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BmoreArt News: Joyce Scott at the BMA, GBCA Honors Kevin Brown, and Aubrey Plaza *NOT* Starring in New John Waters Film

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This week’s news includes:  Performance art at the BMA, GBCA honors Kevin Brown, Women’s History Month events at the Portrait Gallery, the Rubys return, Joyce J. Scott is a “must see” exhibition, Jinji Chocolate, Jim Pollock passes away, Baltimore’s mini Hip-Hop museum, the Book Festival to return, BOPA sticking around, Newly Commissioned Sculpture Unveiled at Coppin State University College of Business, VisArts announces new fellow Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi, John Waters’ “Liarmouth” to film in Baltimore but rumors it’s featuring Aubrey Plaza are denied by Waters, and Placemaking Week– with reporting from ARTnews, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Banner, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image:  “Patternmaster,” 2023, (Portrait of Octavia Butler) by Bisa Butler, cotton, silk, velvet, vinyl, lace tulle, glass beads and rhinestones, quilted and appliquéd, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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Jefferson Pinder's performance art piece “Ben-Hur” is one of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s newest acquired works. (Jefferson Pinder)

BMA’s first performance art piece puts its expansive mission in motion
by Wesley Case
Published February 23 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Some movie scenes stick with viewers for years, even decades, after they first encounter them. The 1959 epic “Ben-Hur” made that indelible impression on a young Jefferson Pinder with its depiction of exhausted galley slaves furiously rowing a ship as they’re beaten with whips.

The scene also stuck with Pinder, who later studied theater and mixed media at the University of Maryland, College Park, for what it didn’t show.

“I think, of course, there was one Black person in that scene,” Pinder said recently from his Chicago home. “We look for ourselves, and I said, ‘No, if there’s slaves, why is it we are portraying slavery of white Europeans when really it would be people of the world?’”

Now, Pinder’s own “Ben-Hur” — a time-based endurance piece centered on six Black men working to the point of exhaustion on rowing machines — is making history locally as the Baltimore Museum of Art’s first acquired work of performance art. It’s also part of more than 100 new pieces of artwork recently acquired by the BMA, the latest development in director Asma Naeem’s mission to expand and diversify the museum’s offerings beyond traditional and familiar fine art.

“To represent people from diverse backgrounds, you have to consider the arts that they focused on in their cultures and communities, and much of that is not sculpture made out of bronze or marble or a painting,” said Naeem, who was named BMA director just over a year ago after serving as its chief curator since 2018.

Naeem, a close follower of Pinder’s career for more than a decade, described the scene from the Hollywood “Ben-Hur” as “a whitewashing of enslaved people’s history.” Pinder’s reinterpretation, therefore, serves as a modern corrective.

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

 

 

Opal Lee by Sedrick Huckaby, oil on canvas, 2023. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of Sasha and Edward P. Bass. Copyright 2023 Sedrick Huckaby

National Portrait Gallery Celebrates Women’s History Month
Press Release :: February 28

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery will celebrate Women’s History Month with a free, all-ages festival and in-person and online programs and exhibitions. March kicks off with the annual Women’s History Month Festival in the museum’s Kogod Courtyard Saturday, March 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors of all ages can enjoy story times, performances, art activities, scavenger hunts and more. There will also be workshops with The Washington Ballet; a Ruth Bader Ginsburg portrait workshop with Debbie Levy, author of I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark; and zine-making with artist and activist Jennifer White-Johnson.

In conjunction with the Women’s History Month Festival, the Portrait Gallery will host a conversation with Opal Lee, the “grandmother of Juneteenth,” and her portraitist Sedrick Huckaby. Lee is the retired teacher, counselor and activist who led the push to make Juneteenth a federal holiday. Huckaby, an Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition finalist, was featured in the museum’s recent “Kinship” exhibition. His life-sized oil painting of Lee is now on view in “Recent Acquisitions.” This free conversation will take place March 9 at 3:30 p.m. in the McEvoy Auditorium after the Women’s History Month Festival has concluded.

The Portrait Gallery will also host a Women’s History Month Trivia Night with New Columbia Pub Quiz March 26, from 5 to 6:45 p.m. in the Kogod Courtyard. At this happy hour event, participants can test their knowledge of the incredible women in the Portrait Gallery’s collection. The free collections-themed trivia can be played individually or in teams of up to six people, and prizes are awarded at the end of the evening. The Courtyard Café will be open during the event, with snacks and beverages available for purchase.

