Baltimore Art News: Joyce J. Scott, Grit Fund Awardees, Artscape

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This week’s news includes: An upcoming Joyce J. Scott retrospective at the BMA, the 2023 Grit Fund Awardees, the Scape must go on, take a look / it’s in a (Baltimore) book (store), Baltimore’s Billie Holiday at Center Stage Baltimore, Dionne Joyner-Weems named a CLLCTIVLY 2023 Changemaker, Bloomberg Philanthropies to fund Baltimore’s new “Inviting Light” project with Derrick Adams, Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined at the Lewis Museum, an interview with musician and composer John Tyler, and the National Gallery apologizes for enforcing their packback policy, and more reporting from Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Magazine, Hyperallergic, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image:  Black Madonna (Madonna and Child). 1986. Racine Art Museum, the Karen Johnson Boyd Collection © Joyce J. Scott, c/o Goya Contemporary Gallery


Joyce J. Scott. Photo by Joseph Hyde. Courtesy of Goya Contemporary Gallery.

Baltimore Museum of Art and Seattle Art Museum to Present 50-Year Retrospective of Boundary-Breaking Artist Joyce J. Scott
Press Release :: August 8

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Seattle Art Museum (SAM) have co-organized the 50-year career retrospective of artist Joyce J. Scott, one of the most significant artists of our time. Best known for her virtuosic use of beads and glass, Scott has upended hierarchies of art and craft across a spectrum of media over the course of five decades—from her woven tapestries and soft sculpture of the 1970s and audacious performances and wearable art in the 1980s to sculptures of astonishing formal ingenuity and social force from the late 1970s to the present moment.

The artist’s works across all media beguile viewers with beauty and humor while confronting racism, sexism, ecological devastation, and complex family dynamics. Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams was developed in close dialogue with the Baltimore-based artist and her collaborators to reveal the full breadth of Scott’s singular vision through more than 120 objects from public and private collections across the United States.

The exhibition will encompass significant examples of the artist’s sculpture—both stand-alone and wearable pieces—alongside performance footage, garments, prints, and materials from Scott’s personal archive. The exhibition will also feature a newly commissioned installation currently in development and an expansive scholarly catalog.

Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams will be presented in Baltimore as a special ticketed exhibition from March 24, through July 14, 2024, and in Seattle from October 17, 2024, through January 20, 2025. It is co-curated by Cecilia Wichmann, BMA Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, and Catharina Manchanda, SAM Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, with support from Leslie Rose, Joyce J. Scott Curatorial Research Assistant.

“Joyce J. Scott is a living legend and a pillar of Baltimore’s artistic community, whose multi-disciplinary practice has a profound effect on everyone who encounters it,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “The BMA has had the honor of engaging audiences with Scott’s work for many years through exhibitions, public programs, and acquisitions. We are absolutely thrilled to partner with the Seattle Art Museum to present this comprehensive exhibition that highlights the remarkable range of her career and celebrates the passion, vision, and innovative spirit that pervades her work.” […]

See also:

BMA to exhibit life’s work of category-defying local artist Joyce J. Scott
by Hugo Kugiya
Published August 9 in The Baltimore Banner



Photo from STUDIOHOUSE Baltimore Instagram account.

The Peale, Andy Warhol Foundation award nine Baltimore artists and groups $60K for projects
by Aliza Worthington
Published August 8 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The Peale, Baltimore’s Community Museum, announced nine Baltimore winners of the 2023 Grit Fund Awards.

The awards will be given to nine individual art projects to fund community-based works and research efforts. The amount of the awards ranges between $5,000 and $10,000. In total, $60,000 in 2023 Grit Fund Awards will been given to creative visionaries and culture keepers with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

The Peale is a nonprofit corporation established to retore the historic Peale Museum building and create a center to celebrate the unique history of Baltimore, its people, and places. It aims to maintain an inclusive cultural record of the city and help people see Baltimore in a new light.



