Baltimore Art News: BMA Acquisitions, Bishme Cromartie, and Single Carrot Theatre’s Impact Report

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This week’s news includes: Single Carrot Theatre releases comprehensive Impact Report, the BMA adds more that 100 objects to their collection, Bishme Cromartie returns to the runway, MCAAHC’s statement on the Supreme Court decision to overturn Affirmative Action, MPT’s Hazel Dickens’ documentary featuring crankies from Katherine Fahey, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Magazine, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Linling Lu. One Hundred Melodies of Solitude, No.222. 2022. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Art Fund established with exchange funds from gifts of Dr. and Mrs. Edgar F. Berman, Equitable Bank, N.A., Geoffrey Gates, Sandra O. Moose, National Endowment for the Arts, Lawrence Rubin, Philip M. Stern, and Alan J. Zakon. BMA 2023.80 © 2022 Linling Lu. All Rights Reserved


Vian Sora. Last Sound. 2022. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Art Fund established with exchange funds from gifts of Dr. and Mrs. Edgar F. Berman, Equitable Bank, N.A., Geoffrey Gates, Sandra O. Moose, National Endowment for the Arts, Lawrence Rubin, Philip M. Stern, and Alan J. Zakon. BMA 2023.92

BMA Announces Acquisition of More Than 100 Objects and Suites Across Media, Culture, Geography, and Time
Press Release :: June 29

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced today that it has acquired more than 100 objects and suites during winter and spring 2023. The broad range of works reflect the BMA’s ongoing commitment to diversify its collection across time, media, and culture; to bring forward new and under-recognized voices from across the globe; and to uplift artists with ties to Baltimore and the surrounding region. Among the major highlights is a purchase and promised gift from the P. Bruce Marine and Donald Hardy Collection that significantly enhances the museum’s holdings of paintings and works on paper by Black artists from the 19th through the 21st centuries.

The BMA purchased from the collection Charles White’s extraordinary 1938 drawing “Peace on Earth,” which depicts the Red Summer race riots of Chicago in 1919 and is an important example of the artist’s impact on the graphic tradition as a vehicle for messages of social justice. The work joins “The Voice of Jericho” (1958), a powerful print by White of his friend Harry Belafonte already in the BMA’s collection.

The Marine-Hardy Collection also gifted 19 works to the BMA by John Henry Adams Jr., Edward Mitchell Bannister, Eldzier Cortor, Viyé Diba, David Driskell, John Farrar, Kojo Griffin, Seydou Keïta, Joe Overstreet, Charles Ethan Porter, Laura Wheeler Waring, Philemona Williamson, and others. Together, these works allow the museum to narrate the achievements of African American and African diasporic artists more fully within the art historical canon.

Among the rich selection of works by artists connected to the Baltimore region are paintings by Linling Lu and Zéh Palito; mixed-media works by Charles Mason III, Devin N. Morris, Lavar Munroe, and Elizabeth Talford Scott; works on paper and photographs by Bernhard Hildebrandt, Zoë Charlton, Louis Fratino, and Elena Volkova; and sculpture, garments, and jewelry by Joyce J. Scott. The BMA also acquired objects by Omar Ba, Darrel Ellis, and Elle Pérez, who were featured in recent exhibitions, as well as works by Larry W. Cook Jr. and Steffani Jemison from the critically acclaimed presentation A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration.

John Ahearn’s “Bashira” (1992) entered the collection as the gift of BMA Trustee Michael Sherman and his wife Carrie Tivador. The sculpture was originally presented at the museum in 1992 as part of the exhibition Friends and Neighbors: The Art of John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres. The BMA also acquired a video artwork by the artist’s twin, artist and filmmaker Charlie Ahearn, which documents the life-casting process for Bashira that took place outside his brother’s studio in the South Bronx.

Additional objects include a suite of 16 photographs by American artist Nancy Katz that depict significant figures across the worlds of art and design; a group of design objects by Hungarian-American artist Eva Ziesel; a commissioned photographic installation by Hunkpapa Lakota artist Dana Claxton; paintings by Egyptian artist Hend Samir and American artist Anthony Cudahy; a sculpture by Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez; a sound sculpture by Ukraine-born artist Luba Drozd; a silk scroll of Guanyin by Chinese female artist Wang Shuhui; and paintings by 19th-century American women artists Lilla Cabot Perry, Louisa Davis Minot, and Laura Woodward.

“We are thrilled to bring this extraordinary group of works into the BMA’s collection, allowing us to share more nuanced and complicated narratives from across culture and the history of art. As we proceed in our work to diversify our holdings, we are particularly focused on ensuring that our collection speaks to global experiences through time and that we are continuing to support our own community, which is the source of broad and dynamic artistic innovation. We look forward to sharing these works with our audiences in the coming months and years,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. […]



Bishme Cromartie returns to reality TV for Project Runway All Stars’ new season
by John-John Williams IV
Published July 5 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Last year was extremely tough for Bishme Cromartie. His older sister, Chimere Faye Didley, died from cancer.