In the galleries, this year’s “Recent Acquisitions” showcases women’s achievements and will remain on view through Oct. 27. Each of the 21 portraits either represents a remarkable woman or was created by a woman artist. Sitters include artist Ruth Asawa, singer Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, astronomer Vera Rubin, photographer Ming Smith and entrepreneur and philanthropist Madame C.J. Walker. The museum’s recently commissioned portraits of Earth and planetary science professor Walter Alvarez by Carmen Lomas Garza (2019) and Rabbi Sally Priesand by Joan Roth (2022) are also on view for the first time. The newly commissioned portrait of Oprah Winfrey by Shawn Michael Warren (2023) hangs alongside this exhibition.

For those who cannot make it to the museum, the Portrait Gallery’s Google Arts & Culture page, which has received more than 2.7 million views, includes 12 digital exhibitions on the history of women in the United States. New exhibitions including “Do a Good Turn Daily” and “Shaping History, Envisioning the Future: Public Art by Women” will debut this March.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the nation’s story.

The National Portrait Gallery is located at Eighth and G streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information: (202) 633-1000. Connect with the museum at npg.si.edu and on Facebook, Instagram, X and YouTube.

 

 

GBCA Honors Kevin Brown with Cultural Innovator Award
Press Release :: February 22

The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA) is thrilled to announce the recipient of its inaugural Cultural Innovator Award, Kevin Brown, Owner, and Head Chef of Nancy by SNAC. This prestigious award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding dedication and creativity in fostering the arts within the Baltimore community. In acknowledgment of his remarkable achievements, GBCA honored Brown at a special Happy Hour Black History Month Celebration on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at the Motor House Showroom.

“We established the Cultural Innovator Award to shine a spotlight on individuals like Kevin Brown, whose passion and dedication have significantly enriched the artistic fabric of our community,” said Jeannie L. Howe, GBCA’s Executive Director. “Kevin has envisioned new possibilities, challenged conventional norms, brought fresh perspectives, and lovingly nourished so many in the arts and culture community.”

“Being recognized for something that you do every day, driven by passion, love of community and the spirit of connectivity, is truly appreciated,” said Brown. “Baltimore’s art scene continues to uplift me with its rich tapestry of colorful, diverse and authentic individuals who make all of our lives brighter and better.”

Brown, whose career spans over two decades, has made significant contributions to both the communications field and the arts community in Baltimore. A visionary and innovator, Brown has created a vital space in the Station North neighborhood, which gathers community, elevates artists, and cultivates joy. Welcoming customers from all walks of life, he has curated a public art and dining experience where art, objects, and food engage the senses and encourage guest-to-guest interactions. From art installations to book signings, Brown has thoughtfully established a home for creatives, many early in their career, and cemented Nancy by SNAC as a place to see and be seen in Baltimore.

Beyond his culinary success and profound impact on artists, Brown’s journey from the Market Planning Division at Baltimore Gas & Electric to pivotal roles within the City of Baltimore showcases his versatile expertise. He served in communications for the Baltimore Center for the Performing Arts, Inc., and as public relations director for the New Metropolitan Theater Company. His voice has been a staple in Baltimore’s cultural narrative, with editorial contributions to The Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Afro-American Newspaper, and other local publications. Additionally, Brown is the founder of The National James Baldwin Literary Society. His dedication to the arts and community development reflects the spirit of the Cultural Innovator Award, honoring his lifetime of enriching Baltimore’s cultural fabric.

 

 

John Waters. Photo by Greg Gorman.

John Waters says his next movie will be filmed in Baltimore, if it moves ahead
by Ed Gunts
Published February 23 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: John Waters hasn’t disclosed whom he’ll cast in his next movie, if it moves ahead, but he did say where it will be filmed. “We’re going to film it here definitely if it happens,” he told his audience at a spoken-word performance last week in Baltimore.

Waters was responding to a question about the movie version of “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance,” the 2022 novel that he wrote and is adapting as a motion picture.

