Baltimore Art News: MICA Layoffs, Akea Brionne, Hip Hop Archives, Baltimore Clayworks Resident Artists

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This week’s news includes: More layoffs possible at MICA, Akea Brionne at CPM in review, Baltimore Clayworks announces their new resident artists, the BMA and SLAM announce the donation of a digital interactive Hip Hop archive, Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) announces leadership of Chair Dr. Edwin T. Johnson and Vice Chair Maya Davis, Ernest Shaw’s portrait of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall will hang in Baltimore’s City Hall, Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) in Washington, DC announces the appointment of Travis Chamberlain as its next Director, a new Arts Every Day mural project at Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School, the challenges of finding space as a small theater, an arepa cookbook from Alma Cocina’s Irena Stein, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Banner, Baltimore Beat, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Akea Brionne, Grounded # 1, 2023. On view at CPM Gallery. Image courtesy of CPM Gallery.


The Maryland Institute College of Art’s Fred Lazarus IV Center in Baltimore, Maryland. (Paul Newson/Paul Newson)

MICA staff, faculty brace for layoffs ahead of fall 2023 semester
by Hallie Miller
Published July 11 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Battling lower revenues, smaller first-year class sizes and increased expenses, the Maryland Institute College of Art is expected to eliminate full-time faculty and staff positions ahead of the fall 2023 academic semester.

Initially, several dozen jobs were eyed for cuts, according to two people with knowledge who requested anonymity because they could lose their jobs. But the total number of positions to be eliminated will depend on how many employees accept voluntary buyouts first, as well as how many students commit to enrolling in MICA this fall.

The cuts will affect both unionized and nonunionized employees, though it’s not clear how many will be cut from either group. MICA reports having some 900 full-time and part-time employees, according to its most recent financial statements.



Akea Brionne, Kitchen Table, 2023. On view at CPM Gallery. Image courtesy of CPM Gallery.

Keeping Time
by Teri Henderson
Published July 11 in Baltimore Beat

Excerpt: Akea Brionne is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher whose work explores the relationship between post-colonial creole identity and social geography. Brionne currently splits her time between Detroit, Michigan, and Baltimore, Maryland, but was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She uses her practice to manufacture threads between folklore and visual culture. Brionne’s work is visual storytelling that echoes her location currently and throughout time. Every place that we have traveled and moved through makes an invisible mark on our existence, and artists are skilled at translating those experiences for us in the form of artwork.

Janus is Brionne’s first solo exhibition at CPM Gallery in Bolton Hill. It is a bountiful show — ripe with references to her family’s archive, art history, and technology. In the age of ChatGPT, and rumbling discourse about whether art can be made absent a human element, Janus is an extremely timely material study about artificial techonlogy for artists. Brionne blurs the lines between maker and method with Janus, offering renditions, reincarnations, reinterpretations, and visual remixes that have been rendered with and in the artist’s image using various materials. In Janus she has integrated AI in a way that challenges the aversion to the use of artificial intelligence as an artistic medium, but also makes real the fact that without her hand, without her lived experience and migratory patterns, this resulting body of work would not be possible.



Baltimore Clayworks Announces 2023-24 Resident Artists
Press Release :: July 6

Baltimore Clayworks is thrilled to announce the incoming 2023-24 Resident Artists. Jai Sallay-Carrington, Lormina Salter Fellow; Wayman Scott, EMBARC Fellow; Victoria Walton, Short-term Resident Artist; and Tracy Wilkinson, Short-term Resident Artist, will be joining the Baltimore Clayworks Community.

Ceramic artists are at the heart of Baltimore Clayworks. Artists are at the center of the mission of Baltimore Clayworks and provide the organization with talent and innovation to inspire our community and enliven the artistic impact of ceramics in our region. Their professional and personal networks provide a kaleidoscope of interactions with peers, galleries, and academic institutions, which keep the organization at the forefront of contemporary ceramic art.

About the Artists

Jai Sallay-Carrington

Jai Sallay-Carrington is a Canadian sculptural ceramic artist originally from Vancouver BC and spent ten years living in Montreal QC. In 2014 they graduated from Concordia University with a BFA in ceramics. Jai has attended many artist residencies, traveling around Canada, USA and Europe. Residencies such as C.R.E.T.A Rome, Torpedo Factory Art Centre, and Tolne Gjæstgivergaard. They have been a part of many group exhibitions, at galleries such as the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, Henry Art Gallery, and the Clay Center of New Orleans. Jai has had several solo exhibitions in recent years, such as NuQueer Power at Fatale Art Gallery, Co(R)vid Calluses at Galerie ERGA, as well as Adapting, at Maison de la Culture Côte-des-Neiges. They have been featured in publications such as CBC Exhibitionists, New York’s ArtTour International Magazine, and Ceramique: 90 Artistes Contemporarian. Jai has been awarded grants from Canada Council of the Arts, SODEC and was a finalist for the Winifred Shantz Award for 2020 and 2021. Jai just earned their master’s degree at the University of Washington, receiving the De Cillia Graduating with Excellence award.