BOPA Announces Updates to Artscape 2023
Press Release :: August 7

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is thrilled to make the following announcements for the return of Artscape, one of the nation’s largest free arts festivals, from Friday, September 22 to Sunday, September 24, 2023. This highly anticipated event is making a triumphant comeback after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Artscape 2023 promises to be an extraordinary celebration of art, culture, and community — featuring an incredible lineup of artists, vendors, and organizations — with exciting new additions and beloved classics.

“Artscape is one of Baltimore’s most iconic events, and its return this year is a marker of how our city is bouncing back after the pandemic,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “Baltimore is a town full to the brim with incredible artists and a rich history supporting our arts community. There is simply no better way to showcase their talent and their importance to our city than through Artscape. I cannot wait to welcome the incredible lineup of artists, performers, and vendors and the thousands of Baltimoreans and visitors who will get to enjoy this experience.”

This year, Artscape received an overwhelming response with over 1,000 applications from artists, vendors, and organizations eager to be a part of this spectacular event. The festival will once again take place in the traditional footprint in the Bolton Hill and Mount Royal neighborhoods. However, in an exciting development, Artscape is expanding across North Avenue into the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. Festival-goers will be able to explore the areas along North Avenue between Charles Street and Maryland Avenue, as well as Charles Street up to W. 20th Street.

“We are absolutely thrilled to bring Artscape back to Baltimore,” said Todd Yuhanick, interim CEO for BOPA. “The level of effort and dedication from our team and partners behind the scenes has been extraordinary, and we continue to work tirelessly to curate an exceptional lineup of artists and programming for this comeback year. We look forward to showcasing how the power of the arts can bring people together September 22–24.”

“Public art has an incredible ability to bring people together and promote social change. There’s something about seeing beautiful works of art that sparks conversation and helps people connect,” said Tonya R. Miller Hall, senior advisor of Arts & Culture for the Mayor’s Office. “That’s why I’m excited about this year’s Artscape in Baltimore. It has the potential to make a lasting impact on the community, encouraging civic engagement and helping bring people together in a really powerful way.”



Julia Fleischaker is the founder of Greedy Reads at 1744 Aliceanna St. (Dylan Thiessen/The Baltimore Banner)

An intern’s favorite bookstores of the summer
by Dylan Thiessen
Published August 9 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: As I carried my bags up endless flights of stairs, I passed stacked bookshelves on every landing of the house I was moving into. I had never been to Baltimore before, and I was soon starting my first job in a newsroom. I didn’t know anybody, but once I dropped my bags and began searching the bookshelf I found plenty of familiar titles to stack beside my chair.

Opening one of the wrinkled books, I realized how easy it can be to find things that feel like home wherever you are. As someone who used to get in trouble for reading through classes, I set off in search of bookstores that would make Baltimore feel like home.

In no particular order, because they were all too good to be last, here are my favorites.



This photo is from FLASH, 2019, a one-night light walk Photo credit: Karl Connolly Photography

Baltimore’s “Inviting Light” Public Art Project Named Finalist for $1 Million Bloomberg Public Art Challenge Grant
Press Release :: August 3

Baltimore has been selected as a finalist among 17 U.S. cities contending for the prestigious 2023 Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, which invites U.S. mayors, artists, community leaders, and residents to collaborate on temporary public art projects that shine a light on critical issues and encourage action to address them.

Renowned artist Derrick Adams will serve as the artistic lead for Baltimore’s “Inviting Light” initiative, which combines mesmerizing light installations with culturally enriching programming along the Charles Street and North Avenue intersection, a vital crossroads and the heart of the commercial and cultural hub of Station North.

Supported by a collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, Central Baltimore Partnership, and the Neighborhood Design Center, the project will unite a team of esteemed artists, including social practice curator José Ruiz and lighting design studio Flux Studio. Together, they will create a series of artistic lighting interventions activated through visual art, music, performance, film, and food.

