groupings that reveal Weiss’s painstaking, labor-intensive studio process. These facile faces and forested lands somehow help us define our individual identity, and – ultimately – return us home to our collective humanity and true nature.



Arts journalist Cara Ober is the founding editor and publisher of BMore Art, an online and print journal of art, news and commentary. (photo © Grace Roselli)

What’s the latest from Baltimore’s arts world? (Audio)
by Tom Hall, Teria Rogers, Sam Bermas-Dawes, Malarie Pinkard-Pierre
Aired May 19 on WYPR Midday

Cara Ober covers the latest in Baltimore’s vibrant art scene. She is the founder, editor and publisher of BmoreArt, a magazine that explores the arts and culture in Baltimore.

Their latest print issue, The Migration Issue, came out last week. It features several international artists who now call Baltimore home including Cindy Cheng, Yele Oladeinde, Jo Smail, Jessy DeSantis, and Hoesy Corona.



Megan Koeppel (Residency: May 17-September 15, 2023)

VisArts Announces 2023-2024 Fleur and Charles Bresler Residents
Press Release :: May 19

VisArts is pleased to announce our 2023-2024 Fleur and Charles Bresler Residents: Murat Cem Mengüç, Megan Koeppel, and Charlotte Richardson-Deppe.

Each artist has been offered a three-month residency that provides a unique opportunity to create a new body of work, evolve an existing body of work, or develop a project in a stimulating, supportive environment. During their residencies, the artists will center their work on environmental, social, racial, and economic justice. The residencies include free studio space, a $500 monthly stipend, and a culminating group exhibition.

The 2023-2024 Bresler Residents’ exhibition will be in the Kaplan Gallery from February 7-March 24, 2024. […]



Redwood Arch by Linda DePalma gets $62,000 restoration on the west side of downtown Baltimore
by Ed Gunts
Published May 18 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Leaders of Baltimore’s arts and business communities gathered last weekend to celebrate the $62,000 restoration of Redwood Arch, a 35-year-old sculpture by Baltimore artist Linda DePalma that pays tribute to workers in the garment industry, the medical profession and other fields.

The main part of the sculpture rises near the intersection of Redwood and Paca streets, where five blue-green arches span Redwood Street and serve as a portal between Charles Center and the west side of downtown. Two freestanding columns, with the same blue-green coloration, mark the intersection of Redwood and Eutaw streets, a block away.



Illustration by Alex Fine. —Courtesy of WYPR

Press Release :: May 19

88.1 WYPR is proud to announce the New/Next Film Festival, a weekend-long celebration of film culture taking place Aug. 18-20 in Baltimore.

Former Maryland Film Festival Director of Programming Eric Allen Hatch will curate the films for the festival that will take place at The Charles Theatre. New/Next will present emerging film work of international scope alongside a special emphasis on new and repertory work from the Baltimore film scene. The festival was conceived as a reaction to the announcement that the Maryland Film Festival (MdFF) would not have a 2023 edition.

“On behalf of the entire WYPR and WTMD staff and board, with thanks to the Abell Foundation, and the Baltimore Community Foundation as well as support from the State of Maryland, who together make the festival possible, it gives me great joy to be able to announce that there will be a film festival in Baltimore in the summer of 2023,” said Tom Livingston, WYPR’s interim general manager. “When my family moved to Baltimore in 2004, the Maryland Film Festival was one of our most cherished and annually anticipated events of the year. We were all saddened to hear that the Maryland Film Festival was going on hiatus for 2023, and I am really glad we can either provide New/Next as a bridge or just an opportunity to bring some great movies to the community.”

In order to deliver a film festival on such a compressed timetable, Next/Next is partnering with The Charles Theatre – formerly the home venue for MdFF for over a decade beginning with its inaugural 1999 edition. New/Next will offer Baltimore the first opportunity in many years to experience a world-class film festival with all of its screens under one roof.

“We’re thrilled to bring a vibrant crop of this year’s festival films to Baltimore, while also spotlighting Baltimore’s young and diverse film scene as the next great hub for U.S. independent cinema,” says Hatch, who in addition to 11 years with Maryland Film Festival has curated films at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Oak Cliff Film Festival, and True/False Film Festival. “Presenting a film festival within one five-screen theater creates an ideal experience for both attendees and the visiting filmmakers.”

Support for The New/Next Film Festival comes from the Maryland State Arts Council, The Abell Foundation,, the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Maryland Film Office.

New/Next co-founder and creative director Eric Allen Hatch is a film curator, critic, and distributor based in Baltimore. From 2007-2018 he worked as a film programmer for Maryland Film Festival, serving as their director of programming from 2010 until leaving the organization in 2018. Previously, he created and programmed the First Thursdays Film Series at the BMA, authored hundreds of film and music criticism pieces for Baltimore City Paper, and co-founded the Red Room, the organization behind the High Zero experimental music festival. Hatch is the theatrical distributor of the films One Man Dies a Million Times (Jessica Oreck, 2019) and Naked Gardens (Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan, 2022), and a co-owner of Beyond Video, Baltimore’s non-profit video-rental library.