Wayman Scott

Wayman Scott is a free-lance artist who initially focused on human figure in the medium of pencil before transitioning to sculpture. Continuing to focus on human figure Wayman uses contemporary, historical, and religious art to pay tribute to heroes, past and present. Wayman’s art highlights the story of the marginalized using Baltimore City as a tapestry. Wayman studied fine arts at Towson University and completed a summer residency at Baltimore Clayworks in 2022. In 2022 Wayman was featured in The Arlington Catholic Herald, the Catholic Virginian, and The Wilmington Dialog. In 2021 his work was featured in the Catholic Review.

Victoria Walton

Victoria Walton is an emerging visual artist living in Baltimore. They have an MFA in Ceramic Art from the NYSCC at Alfred University and a BFA with a focus in ceramics from Towson University. Victoria explores the wonder and complexity of Black identity, creating sculpture and video works that center the narratives of women and gender-expansive people. Walton draws from their own life: reflecting on the intersection of her identities, their health disability, and background of medical and emotional trauma. She further investigates the impact that historic societal factors and personal experiences have on the individual and the Black community. Their work illustrates the conditions that reveal how our environment builds and breaks us down simultaneously, making multi-layered connections between clay and the body.

Tracy Wilkinson

Originally from Yorkshire, Tracy graduated from the Royal College of Art in London with an MA in Fashion and Textile Design. Upon graduating she accepted a job for a fashion company in New York and has since worked in the fashion industry in both New York and Los Angeles. After running her own design company for 10 years, she was ready to embark on a quieter and more independent form of creative expression and closed her company to pursue her interest in ceramics. Tracy learned most of her technique through on-line classes and local community colleges. In 2018 Tracy’s first solo show in Los Angeles featured her SOTOGRANDE series of clay and basketry sculptures, one of which was featured in a Christie’s Auction in 2018. Her work has also appeared in Elle Décor, Brutus Japan, Monocle, the Los Angeles Times and the Times of London. In 2020, Tracy embarked on a new stoneware and fused glass series, SPACEBLOOM an exploration of connection and vulnerability.



Ribbon Cutting for Baltimore City School Public Art Project
Press Release :: July 12

Arts Every Day (AED) awarded $15,000 to three Baltimore City Public Schools to implement large scale arts installations and collaborations that will have a long- term impact on their students and surrounding communities for 2023. On Tuesday, July 18, 2023 from 10:00-11:00am, Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of their project.

Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School: A Walkway Through Our History was awarded $5,000 by AED to implement an exterior ground plane mural project at Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School in collaboration with artist Jordan Lawson that will serve to bring a sense of community and fun to the school. Located on the front entrance walkway leading to the school’s main entrance, this mural will welcome students and community members into the school and broader neighborhood. Working in collaboration with the artist, students will engage in the design process to create a mural that tells and celebrates the varied and shared stories of the community.

The Arts Every Day Public Art Grant for Baltimore City Public Schools is the only grant exclusively for Baltimore City Public Schools with the intention of supporting large scale, permanently installed projects that connect individual schools to local artists or organizations and their surrounding community. These projects serve as a source of pride and foster an appreciation for the arts and its influence on communities.
Since the start of the program in 2014, this initiative has grown to a competitive funding opportunity open to all Baltimore City Public Schools. To date, AED has awarded over $97K for 21 projects. Thanks to the generous support of the M&T Bank Charitable Foundation, the Creative Baltimore Fund, and the Maryland State Arts Council, the Public Art Grant for Baltimore City Schools supported three more inspiring projects for the year 2023.

Arts Every Day serves as a strategic partner to the school district in advancing equitable access to the arts and implementing the 2018 Fine Arts Strategic Plan. The organization provides teacher professional development, arts integration technical assistance, and funding for student arts experiences, school-based public art projects, arts equipment, and supplies. The success of the work relies on the vibrant partnerships with district leaders, schools, educators, parents, students, artists, community and cultural organizations.



An exhibition on the impact of hip hop, co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum, will live on through a "digital interactive archive" in Atlanta. Photo courtesy of Baltimore Museum of Art.