See also:

John Waters squelches reports that he has cast the title role for his next movie, ‘Liarmouth’
by Ed Gunts
Published February 28 in Baltimore Fishbowl

 

 

Newly Commissioned Sculpture Unveiled at Coppin State
Press Release:: Feb. 29, 2024

The State of Maryland has welcomed the newest addition to its public art collection at Coppin State University’s College of Business, located at the corner of Warwick and West North Avenue in Baltimore City. The sculpture, titled Community of Stars, was created through the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC)’s Artwork Commissions program and unveiled in a dedication ceremony earlier this month.

“We know that this artwork will serve as a beacon in our community – a source of inspiration and welcome not only for Coppin students and employees but for West Baltimore residents as well,” said Coppin State University President Anthony L. Jenkins.

Artist Nnamdi Okonkwo created the large-scale bronze Community of Stars to symbolize the students as stars shining light on the Coppin community, as well as their journey beyond graduation.

“Public art not only complements new capital improvement projects; it reflects who we are and communicates our hopes for our communities,” said MSAC Executive Director Steven Skerritt-Davis. “Investing in public artworks is an investment in the future vibrancy of our communities.”

Okonkwo was selected for this commission through the state’s Percent-for-Art program, whereby a percentage of state building construction budgets are set aside for public art. The program is overseen by the Maryland Public Art Commission and managed by MSAC’s Public Art Across Maryland team.

 

 

Joyce J. Scott, Man Eating Watermelon, 1986. Photo : ©Joyce J. Scott/Photo Mitro Hood/Courtesy Goya Contemporary/Collection of Paul Daniel and Linda DePalma

60 Must-See Exhibitions to Visit This Spring | “Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams” at Baltimore Museum of Art
by Alex Greenberger
Published February 27 in ARTnews

The big themes of the spring season in the world of museums and biennials are migration and mutation. The former is the loose focus of this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale, the world’s biggest art festival, which will explore artists who live in diaspora. But it is also the subject of a range of retrospectives for artists whose work provides a rebuke to the notion of national borders as fixed, immutable things.

Transformation was a core component of Surrealism, an avant-garde that is turning 100 this year. It is, however, not the only movement celebrating an anniversary in 2024—Impressionism, the French movement launched in 1874, is now 150 years old. Both -isms are being toasted in big shows this season.

But it is not just living artists and modernists who are being feted. An Angelica Kauffman retrospective, long in the works, is finally here, and so is a restoration of a prized Jan van Eyck painting. Below, a look at 60 must-see museum shows and biennials to visit this spring.

Many of Joyce J. Scott’s sculptures are intricate and gorgeous, yet they also contain tough material about the painful histories of racism woven into them—literally. A good number of her pieces enlist beading, glasswork, and sewing, raising craft techniques to the status of what has commonly been regarded as “high” art. One of the most important artists to emerge from Baltimore’s art scene in the past half-century, Scott is finally getting a retrospective in her hometown museum, where she will exhibit lesser-known pieces, such as ephemera related to performances staged during the 1970s, as well as a newly commissioned installation. (March 24–July 14, 2024)

 

 

Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Announces the 2024 Rubys Artist Grant Relaunch
Press Release :: February 24

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of the 2024 Rubys Artist Grant cycle and to introduce the new Rubys Alumni Grant.  Founded as a project-based funding opportunity for artists in Baltimore city and county, the Rubys Grant program will continue to invite artists to propose new, innovative, and experimental projects for consideration in an annual, open call while offering supplemental support to the awardees.

Previous recipients of Rubys Grants, a group of more than 170 artists, are invited to apply in this grant cycle to the Rubys Alumni Award which will recognize one outstanding project annually with $25,000 in funding. Unlike the regular Rubys, artists in the Alumni category are not geographically bound, but will be asked to work with the awardees in their artistic discipline in a mentor capacity – offering studio visits, feedback and presenting an artist talk to the grantees and broader public. The regular Rubys Awards are open to all four creative disciplines, and will be reviewed by notable professionals in each creative field. Applicants have a month to apply and have the opportunity to participate in three informational sessions on the application process. Awards in the amount of $15,000 will be offered to 15 selected projects this year.

In addition to project funding, the Rubys will provide awardees with professional development services, networking opportunities, and an enhanced community of alumni and mentors. The Rubys will also work with several Deutsch Foundation projects such as Open Works, BmoreArt, and outside partners to outfit awardees, when relevant to their work, with access to tools, technologies, equipment, performance and event space, exposure and dialogue.