“By making it to the finals for the $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art grant, Baltimore has an amazing opportunity to showcase our city’s incredible local talent and add even more beauty to our already wonderful community,” stated Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott.”It’s an honor to be one of the 17 cities from across the country that have been shortlisted for this prestigious grant. We want to take a moment to express our gratitude to our stakeholder partners, the Central Baltimore Partnership and Neighborhood Design Center, for their continued support throughout this process.”

The foundation of the “Inviting Light” project is rooted in years of research and community engagement within the Station North Arts District, spearheaded by the Central Baltimore Partnership, the Neighborhood Design Center, and a coalition of local stakeholders. Through extensive collaboration on previous planning efforts, including the Station North Public Space Plan and National Endowment for the Arts-funded Signal Station North, the team has gained invaluable insights into the transformative potential of lighting in the nighttime environment. By embracing community-identified values, such as promoting pedestrian activity, accentuating the district’s artistic character, and fostering safety and inclusivity, Inviting Light addresses the primary infrastructure challenges hindering commercial activity in the area.

“The Inviting Light project is an opportunity to engage pathbreaking public artists to explore how light can support broad access to our city’s public spaces,” said Merrell Hambleton, Program Manager of Arts Planning and Cultural Programming at the Neighborhood Design Center. “Informed by two years of intensive community conversations and an understanding of community-held values in Station North, we hope this effort can open the nighttime environment in Station North and draw attention to light equity in every Baltimore neighborhood.”

The Bloomberg Public Art Challenge aims to fund temporary public art projects addressing pressing civic issues, with up to 10 winners receiving grants of up to $1 million each. This year’s challenge drew applications from 150 cities across 40 U.S. states. If chosen, Baltimore would execute the Inviting Light project over the next two years, further solidifying its position as a leading city in embracing public art for positive transformation.

Central Baltimore Partnership which currently manages the Arts District and has collaborated with artists on innovative programming, would lead site selection, fabrication, contracting, maintenance, and the planning/implementation of artist-led events. The Neighborhood Design Center would spearhead community engagement throughout the project, facilitating artist selection, curation, and project development in support of the Artistic Team.

“We firmly believe that enhancing lighting and revitalizing the nighttime environment in Station North is not only critical for creating safer access but also serves as a powerful catalyst for future investment,” emphasized Jack Danna, Director of Commercial Revitalization for the Central Baltimore Partnership. “Through Inviting Light, we aim to facilitate positive transformation by activating underutilized spaces with light-based interventions and cultural programming. This will engage the community through free cultural activities, fostering new interactions, and boosting positive perceptions of the district.”



Tanea Renee

Baltimore Center Stage Introduces Baltimore Native and Broadway Touring Star Tania Renee as Billie Holiday
Press Release :: August 8

Baltimore Center Stage (BCS) is pleased to announce that Baltimore native and nationally-celebrated performer Tanea Renee will return to the stage this September as Billie Holiday in a new production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille. Directed by Pulitizer nominee Nikkole Salter, the show opens BCS’ 2023/24 season starting September 14. The exclusive limited engagement runs through October 8; opening night for reviewing press is Friday, September 22 at 8PM.  The show is sponsored by Miles & Stockbridge.

“As a proud Baltimore native, Tanea Renee has had a love of performance from a young age, which led her to a rich variety of roles across Broadway and regional stages,” notes Interim Artistic director Ken-Matt Martin. “It is such a thrill to welcome Tanea back to her hometown as the title character in Nikkole Salter’s incredible new production of Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grille. I am certain that Baltimore audiences will cherish this local legend at Center Stage.”

In March 1959, four months before her passing, Billie Holiday gave an unforgettable performance at Emerson’s Bar & Grill in South Philadelphia. However, her songs are just one part of the show. In between renditions of some of her greatest hits, like “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child,” Billie shares the triumphs and heartbreaks of a life and career like no other in this immersive cabaret experience that marks the directorial debut of Pulitzer nominated artist, Nikkole Salter.