Baltimore Museum of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum to Donate Hip Hop Digital Interactive Archive to Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library
Press Release :: July 6

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) today announce that “For the Record,” the digital interactive archive launched in conjunction with The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, will find a permanent home at the Atlanta University Center’s (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library following the completion of the exhibition’s international tour in 2025. The AUC Woodruff Library serves the world’s largest consortium of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center—and is committed to advancing scholarship about the history and global influence of hip hop.

“For the Record” was developed in recognition of hip hop’s deep roots in local community and its global reach to collect, share, and preserve personal stories of hip hop in a living digital interactive archive. The project launched with acclaimed Baltimore-based photographer Devin Allen interviewing local musicians, poets, and writers about their hip hop memories. Since then, more than 200 artists, musicians, fashion designers, actors, and hip hop lovers of all backgrounds and ages have contributed photographs, video, and audio reflections. These submissions document concerts, community gatherings, and memorabilia. Initiated during the exhibition’s presentation in Baltimore from April 5–July 16, 2023, more content will be added as the exhibition travels to subsequent venues. The digital interactive archive provides additional context and perspectives to the more than 90 objects featured in the exhibition that celebrate hip hop’s extraordinary impact on art, fashion, and culture.

Following its presentation in Baltimore, The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century will travel to the Saint Louis Art Museum in Missouri (August 19, 2023–January 1, 2024); the Schirn Kunstalle Frankfurt in Germany (February 22–May 26, 2024); the Cincinnati Art Museum in Ohio (June 28–September 29, 2024); and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada (fall 2024). Additional archive contributions can be made online at Once it arrives at the Woodruff Library, it will enter the digital archives, preserving the public contributions in perpetuity. […]

See also:

BMA exhibit about hip hop culture to live on through “digital interactive archive” in Atlanta
by Ed Gunts
Published July 7 in Baltimore Fishbowl



The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture Announce New Chair and Vice Chair
Press Release :: July 12

The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture (MCAAHC) is pleased to announce the newly elected leadership of Chair Dr. Edwin T. Johnson and Vice Chair Maya Davis effective July 1, 2023.

Dr. Edwin T. Johnson is a son of Maryland– a product of the Prince George’s County Public School system and Maryland’s public higher education system with degrees from Morgan State and Towson State Universities. Johnson was appointed to the MCAAHC by Governor Larry Hogan in March 2016 and has served representing Baltimore City since that time, which includes his election to Vice Chair of the Commission in July 2022.

Vice Chair Maya Davis, representing Prince George’s County, was appointed to the Commission in 2017 by Governor Larry Hogan. Davis is currently the Director of the Riversdale House Museum in Riverdale Park, MD, bringing twenty years of public history experience to the commission.

Chair Johnson plans to build upon the legacies of his immediate predecessors, Rev. Dr. Tamara E. Wilson and Professor Dale Green, who developed the African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) grant into a national model. In the 2022 legislative session, the Commission successfully petitioned the state government to increase the funding for the grant program to $5 million up from $1 million. The AAHPP was established under the leadership of  Chair Emeritus Theodore “Ted” Mack in 2010.

In light of recent challenges to the legitimacy of African American Studies as an academic discipline, Chair Johnson endeavors to establish the Commission as a state-wide resource for educators, organizations, agencies, and generally interested individuals to be effectively equipped to teach African American History.

“As race relations in America have become increasingly polarizing, we want to ensure that the Commission remains true to its mission of preserving, protecting, defending, and illuminating the history of people of color in the state of Maryland”, said Chair Johnson.

Among his administration’s priorities, Chair Johnson aims to address the omission of women from the landscape of Maryland’s African American history. “The Honorable Verda Freeman Welcome, who co-founded both the Commission and the Museum, is largely unknown and that needs to change,” said Chair Johnson.

Professionally, Johnson serves as Special Assistant to the Provost, and University Historian at Morgan State University.  He is also an adjunct professor at Stevenson University and the University of Maryland Global Campus, where he teaches African American Studies.  Johnson is the fourth Morgan Historian to chair the Commission.  He follows in the legendary footsteps of Commission Co-founder, the late Dr. Benjamin Arthur Quarles, the late Dr. Roland C. McConnell, and Prof. Dale Glenwood Green.  As a three-time Morgan graduate and one of the last doctoral students of the late Dr. Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Johnson understands the historic relationship between the Commission, Morgan State University, and the stewardship of African American History in the state of Maryland.