The 2024 Rubys will, once again, utilize a two-phase application, which opens February 27, 2024. The award invites artists in all four categories: Literary Arts, Media Arts, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts, to apply, and projects will be reviewed by experts in each discipline. Outstanding projects will move on to round two, where applicants will be asked to outline their full project narrative, budget, supporting portfolio, and public components. The Alumni Award selection will follow the same process.

Since its launch in 2013, the Rubys Artists Grants have become highly valued opportunities for Baltimore area creatives and have helped to fund a diverse range of projects by 158 artists. By supporting future projects holistically, the Rubys aim to support Baltimore’s creative community to enable artists to continue to have sustainable and successful careers.

More information about the Rubys Artist Grants may be found here. The Rubys Artist Grants were established in 2013 to support the local artistic community of performing, visual, media and literary artists through meaningful, direct project funding. The Rubys were inspired by Ruby Lerner, the visionary founder of Creative Capital in New York City.

The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation invests in innovative people, programs and ideas that promote arts and culture, economic and community development, and social justice, with a primary focus on the City of Baltimore–including BmoreArt.

 

 

Jinji Chocolate specializes in Caribbean-inspired drinking chocolates and truffles. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

The Dish: Despite the dark side of cocoa, Jinji Chocolate looks for the light
by Matti Gellman
Published February 28 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: When Jinji Fraser began her chocolate company, she did not know the business had a dark side.

In 2012, Fraser stumbled across a chocolate-making class. Then a nutrition counselor, she planned to offer clients a health-conscious version of the sugary snack. Three months later, she opened Jinji Chocolate with her father, a retired government employee.

The store gained a following, moving from a 2013 stall in Belvedere Square Market to its own space in Waverly in October. In early February, The New York Times “T List” newsletter praised the duo for their signature drinking chocolates. Freelance writer Julekha Dash, who wrote the entry about Jinji, told The Banner she “was just blown away by the taste” of the truffles and admired the family’s initiative to showcase their Caribbean roots.

The store was a fun project for Fraser. Her relatives, who are Guyanese, were involved in the growing of cacao, the raw beans that have to be roasted into cocoa. But what she intended to be an interesting family venture has spiraled into a rallying cry against the industry.

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

 

Jim Pollock in his home in 2023. (Hugo Kugiya/The Baltimore Banner)

Hampden artist Jim Pollock, known for hubcap Christmas tree, dies
by Cody Boteler and Hugo Kugiya
Published February 28 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: James W. Pollock Jr, the Hampden artist better known as Jim Pollock and locally renowned for a gigantic hubcap Christmas tree placed outside his home, died earlier this week, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Neighbors confirmed his death to The Baltimore Banner, too. Pollock, 58, was a fixture on Hampden’s 34th Street and often invited visitors into his home, where his artwork was displayed. He lived in Hampden for more than 30 years.

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

 

 

Baltimore’s mini hip-hop museum has big potential
by Taji Burris
Published February 25 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: “4 Your Eyez Only” may have been the title of an album and tour by popular rapper J. Cole, but the project has had much bigger meaning for Milly Vanderwood.

The 36-year-old entrepreneur was thrown into the culture of hip-hop by his father and uncle, who constantly played artists like Tupac, N.W.A., Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Public Enemy.

“At 12, I started rapping and Master P was like my idol,” Vanderwood said. “I wanted to be just like him.” More than just a thriving rap artist, Master P was also a successful businessman and investor — something Vanderwood took note of.

In 2015, Vanderwood and his two business partners at the time opened The Gallery About Nothing, a space for minority artists to showcase their work, as opposed to a traditional art museum filled with older or more popular pieces. Two years later, while standing outside of J. Cole’s tour stop in Baltimore, Vanderwood envisioned opening another place that could highlight the culture that brought joy to him and so many others.

In My Lifetime: Mini Hip-Hop Museum is located on the third floor of 805 E. Baltimore St. and can be visited by appointment only. The museum, made up of two rooms on the second floor of Vanderwood’s art gallery, was founded with the intention of providing a hip-hop experience in physical form.