See also:

WYPR’s New/Next Film Fest Will Fill the Void Left by the MdFF This Summer
by Max Weiss
Published May 19 in Baltimore Magazine

WYPR and The Charles to host New/Next Film Festival in August
by Aliza Worthington
Published May 19 in Baltimore Fishbowl



Esther Armstrong, founder of Sankofa Children's Museum of African Culture poses for a portrait inside the Museum, Friday, May 12, 2023. (Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures rededicates itself to community
by Jasmine Vaughn-Hall
Published May 19 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Anyone who visits the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures in Park Heights enters through the “door of return.” The phrase is in opposition to the millions of Africans who entered through the “doors of no return” when they were taken from the continent during the slave trade.

The museum’s greeting invites visitors to learn about African history and cultures or even discover their roots.

“We always feel like identity is very important to children thriving,” said Esther Armstrong, the co-founder and president of the museum, who is originally from Ghana. Many people also call her Mama Kiki.



Comedian Judy Gold will perform at the Queer Jewish Arts Festival. (Courtesy of the JCC of Greater Baltimore)

Queer Jewish Arts Festival Returns With Theme of Inclusion
by Heather M. Ross
Published May 17 in Baltimore Jewish Times

Excerpt: The Queer Jewish Arts Festival is returning to Baltimore for the third year this June.

This year’s festival will include a storytelling series, a performance by comedian Judy Gold and a gallery show.

June is Pride Month, a time where communities come together to celebrate the contributions LGBTQ people have made to history, society and culture. The month commemorates the Stonewall riots of June 1969, a turning point in recent LGBTQ history.



Important Leadership Update from Creative Alliance
Newsletter :: May 19

As Creative Alliance Board and staff, we are reaching out to you, our extended community, with an update on the leadership of our beloved organization.

On May 11, Gregory Smith announced his resignation as Executive Director for family reasons. We fully support him as he departs, effective immediately. We ask that you hold Gregory and his family in your thoughts. Gregory arrived in January 2022, shepherding the organization through COVID, followed by a return to full programming in the Patterson and the opening of the Creativity Center.

As Sophia Silbergeld, President of the Board of Trustees, notes: “The Creative Alliance thanks Gregory for his leadership during a challenging time for us all, and we wish him well. The board is committed to supporting our incredible staff during the transition, maintaining our focus on the strategic plan, and continuing to support the fantastic programming coming out of the organization.”

The Board will begin a search for a new Executive Director immediately, with details to be shared as our plans develop. Should you need to contact us with information or requests, please note the key contacts below with areas of responsibility:


The Creative Alliance Board & Staff



Stephanie Cobb

2023 Bethesda Painting Awards Finalists Announced
Published May 22 in East City Art

Excerpt: $10,000 to be Awarded to Best in Show

Nine painters have been selected as finalists for the Bethesda Painting Awards, a juried competition and exhibition produced by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. Nearly 300 artists from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. submitted work to the annual competition created to exclusively honor regional painters.

The top prize winners will be announced on Wednesday, June, 7th in a private reception. The Best in Show winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000.

The artists selected as finalists are:

Stephanie Cobb, Washington DC
Grace Doyle, Parkville, MD
Katherine Fleming, Arlington, VA
Jeffrey Hall, Richmond, VA
Trace Miller, Towson, MD
Lindsay Mueller, Arlington, VA
Rachel Rush, Baltimore, MD
Nicole Santiago, Williamsburg, VA
Julio Valdez, Washington, DC



Rendering of a Hamiltonian studio with artwork by María Luz Bravo. Image courtesy of Hamiltonian Artists

Coming Soon: Artist Studios
Newsletter :: May 19

After 15 years on U Street as an art gallery and nonprofit, we are excited to announce the construction of five new artist studios. With initial support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Events DC, and community buy-in from open feedback sessions, we are well into developing artist studios above our gallery space.

To date, we have secured $175,000 toward a construction budget of $200,000. Help us reach our goal. Three generous supporters have just pledged a $15,000 match, meaning the next $15,000 we raise will have double the impact.

Studios on U Street, accessible by car, metro, and bus, will exponentially contribute to the vitality and sustainability of contemporary visual art in DC. We envision a space for people to gather, share, create, converse, study, recharge, and to find inspiration in one another and our city.

We have secured our permits, and construction is expected to begin this Summer for completion by this Fall. Studios will be available to rent to area artists through an application process, and one studio will be reserved for use at no cost, to current Hamiltonian fellows.

All gifts are meaningful and make an impact. Please consider being a contributor to this exciting opportunity for DC’s art community.



Header Image: Club Hippo circa 2015. —Photography by Mike Morgan, Baltimore Magazine

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