Chair Johnson will host the upcoming MCAAHC Public Meeting on August 7th at Morgan State University.

August 2023 Public Meeting
Monday, August 7, 2023 | 11:00 am
Morgan State University
University Student Center, Room 316
1700 E. Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251



Small Baltimore theaters struggle to find space to actually perform
by Courtney Proctor
Published July 12 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: You can find them surviving against all odds in the vacant spaces of Baltimore City. In church basements, warehouses and abandoned storefronts, they subsist on scraps and inhabit the forgotten nooks and crannies, moving from place to place in search of viable conditions.

They are not Baltimore rats. They are its small theaters, existing in a liminal, unpredictable space between the city’s long-standing community theaters and its larger arts institutions.

Last year, as theaters emerged from the pandemic and attempted a return to normal, three of Baltimore’s small theater companies lost their permanent spaces. Stillpointe Theatre was asked to vacate its on home on Maryland Avenue because the building was being sold. Baltimore Shakespeare Factory launched a GoFundMe campaign to fund their 2023 season after their lease was terminated at St. Mary’s Community Center, a building equipped with a Shakespearean stage from the days when it housed the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. Rapid Lemon Productions’ lease with Motor House was terminated last year.



Mayor Brandon Scott looks on as portrait of Baltimore-native U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall is unveiled at City Hall. Photo courtesy of the Office of Mayor Brandon Scott.

Newly unveiled Thurgood Marshall portrait to be displayed at City Hall until moving to upcoming West Baltimore community resource center
by Aliza Worthington
Published July 7 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: A portrait honoring civil rights lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall will hang in Baltimore’s City Hall before moving to a new education and community resource center in West Baltimore.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott unveiled Marshall’s portrait, created by artist Ernest Shaw Jr., at City Hall on Thursday.

“The impact that Baltimore’s native son, Thurgood Marshall, made on our city and our nation transcends race, age, and time,” Scott said. “His relentless pursuit of justice serves not only as an inspiration to me, but to every person who knows his story.”



The Dish: Miss the arepas at Alma Cocina Latina? You can soon get your fill at Candela.
by Christina Tkacik
Published July 12 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Irena Stein and I are eating dinner, but it’s the young guest seated at a table next to us that has captured the restaurateur’s attention. The little boy has eaten exactly nothing during his time at Alma Cocina Latina while his mother and extended family have feasted on the Venezuelan specialties for which Stein’s restaurant is known. Instead of a plate, he grips a smartphone.

Stein, a glam grandmother with a curly pixie cut and dark-rimmed eyeglasses, heads to the kitchen of her airy, plant-filled Station North eatery to order the boy a plate of tequeños, or fried cheese sticks, typically available only at the bar. But the boy refuses.

“You don’t want tequeños? Are you well?” Stein asks him, pressing the back of her hand on his forehead. She plans to take him to the kitchen later, to introduce him to the restaurant’s chef and check out the walk-in refrigerator. That always wins kids over when they can see how the food is made, she said: “They come back to the table very proud and very happy.”



photo credit: Frank Lord

Travis Chamberlain Named Director of Washington Project for the Arts
Press Release :: July 12

Today the Board of Directors of the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) in Washington, DC announced the appointment of Travis Chamberlain as its next Director. Chamberlain—a curator and director with more than 20 years of experience in museum, non-profit, and for-profit contemporary arts spaces in New York City—will begin his new role on September 1, 2023, becoming the 12th Director of one of the most influential and impactful contemporary arts organizations in the region and the U.S.

“We feel very fortunate to welcome Travis Chamberlain as the next Director of Washington Project for the Arts,” said Board of Directors Co-Chairs Ashley Givens, Ph.D. and Jocelyn Sigue.“His decades-long commitment to community organizing through art and his extensive experience as a curator, producer, and institutional leader working at a local, national, and international level will be a tremendous asset to WPA and the greater region.”

Chamberlain assumes the role as WPA’s principal executive leader after five years as Executive Director at Queer|Art, a community-based nonprofit with a mission to connect and empower generations of LGBTQ+ artists throughout the nation. Prior to this position, Chamberlain spent ten years as a curator of performance at the New Museum in New York City.

His arrival coincides with WPA’s 2023–2024 Season Kick-Off and BBQ on Saturday, September 9. The event will introduce the roster of 2023–2024 Artist-Organizers and the projects they will be producing through collaboration with WPA, invited artists, and local communities. […]



Header Image: Akea Brionne, Grounded # 1, 2023. On view at CPM Gallery. Image courtesy of CPM Gallery.

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