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

 

BOPA and Mayor Brandon M. Scott Announce Dates for the 25th Anniversary of the Baltimore Book Festival
Press Release :: February 26

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA), in partnership with the City of Baltimore, Wavery Main Street, Red Emma’s, and Peabody Heights Brewery, announced the dates for the 2024 Baltimore Book Festival at a press conference at City Hall on Monday, February 26 with Mayor Brandon M. Scott.

The 2024 Baltimore Book Festival will be held Friday, September 27–Sunday, September 29, 2024, in and around Waverly Main Street. Not only will this year be the beloved Baltimore Book Festival’s return, but it will also be its 25th anniversary.

“Waverly Main Street is excited to support the return of the Baltimore Book Festival in Waverly,” says Waverly Main Street Executive Director Diana Emerson. “As one of the organizers of the 2023 Waverly Book Festival we can’t wait to welcome the rest of Baltimore to the neighborhood.”

The 2023 festival created a critical platform for multiple local authors and poets of varying genres, as well as the neighborhood’s book sellers and small businesses. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of District 14 City Councilwoman Odette Ramos and the collaboration of many stakeholders and community members, this year’s festival will shine a light on the immense breadth and depth of Baltimore’s literary scene by hosting more authors, book sellers, and vendors from neighborhoods across the city.

Literature is part of the fabric of Baltimore. This city has inspired literary greats throughout the ages — famous figures like Frederick Douglass, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, Edgar Allan Poe, D. Watkins, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Anna Deavere Smith, among many others. The Baltimore Book Festival celebrates Baltimore’s rich literary history, vibrant present, and bright future by connecting readers and authors and making the literary arts more engaging, entertaining, relevant, and accessible for all Baltimoreans. The festival will include literary salons, panel discussions, writing workshops, poetry readings, author talks, book signings, children’s activities, live podcast recordings, and more.

Learn more about the Baltimore Book Festival by visiting promotionandarts.org/baltimore-bookfest/ and following BOPA on social media (@promoandarts).

 

 

Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday announces return of the Baltimore Book Festival this year, set for Sept. 27 to 29. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Scott announces Baltimore Book Festival will return in September, a sign that BOPA likely will work with the city past June 30
by Ed Gunts
Published February 26 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Mayor Brandon Scott announced Monday that the Baltimore Book Festival is returning in September after a four-year hiatus, a sign that the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) likely will work with the city past June 30, 2024.

Scott said at City Hall on Monday that the festival will take place Sept. 27 to 29 in Waverly. It will include book sellers, literary salons, panel discussions, writing workshops, poetry readings, author talks, book signings, children’s activities, live podcast recordings and more. The location was announced as “in and around Waverly Main Street.”

“We are coming back better than ever,” the mayor said. “This is a special event for everyone in Baltimore…. There is going to be something for everyone.”

 

 

Image: Courtesy of the Artist

VisArts Announces 2024 Studio Fellow
Press Release :: February 26

VisArts is pleased to announce our new 2024 Studio Fellow, Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi.

Ilchi has been offered a six-month fellowship that provides a unique opportunity to create a new body of work, evolve an existing body of work, or develop a project in a stimulating, supportive environment.

The fellowship includes a $3,000 stipend, free studio space, and a culminating solo exhibition, which will be in the Gibbs Street Gallery from January 24-March 2, 2025. A reception will be held Friday, January 31, 2025 from 7-9 p.m.

Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi is an Iranian-American artist whose creative practice is a navigation of her multifaceted experiences as an immigrant. Her paintings provide a space where her two disparate histories come together to reflect on cultural traditions and notions of belonging.

By combining conventions of Western abstraction with conventions of Persian art, Ilchi explores contradictory painting processes and the ways in which they can be melded into a hybrid visual language. These pictorial clashes echo the erasure and distortion of cultural identities, evoking allegories of intrusion and invasion and moving beyond the personal to reference contemporary and historical interference.

Ilchi was born in Tehran, Iran and currently lives and works in the Washington, D.C. area. She received an M.F.A. in studio art from American University and a B.F.A. from the Corcoran College of Art + Design and is the recipient of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellowship, Charm City Fellowship, Zeta Orionis Painting Fellowship, Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Painting, and Bethesda Painting Award.

