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BmoreArt News: Baltimore Sun, Travis Winstead III, BMA Acquisitions

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Elena Volkova

This week’s news includes:  The Baltimore Sun has a new owner, student photographer Travis Winstead III, more BMA acquisitions, Baker Artist Awards on MPT, Elisa Milan and her empanadas, Baltimore Met Gala theme announced, The Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts and Eubie Blake Center programming, Museum of Industry’s new civil rights exhibition, the American Prison Writing Archive, Tawny Chatmon and Delita Martin, and evictions in the Copycat Building — with reporting from Baltimore Magazine, The AFRO, The Baltimore Banner, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image:  Omarr Smith Jr. and his father pose for a portrait. (Travis Winstead III) from The Baltimore Banner article

 

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The Baltimore Sun explores the question of whether there can be a worse newspaper owner than Alden Global Capital
by Joshua Benton
Published January 16 in Nieman Lab

Excerpt: It’s a question only the bravest have dared contemplate: Is there something worse for a newspaper than being owned by Alden Global Capital?

The vulturous hedge fund has, after all, been traditionally seen as an end-stage owner. In the old days, newspaper owners existed in an ersatz great chain of being. Family-owned papers worried about being bought by McClatchy; McClatchy papers feared being scooped up by Gannett; Gannett papers recoiled at the thought of being bought by Alden Global Capital. But Alden papers — despite all the associated indignations — could at least rest easy that there was no worse owner to worry about. There’s a certain stoic grace to recognizing rock bottom.

Well, what has until now been a philosophical thought experiment is about to hit reality in Baltimore.

See also:
New Baltimore Sun owner insults staff in meeting, says paper should mimic Fox45
by Cody Boteler, Lee O. Sanderlin and Giacomo Bologna
Published January 16 in The Baltimore Banner

 

 

Travis Winstead Jr., a photographer and student at Baltimore City College, poses for a portrait on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024.

From shooting hoops to shooting photos, City College sophomore follows his passion
by Jasmine Vaughn-Hall
Published January 14 in The Baltimore Banner

By the time Travis Winstead III entered high school, he was losing enthusiasm for basketball, which he’d played most of his life.

But the 15-year-old didn’t want to leave the sport completely behind. He was still passionate about it and wanted to make his dad, a longtime Baltimore coach, proud.

Then his uncle, Lamonte Tyler, handed him a camera.

That was nearly two years ago, and Winstead is starting to find his stride in sports photography, getting requests from students to shoot their games because he captures unique shots of them, at least one student liking his high-resolution shots in particular. They want him to catch their best sports moments for memories, and in some cases even as promotional tools.

Winstead has attracted an Instagram following of over 2,300 people, using the platform to showcase his work and book new gigs. He’s even started charging for his work.

A scroll through his portfolio shows portraits of basketball players suited up for a game, football players with their faces inches from the grassy field as they stretch or a player crouching low, nearly eye to eye, with an opponent as they dribble down the glossy wooden basketball court.

His new hobby has created a new appreciation for sports — although in a different way.

“My confidence was very low in basketball. I didn’t feel like I was this good or I was always in my head about being good and impressing somebody, but in photography I feel like my work can speak for itself,” Winstead said.

For Jahmari Powell-Wonson, a senior and wide receiver for the City College football team, Winstead has frozen some of his most special moments in time: like a one-handed catch and touchdown in 2022 against Baltimore Polytechnic — arguably the biggest high school sports rivalry in Baltimore — and a MVP trophy he received during a different game alongside his mom.

“You don’t understand until it’s over that wow I actually got great photos to look at and think about my fantastic high school career,” Powell-Wonson said.

He has nicknamed Winstead “tunnel vision” because of the way he captures action shots on the field. Being open to opinions and listening were two things that drew Powell-Wonson to work with Winstead. He’s sure it also helped him promote himself as an athlete. Powell-Wonson is headed to the University of Maryland, College Park in the fall to play football, and Winstead wants to continue photographing his career.

But Winstead’s confidence behind the lens didn’t happen overnight.

On a snowy day over a year ago, Tyler showed Winstead some photography basics: angles, camera settings and patience. He had Winstead mimic everything he did at a school playground on the east side of Baltimore with a fashion model as their muse.

Tyler gave him an older Canon camera after the shoot. Now Tyler jokes that Winstead shouldn’t tell people he started taking photographs with him because Winstead has “taken this to another level.” Specifically, he’s really impressed with how he experiments with lighting.

Some of Winstead’s favorite things about photography are capturing the moment and meeting new people. He’s met the mayor and his photographer, well-established local photographers like Devin Allen, and found mentors to help him improve his skills. Winstead said there’s also a handful of student photographers at City College who swap tips and support one another’s work.