In fact, Cromartie hasn’t been back to Baltimore since her death.

“I am honestly still trying to figure it out. I’m experiencing the most beautiful time in my career. And the only person who understands how much this means to me is not physically here with me,” the fashion designer said.



Single Carrot Theatre’s Impact Report
released June 30

To honor the legacy and examine the challenges that the “Dean of Baltimore’s Alternative Theatre Scene” faced, we are delighted to share Single Carrot Theatre’s Impact Report with you. And you can download it for free!

Inside you will find:
* A round of up statistics and data spanning our 16 years as an organization
* A critical look at the challenges the theatre industry is facing
* Testimonials and stories celebrating the ensemble and artists who worked with us over the years
* A review of our community partnership initiatives
* Pictures to take you down memory lane

“New York is not Coming to save Baltimore” by Laura Malkus
“Risky Business” by Alix Fenhagen
“Running A Small Theatre Takes a Hero (Your Theatre Leaders Are Not OK)” by Genevieve de Mahy
“Planting Seeds and Creating Space in Baltimore” by Matthew Shea
“That Night Changed My Life” by Paul Diem
“The Beacon on the Hill, Then the Burden” by Genevieve de Mahy



via Landis Expandis' Facebook

Support for Landis Expandis Continues with Ottobar Benefit This Weekend
by Grace Hebron
Published June 29 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: William Hicks recalls a memory from years ago, when he saw his friend, Landis Expandis, strolling through Mount Vernon Place with his family.

“He and his wife at the time were wearing these matching, purple and white fur-lined outfits—and the baby carriage had the exact same fur around it,” recalls Hicks, who performs as DJ Cheeky Willy and owns Mount Vernon Records. “I’ll never forget that day. Landis has always been an artist. His persona is larger than life.”

For 35 years, Expandis—who grew up Landis McCord in New Haven, Connecticut before moving to Baltimore to study painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)—has been a steady presence within the city’s art scene.



Statement of the Maryland Commission on African American History & Culture on the Supreme Court’s Decision to Overturn Affirmative Action Programs
Press Release :: June 2

The Maryland Commission on African-American History and Culture (MCAAHC) remains committed to the belief that access to education is central to equipping all citizens with the tools to realize their fullest potential. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s overturning Affirmative Action, we are reminded of the historic and on-going struggle of African Americans to gain access to higher education in the state of Maryland. As we celebrate the birth of Thurgood Marshall, we recall the significance of the 1936 Murray v. Pearson case, which ultimately led to Maryland addressing its failure to provide higher education access to her citizens of color.

We are also reminded, more than half a century later, that the 2016 HBCU Coalition lawsuit against Maryland for its inadequate funding of its four HBCUs and its pattern of duplicating their programs at white institutions is a clear indication that this fight is far from over and must continue.

MCAAHC remains committed to that struggle to make educational opportunities available to all Marylanders and all Americans.



Documentary Don’t Put Her Down makes broadcast debut on MPT July 15
Press Release :: June 28

Maryland Public Television (MPT) will premiere the new documentary “Don’t Put Her Down” on MPT-HD and the MPT livestream at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 15. The 30-minute film will also available to view on-demand beginning Sunday, July 16 on the PBS App and MPT video player.

“Don’t Put Her Down” explores the life and legacy of pioneering singer-songwriter Hazel Dickens, as well as her influence on a new generation of bluegrass musicians. A 30-second preview of the film is available at

Dickens and her music partner Alice Gerard rose to acclaim in the 1950s as the first women to front a bluegrass band. Dickens’ renown broadened as a solo artist with her musical contributions to the Academy Award-winning 1976 documentary Harlan County, USA.

Many of Dickens’ songs reflect her upbringing in a rural West Virginia coal mining town and her migration to Baltimore as a young woman. Her ethereal voice serves as a poignant counterpoint to her songs’ stories of the challenges faced by factory workers and miners, especially the horrors of black lung – a disease caused by regular inhalation of coal dust. It also stands in contrast to the male voices that dominated bluegrass music.

Taking its name from Dickens’ song “Don’t Put Her Down, You Helped Put Her There,” the film credits Dickens with a legacy of trailblazing. Don’t Put Her Down explores her fight for workers’ rights in the factories of Baltimore, the voice she gave to the overlooked struggles of coal miners, and the model of success she created for women in a male-dominated music genre.

Baltimore-based filmmaker Julia Golonka tells Dickens’ story through reflections of longtime collaborators and impressions of up-and-coming musicians, interspersed with clips of interviews with Dickens. Dickens’ songs create the soundtrack of the film, through her own recordings and performances by a new generation of bluegrass performers.