Tanea Renee’s love of music began as a soloist in the children’s choir of her baptist church.  On the heels of her high school graduation, she would go on to spend her freshman summer touring and singing as a gospel soloist in Rome, Italy.  As a graduate of Towson University’s Acting Conservatory, Tanea was fortunate to perform the role of ‘Cordelia’ in Shakespear’s King Lear alongside fellow alumni/director Charles S. Dutton. She was excited to launch her professional career soon after her move to New York City in local stage plays and regional musicals such as Little Shop of Horrors (Ronnette), Smokey Joe’s Cafe’ (Brenda), and The Beat Goes On, a 70’s musical review. Tanea would go on to expand into television by way of a day player on The Chappelle Show (Rick James, Charlie Murphy) and a contestant on The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search Season 3 (CMT).

Before moving on to perform in the National Tour of Smokey Joe’s Cafe (swing BJ/Pattie), Tanea spent an exhilarating year performing with a pioneering female theater company 1+1=ONE, which afforded her the rare opportunity to hone her skills through original plays and one woman shows around the city and surrounding boroughs. Tanea has spent some of her downtime away from the acting stage singing in New York City bands like Starlight Orchestra and relishing her other passion, private coaching kids in children’s theater. In addition, Tanea has also had the honor of sharing her performance knowledge with other budding artists as a musical theater judge for NAACP ACT-SO achievement program.

Currently, Tanea Renee is whole-heartedly enjoying her time as the musical director of the Sunbeams Children’s Choir in Baltimore, Maryland.  She is also looking  forward to curating/producing her first Christmas concert, a children’s book, and recreating the annual Everyday Christmas Project.

Single tickets are currently on sale by visiting or calling 410.332.0033. Patrons can also visit the box office, located at 700 North Calvert Street.

Masks are optional except during performances on Wednesday and on Saturday matinees. For the most up to date COVID Safety Guidelines, visit our website.



Press Release :: August 2

This Friday, West Baltimore native, Morgan State University alum and Audacity Group Chief Energy Officer Dionne Joyner-Weems will be named a CLLCTIVLY 2023 Changemaker. This incredible honor recognizes the tireless efforts of Black visionaries, artists and trailblazers who have made a lasting impact on Baltimore. The owner of a Global Marketing consulting firm, Audacity Group, Dionne works with social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses to help them own their brand narrative and share their story with the world. From social impact initiatives like the Baltimore Peace Movement to digital service companies like Fearless and the Baltimore Family Alliance, Dionne uses a community-centered approach to create sustainable solutions.

“Audacity Group has the ability to get under the hood and uncover the ‘big deal, so what’ moment that makes the idea stick,” said Delali Dzirasa, Founder & CEO, Fearless Solutions. “Having Dionne at the table is a huge strength for our state marketing efforts.”

Dionne was also recently appointed by Governor Moore to serve on the Maryland Marketing Partnership board.

In her role on the Maryland Marketing Partnership board, Dionne will support in driving the brand strategy for Maryland and bring equitable workforce development opportunities to Baltimore and beyond. Dionne’s unwavering commitment to social justice and all she has done to empower Baltimoreans to reclaim their narrative, has transformed the lives of countless individuals. Her key projects and accomplishments include the #MyBmore Project which served as a beacon of strength after the 2015 Baltimore Uprising, forming Baltimore’s first LGBT Marketing Campaign and Tourism Advisory Committee and creating Baltimore’s first Family Expo at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum which was named “Best Event” by the Maryland Travel Council.

“Findings from Audacity Group’s listening sessions with the Baltimore Family Alliance show that the Baltimore community trusts its grassroots non-profit leaders and artists the most,” says Dionne Joyner-Weems. “Artivism is at the heart of Baltimore’s present-day renaissance and is at the core of what me and my team do. An investment in Baltimore artists and creatives, is an investment in our local culture, where ideas and impact should always be the currency that matters most.”