Winstead has also moved into other types of photography, like prom photos and other milestone and important moments in people’s lives. He recently photographed a fraternity probate, an elaborate ceremony in which new members are revealed.

Austin Hill, a lead photographer with YRN Designs Photography, uses Winstead as an apprentice for events such as weddings. Hill said Winstead already understands the importance of customer service and the business side of photography at such a young age. He also has a leg up on videography, having created highlight reels for athletes.

“Travis is gonna far exceed anything I could ever imagine or do as a content person even myself,” Hill said.

Winstead only recently started charging for photos after seeing how much equipment cost. For basketball games, he may charge per person, but for events by the hour. His parents bought him a Sony camera, and he’s been buying lenses and other equipment himself. In the summer, he photographed for a summer camp and its nature outings. There he received a recommendation to photograph for the Baltimore Social-Environmental Collaborative, a project led by Johns Hopkins researchers, residents and government agencies to build a measurement and modeling system to support and enhance environmental research in the Baltimore region.

Though he’d like to work for himself one day, Winstead wants to photograph the NBA Finals and work for that organization or the NFL. He’s a Golden State Warriors fan but wouldn’t mind tagging along with any team as a photographer.

If Winstead wants to look to a model for successfully going from Baltimore to the big leagues, there is another photographer who has made it.

Reggie Thomas II, a 2011 Baltimore Polytechnic Institute grad, became a staff photographer for the Boston Red Sox and is now a team photographer for the San Antonio Spurs. He discovered his interest in photography while in college at Norfolk State University studying sociology.

The successes didn’t come overnight. Thomas said he did a lot of research and photographed all sports while in college and anything he could back home in Baltimore. He freelanced and worked for Baltimore City Paper. Thomas thinks the photography space could be more diverse and feels a responsibility to do his best work because there aren’t a lot of Black people in the field.

Winstead’s online portfolio can attest that he’s dabbling in whatever he can: lifestyle shoots, college homecomings, TEDx events and candid shots he sees when just out and about.

“I like shooting pictures that you can look back and say, ‘Dang, that happened,’ ” Winstead said.

Omarr Smith Jr., a point guard and shooting guard on the basketball team at City College, can’t choose one favorite photo Winstead has taken of him. Smith’s been photographed by Winstead since he was a freshman at Archbishop Curley High School. He transferred to City College this year and said Winstead’s the only photographer he works with. One of his favorites is a black-and-white photograph of himself wearing headphones while on the sidelines before a game. He appreciates the time and dedication Winstead puts into editing, and “no matter the price” he’ll continue to support his business. He’d love to have Winstead follow his basketball career after high school and looks forward to tapping on him for prom pictures this year.

Winstead’s expecting a busy prom season. Last year, he attended over 15 photo ops or send-offs at different proms in Baltimore. He doesn’t drive yet, so he relies on his parents to get him to and from shoots and assist when they can.

It can often be a heavy lift, but as his father has told him before, “If it’s something you love, I’m gonna support it — just give it your all.”’

This story was republished with permission from The Baltimore Banner. Visit www.thebaltimorebanner.com for more.

 

 

Meryl McMaster (nêhiyaw from Red Pheasant Cree Nation). niwaniskān isi kiya | I Awake To You. 2023. 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 2023.230. © The Artist

BMA Announces More than 100 New Acquisitions
Press Release :: January 11

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced today the acquisition of more than 100 works of art. The objects entering the collection represent a broad range of historical and contemporary material and reflect the BMA’s ongoing efforts to diversify its holdings with works by women artists, artists of color, artists with ties to the Baltimore region, and those representing global cultures across time. Among these works are paintings by Marie Bracquemond, Brenda Goodman, Alexander Harrison, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Hung Liu, Kylie Manning, Megan Rooney, James Alexander Simpson, Helen Torr, Susan Catherine Waters, and James Williams II; sculptural works by Rhea Dillon, Doyle Lane, Jiha Moon, Shahzia Sikander, and Chiffon Thomas; video by Justen Leroy and Sin Wai Kin; and works on paper by Merikokeb Berhanu, Darrel Ellis, Dindga McCannon, Peter Milton, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, and numerous others across media.

In a significant milestone, the acquisitions also include the first work of performance art to enter the BMA’s collection: interdisciplinary artist Jefferson Pinder’s Ben-Hur (2012). Pinder (b. Washington, D.C., 1970) embraces the formal qualities of performance, moving image, sound, and sculpture to investigate constructions of race and history. Ben-Hur is a summative, stand-out work in Pinder’s oeuvre that engages six Black men in actions that recall representations of labor in art. A detailed guide to the performance as well as video documentation supports ongoing stewardship of the work and will enable the BMA to stage it in the future. The acquisition also includes the first edition of Pinder’s related, standalone video piece Ben-Hur (2013).