Ilchi has participated in numerous national solo and group exhibitions. Her work has been featured in publications that include “The Washington Post,” “Hyperallergic,” “Art Papers,” “Washington City Paper,” and “New American Paintings.” She has attended residencies at the Ucross Foundation, Millay Arts, Vermont Studio Center, Jentel Foundation, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Playa Summer Lake, Monson Arts, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Ilchi’s work is in private and public collections, including The Phillips Collection, The Federal Reserve Board, The Microsoft Art Collection, and the Carl M. Freeman Foundation. She is represented by Hemphill ARTWORKS Gallery in Washington, D.C. and is currently serving as one of the 2023-2024 McMillan Stewart Endowed Chairs in Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art.

 

 

Baltimore to Host Project for Public Spaces 2024 International Placemaking Week
Press Release (updated) :: February 27

Placemaking Week is a multi-day, global gathering of over 600 public space leaders that emphasizes hands-on learning, off-site exploration, and innovative social events, all while leaving behind a public space legacy in host cities. Embracing a wide variety of sectors and disciplines, the conference creates a dynamic forum for attendees to develop and share concrete strategies to advance community-powered public spaces, both locally and globally.

This year Placemaking Week will offer a program of hands-on workshops and panels, social events and activities, plenaries, and mobile workshops, in multiple locations around the city’s Station North Arts District, Bromo Arts District, and Maryland Institute College of Art campus. Topics will focus on creative placemaking, placekeeping and storytelling, reusing vacant spaces, safer streets, connecting with nature, managing downtowns and districts, funding and grantmaking, equitable infrastructure, food and land justice, and more.

Early bird offers the best rate before the registration increases on March 28. Registration | Baltimore 2024 (placemakingweek.org)
https://www.placemakingweek.org/24/registration

Project for Public Spaces has selected Baltimore as the host city for the International Placemaking Week conference, scheduled for June 5-8, 2024. Now in its fourth year, the event gathers 600 leaders and influencers from across the globe to champion the transformative power of well-designed, community-driven spaces.

International Placemaking Week is not your run-of-the-mill conference with keynote speakers in hotel ballrooms. It’s an immersive experience designed to engage attendees with hands-on sessions, off-site workshops, enlightening tours, and networking events to explore, connect, and drive positive change in public spaces.

“Public spaces serve as arenas for human connection, combating social isolation and providing opportunities crucial for personal and communal growth and success,” said Nate Storring, Co-Executive Director of Project for Public Spaces. “Through meaningful engagement and inclusive planning, Placemaking Week aims to catalyze a global movement to reclaim public spaces and leverage them for broader social and economic benefits.”

The Neighborhood Design Center, in collaboration with the City of Baltimore, will serve as the event co-hosts, helping to support regional marketing, fundraising, and planning mobile workshops spanning diverse sectors and disciplines. These workshops will empower attendees to develop and share actionable strategies for advancing placemaking, both locally and globally.

“Our goal is to give attendees an all-encompassing perspective on Baltimore’s journey,” said Jennifer Goold, executive director of The Neighborhood Design Center. “This city, rich with history, has become a canvas for experimentation and innovation, responding to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and addressing the imperative of racial justice ignited by the events surrounding George Floyd.”

Mobile workshops will address issues around reclaiming public spaces from a range of perspectives through spatial, cultural, and equity-based lenses. Participants will have the unique opportunity to witness firsthand Baltimore’s transformation, learning from the bold and radical initiatives shaping the city’s post-industrial future.

“By having the opportunity to bring Placemaking Week to Baltimore City, we’re able to showcase the incredible work being done by communities across our city and open our doors to placemakers from around the world,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “This gathering has always been a powerful catalyst for positive change, and as Baltimore plans the future of so many of our shared public spaces, there’s no better time to welcome so many incredible professionals in this space. We’re thrilled to be playing such a central role in this year’s forum and look forward to welcoming everyone to Charm City.”

Past International Placemaking Weeks in Vancouver (2016), Amsterdam (2017), and Chattanooga (2019) have all contributed to the global placemaking movement. Chattanooga’s event had a substantial economic impact, injecting $628,319 into the local economy, supporting 158 jobs, and investing in local artists and organizations.

International Placemaking Week 2024 is organized by Project for Public Spaces and cohosted by the Neighborhood Design Center, with seed support from the T. Rowe Price Foundation. For further information and updates on International Placemaking Week 2024, please visit https://www.placemakingweek.org.

 

 

header image: “Patternmaster” by Bisa Butler, 2023, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

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