Throughout the film, scenes from Dickens’ life play out on a crankie, a hand-scrolled panorama featuring cut paper and shadow puppetry, created by award-winning Baltimore artist Katherine Fahey. “Since my film is a story about the past that looks towards the future, I was drawn to using this archaic form of storytelling and presenting it in a digital way,” says Golonka.

Julia Golonka’s film work has been featured online by music magazines Rolling Stone, Relix, and Bluegrass Today. Don’t Put Her Down received production support from the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at Johns Hopkins University and from the Maryland State Arts Council.



Photo by Nick Prevas

American Visionary Art Museum’s Flicks from the Hill Film Series Returns Thursdays in July!
Press Release :: July 3

The American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) returns with its crowd-pleasing Flicks from the Hill film series on Thursday evenings in July! Community members are invited to bring a blanket to Federal Hill Park, sit beneath the stars, and enjoy free screenings of four all-time favorite movies in AVAM’s Hughes Family Outdoor Theater.

The Museum will be open for free from 5-9 PM each evening, plus food trucks and pre-movie activities for the whole family! Movies projected onto a 32-foot screen “held” by Adam Kurtzman’s Giant Golden Hand sculpture on the side of the Jim Rouse Visionary Center. Movies begin at sundown (approximately 9 PM).

Flicks from the Hill will premiere with West Side Story (1961) on July 6, featuring a complimentary Color Walk Scavenger Hunt from 7-8 PM. The schedule for the remainder of the series and accompanying free workshops is as follows:

Flicks from the Hill is made possible with the support of the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation through PNC Charitable Trusts. Special thanks to the family of AVAM’s former board member Patrick Hughes, for providing funding to create the Hughes Family Outdoor Theatre.

For more information visit



Audience members cheer on a participant as she performs in the Renaissance Ball on June 30, 2023 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library's Central Branch in Baltimore, Maryland. (Credit: Carl Schmidt/Federal Hill Photography, LLC)

‘One for the books’: Black queer Baltimoreans share love of ballroom at Enoch Pratt Central Library
by Marcus Dieterle
Published July 3 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Performers in leopard print, ivy leaves, and tulle fabric strut across the brown and tan checkerboard floor of a second-story room at the Enoch Pratt Central Library during the first-ever Renaissance Ball.

The cadence of emcee Legendary Father Mook Ebony’s voice is punctuated by the crash of cymbals and an uptempo beat.

“Walk the runway, be the runway, walk the runway, be the runway,” he chants during a category dedicated to looks that conceal the wearer from head to toe.



Photo from The Charles website/Creative Commons

New/Next Film Festival teases lineup and launches all-access passes
by Aliza Worthington
Published June 30 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The New/Next Film Festival has made its first lineup announcements and launched all-access pass sales for its August festival in Baltimore.

The festival, presented by local public radio station 88.1 WYPR, takes place Aug. 18-20 at the historic five-screen Charles Theatre.

The inaugural festival was conceived and curated by veteran programmer Eric Allen Hatch to “fill the void left by Maryland Film Festival’s announcement that they would not have a 2023 event.”

He also created the First Thursdays Film Series at the Baltimore Museum of Art and co-founded the Red Room — the organization behind the High Zero experimental music festival.



Manager Deb Gil and owner Richard Briggs at Stoneleigh Lanes in South Towson. —Photography by Josh Taff

Duckpin Bowling Rolls On at Stoneleigh Lanes in Towson
by Suzy Kopf
Published July 5 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Just over the Baltimore City line into South Towson, there sits The Anneslie, a low brick building, where, once you pass the hastily scrawled “BYOB” policy taped to the glass door and descend the stairs, it feels like time has stopped. Is it 1940? 1980? It’s hard to say.

Stretched throughout the room, a black carpet adorned with rainbow squiggles and specks of confetti alerts visitors to the fact that they are in what sociologist Ray Oldenburg called a “third place”—not work and not home but rather a space where communities come together for pleasure and camaraderie. Which is certainly the case at Stoneleigh Lanes, now said to be the oldest continuously operating duckpin bowling alley in North America.

In this basement, the old familiar waft of popcorn and liquid cheese fills the air amidst the clamor of crashing wood. To outsiders, the game being played on these 16 lanes looks like your average American bowling. But as you get closer, it’s easy to see: Everything here is in miniature—from the half-pint pins to the grapefruit-like balls, at least half the size of what the Dude might abide in The Big Lebowski. And, of course, as folks in Baltimore know, duckpin is anything but ordinary.



Header Image: Linling Lu. One Hundred Melodies of Solitude, No.222. 2022. The Baltimore Museum of Art

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