This fall, Dionne will release a memoir which tells a raw and humbling story of a Black female executive in corporate America. Despite many obstacles, Dionne’s story is one of hope, inspiration and encourages others to share their story and advocate for themselves.

“Dionne has had an incredible impact on Baltimore City from a social, cultural and economic standpoint, and her story is truly inspiring, “says Art With a Heart Executive Director, Randi Pupkin. “She puts her heart and soul into the work, and I couldn’t think of a more deserving visionary to receive this award.”

See also:

CLLCTIVLY honors five Baltimore residents as ‘changemakers’
by Megan Sayles
Published August 4 in The AFRO



The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American Culture and History’s exhibit, “Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined,” is on display until Sept. 5. The exhibit features the work of artists such as Arvie Smith (left), M. Scott Johnson and Monica Ikegwu.(Photos courtesy of The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American Culture and History)

Reginald F. Lewis Museum exhibit highlights Afro-futurism movement
by Aria Brent
Published August 1 in The AFRO

Excerpt: The Reginald F. Lewis Museum currently has their “Afro-Futurist Manifesto: Blackness Reimagined” exhibit on display. The multi-medium art display is highlighting the idea of Afro-futurism and the many pioneers who have helped shape the ever growing subculture.

Afro-futurism is dynamic and isn’t easily defined; however, its inability to be limited is what inspired the exhibit at the Lewis museum.

“We thought it was a really cool topic to begin to have people think with the perspective of not ‘what is happening to us’ but ‘what we can create for us’,”stated Terri Lee-Freeman, president of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. She added, “Afro-futurism is whatever you decide it is.”

The exhibit was curated by Myrtis Bedolla and was on display in Venice, Italy, before making its way to Baltimore in March of this year.



Photography by Christopher Myers

GameChanger: John Tyler
by Grace Hebron
Published August 8 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: At only 23 years old, John Tyler already seems to be everywhere. Six years ago, at age 17, the Brooklyn-born, Hoes Heights-raised musician launched the Love Groove Festival, a now-beloved annual local music and art showcase, slated to take place again in September. Since then, Tyler has cranked out a variety of songs, albums, videos, and YouTube series; performed at the likes of Artscape and Firefly; and produced music for other artists, all the while seeking to build a platform for Baltimore’s budding creatives.

This year, he’s busy as ever—curating music for the Orioles, creating his own ice cream flavor at The Charmery, and releasing new EPs—but found time to chat with us about the local scene.

Tooth’s backpack (photo courtesy Celeste Tooth)

National Gallery of Art Apologizes for Removing Visitor With Disability
by Elaine Velie
Published July 25 in Hyperallergic

Excerpt: The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, has apologized to a visitor with a disability who was removed from the museum on Saturday, July 22, for wearing a backpack in violation of its bag policy. Artist Celeste Tooth, who uses they/them pronouns, took to Twitter to point out that the backpack contained medical supplies and to decry what they viewed as the museum’s decision to “stop accommodating [their] disability.”

Along with other staff members, Tooth, a student and teaching assistant at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), was leading a field trip of 16- and 17-year-old students earning credit at their Baltimore institution when an NGA worker stopped Tooth for wearing a bag on two shoulders. According to the museum’s rules, backpacks must either be checked or worn on only one shoulder. Tooth says a security guard asked them personal questions about their disability in front of their students and was unreceptive to Tooth’s plea to find a compromise.

NGA spokesperson Anabeth Guthrie told Hyperallergic that a security worker “offered assistance and multiple options for storing or carrying the bag in line with our policy to be inclusive and welcoming” but Tooth did not accept the proposed accommodations. Tooth alleged they were asked to store their bag at the front of the institution and that the museum worker told them they were “taking too much time” and needed to leave; then, security escorted Tooth out of the museum.




Header Image: Black Madonna (Madonna and Child). 1986. Racine Art Museum, the Karen Johnson Boyd Collection © Joyce J. Scott

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