Steer cited a number of similarities between the Apollo and Creative Alliance, citing programmatic and fiscal strength, with space to build out new structures for long-term thinking, nationally and even internationally.
“At the Apollo we nurture curators, producers, performing artists, and musicians, and Creative Alliance does this as well, but with an emphasis on visual artists. It’s a model that I love and know well. For me, it’s all about education, how we connect our resident artists and performers and develop apprenticeships within. I think it’s important to think about how artists can give back to the next generation, and this actually moves us forward.”
We discussed the Artist Residency at Creative Alliance, how unique it is for artists to have a live-work space within the creative community, and Steer stated that it needed to be a safe space for artists, but also that he wants to create more opportunities for residents to be seen and heard. A goal is to make the residency program to be even more well-known within a national arts community, and he looks forward to working with the artists to chart a course forward.
I asked Jason what his colleagues and peers in New York said when he told them he was moving to Baltimore and his response surprised me. “Everyone I told I was moving, immediately said, ‘You’ve got to meet this person or that person, this friend, or this family member!!’”
He said they described Baltimore as a caring and open city, where people take pride in their neighborhoods, open and accessible without some of the hierarchy and divisions that New York has.
“I think Baltimore is a city where people are eager to come into each others spaces and connect, and this is exactly how I work,” he said. “So this role is a beautiful opportunity to use art as a platform to connect with people, communities, neighborhoods, the arts districts. I am coming in to learn and educate myself about what makes Baltimore so special, and then I plan to amplify that.”
Steer hits the ground running, officially starting at Creative Alliance on February 1, and has moved his residence to Baltimore. “I love how welcoming and charming everyone has been at Creative Alliance. I am excited about the work they’ve done so far and the work we will do in the future. I look forward to having some fun, and I think the goal is always to produce work that shares joy.”