“The acquisitions announced today reflect the BMA’s vision to continue to stridently expand our collection through both the artists represented and the global narratives that can be shared with these objects. The works entering our collection activate broader understandings of our moment, our communities, and our histories while creating space for new and underappreciated voices and experiences,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “Our mission at the BMA is to tell stories that are both rooted in our local context and offer a lens into global cultures and expressions that reveal our shared humanity. This selection of works beautifully represents this effort and I am grateful to our curatorial team for their insight as we continue forward.” […]

See also:

BMA announces more than 100 acquisitions, including first performance art work, pieces by Native artists
by Marcus Dieterle
Published January 12 in Baltimore Fishbowl

 

 

MPT to showcase six Baltimore-area artists during 2023 Baker Artist Awards on Jan. 19
by Aliza Worthington
Published January 17 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Maryland Public Television (MPT) will highlight the 2023 Baker Artist Awards winners during its Jan. 19 MPT Artworks special.

The six winners of the 15th Baker Artist Awards Competition will be profiled in a celebration of the Baltimore region’s creativity. Each year, the competition recognizes talent from Baltimore City as well as Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Harford counties. Winners were announced by the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund in June 2023.

The awards include prize money and are distributed to artists in one of six creative disciplines: visual arts, inter- and multi-disciplinary work, music, performance, film/video, and literary arts. Winners “exemplify a mastery of craft, commitment to excellence, and a unique and compelling vision,” reads the press release announcing the MPT special.

 

 

—Photography by Scott Suchman

The Empanada Lady Celebrates Her Roots Through Her Recipes
by Jane Marion
Published January 11 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Elisa Milan can never resist a challenge. So, in 2017, when a friend made her a bet that she couldn’t make money selling food—she was working in health care as a nurse licenser at the time but was a serious amateur cook—she took the bait.

“He knew that the best way to make me do something was to tell me that I couldn’t do it,” she says with a laugh. “So I did an empanada pop-up in his art gallery one night. I broke even, but I sold out. I realized I just needed to change the prices, and I’d be in the game.”

Milan sold her empanadas as a sideline, but by 2019, when her health care contract ended, despite a bad case of butterflies, the single mom decided to open her own business. Initially, Milan made the empanadas in her house and delivered them to clients with her young son in tow. In 2021, she moved to work in a commercial kitchen at Motor House in Charles Village, and more recently moved to 10 South Street in the Inner Harbor, where she expanded her operation into a full-scale restaurant, selling more than 1,000 empanadas a week.

 

 

Fashion looks from the 2023 Baltimore Met Gala. Credit: @seanburgandy.pix via Baltimore Met Gala's Instagram page.

‘Power to birth our own stars’: Baltimore Met Gala reveals 2024 theme and venue
by Aliza Worthington
Published January 12 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore will step into Eden this summer with the theme for the third annual Baltimore Met Gala being “Adam and Eve: Enter the Garden,” organizers announced Thursday evening at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum.

The gala, which will take place this year on Sept. 14 at Maryland Live!, curates the best in the fashion, art, and culinary talents while recognizing the impact of leaders in business, entertainment, and community.

Executive producers LaRian Finney and Derrick Chase spoke with Baltimore Fishbowl about the Baltimore Met Gala’s inception, evolution, and the purpose they hope it serves for their hometown and its residents.

 

 

The Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts is set for a year of cultural exploration and artistic expression, after holding their 2024 kick-off event at Baltimore’s Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center. Credit: Unsplash/ Konstantin Aal

BHCLA launches year of programming with evening of culture at Baltimore’s Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center
by Ericka Alston Buck
Published January 16 in The AFRO

Excerpt: The Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts (BHCLA) at Johns Hopkins University set the stage for an extraordinary year of programming with a vibrant celebration of Black culture at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center on Jan. 12.

The event, hosted at the heart of Baltimore’s cultural scene, brought together artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds to champion cultural and educational programming in the visual and performing arts.

BHCLA, an initiative dedicated to building bridges between Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore’s historic African American communities, kicked off its year with an evening that celebrated the strengths and potential of both entities. The Eubie Blake National Jazz Center served as the perfect backdrop for an event that aimed to foster organic links and create a space for cultural enrichment.

 

 

Transit unions at Solidarity Day: 1981. Photo by Washington Area Spark on Flickr. Creative Commons license.

Museum of Industry launches guided tour intertwining labor and civil rights history
by Aliza Worthington
Publshed January 11 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: The Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) has a new group tour exploring the intersection of the labor and civil rights movements that delves into stories of resilience, unity, and change permeating both.

“Forging Progress: Civil Rights, Labor Rights, and Black History in Baltimore” is a guided group tour highlighting individuals and events that shaped the city’s industrial and civil landscape. The museum aims to give visitors a deeper appreciation of the intertwining legacies of both labor and civil rights, and how the two movements have left their mark on Baltimore.

In 2019, the BMI launched the Reframing the Narrative initiative, which “expanded the scope of storytelling in the BMI’s exhibitions to more broadly reflect the backgrounds and experiences of the communities served by the museum.” This tour is part of that initiative, complementing the new exhibits and including galleries that aren’t often part of general BMI tours.

 

 

Vesla Mae Weaver at her desk at Johns Hopkins University. —Photography by Mike Morgan

The American Prison Writing Archive Moves to Baltimore
by Amy Scattergood
Published January 10 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Deep in the labyrinth of Johns Hopkins’ sprawling Homewood campus, Vesla Mae Weaver sits at a desk that is as stacked with mail as a village postmaster’s—piles of essays, all handwritten, from across the country. Because Weaver, 44, is not only Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Johns Hopkins but also, as of 2022, the co-director of the American Prison Writing Archive, the country’s largest digital collection of writings by incarcerated people, all accessible to the public.

There are now almost 5,000 first-person accounts—essays, diaries, poetry—each addressing the experience of incarceration from over 400 facilities across 48 states, with more coming in, essay by longhand essay, hundreds of pieces of mail every month.

The APWA was founded in 2012 at Hamilton College, a small private college in upstate New York, by Doran Larson. Larson, 66, a Hamilton literature and creative writing professor, was teaching a writing class at Attica Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison infamous for its deadly 1971 revolt. Larson, who still teaches at Hamilton and is the APWA’s co-director with Weaver, had put out a call for submissions for a book—Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America, published in 2014—and was astonished at the amount of writing he received from incarcerated people across the country. The writings also gave him a rare window into America’s massive, dysfunctional, impossibly overloaded prison system. While Larson continued teaching and writing, the submissions also continued and the archive grew, as incarcerated writers sent essay after essay, like messages in paper bottles.

 

 

Tawny Chatmon and Delita Martin featured in MoAD artist talk for “Spectrum: On Color and Contemporary Art”
Newsletter :: January 12

Galerie Myrtis is pleased to announce that Tawny Chatmon and Delita Martin will be featured in an artist talk for the exhibition “Spectrum: On Color & Contemporary Art” being hosted by The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). Moderated by Key Jo Lee, MoAD’s Chief of Curatorial Affairs and Public Programs, the discussion will explore how each artist uses color to convey themes, emotions, landscapes, and precedents.

The artist talk will occur on Thursday, February 8th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at MoAD, 685 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105. “Spectrum: On Color & Contemporary Art” is on view through March 3rd. Click the link below to register for the artist talk.

Click here to register for the talk

“How do artists use color to guide our perception? In this exhibition, curated by Key Jo Lee, MoAD’s inaugural Chief of Curatorial Affairs and Public Programs, a multigenerational and international group of contemporary Black artists will illuminate the importance of color to both the form and content of their work. Through a series of thematic couplings and groupings, each visitor will explore how each artist employs color to convey mood, identity, architecture, event, etc.

The exhibition, which features seventeen artists, will be accompanied by digital and analog educational tools and programs meant to equip our audiences with new and/or refined questions and language with which to engage contemporary Black art through color.”- The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)

 

 

Indigo Null, a tenant at the Copycat who challenged their 2020 eviction and has been living in the building rent-free ever since, is finally being forced out of their home. Null hugs partner Truman Holman. (Kirk McKoy/The Baltimore Banner)

Copycat tenant is forced to move out after yearslong court battle
by Hallie Miller
Published January 12 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: After a yearslong legal battle, a Baltimore artist and community organizer who fought their 2020 eviction left their Station North apartment for good on Friday, ending a historic landlord-tenant disagreement in Maryland that ultimately spurred changes to state law.

Indigo Null, a photographer and creative who faced economic hardship during the coronavirus pandemic, had lived in the storied Copycat building in the city’s arts district since 2015. The building’s owners filed for eviction against Null and several other tenants during the pandemic-inspired 2020 eviction “moratorium” designed to keep renters in their homes. Null challenged the move in court because the owners lacked a rental license.

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: Copycat tenant is forced to move out after yearslong court battle

 

 

header image: Omarr Smith Jr. and his father pose for a portrait. (Travis Winstead III) from The Baltimore Banner

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