BmoreArt News: Christian Siriano, Betty Cooke turns 100, MICA Art Walk Returns

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This week’s news includes: Christian Siriano will be Grand Marshal of Annapolis Pride, Betty Cooke celebrates 100, MICA Art Walk returns, Giulietta Pinna’s treasure trove, MDFF screenings to see, René Treviño’s must-see exhibition, Remington and Hampden festival redux’s, Jim Henson documentary, Doomsday Poe Readathon, and a new partnership between Open Works and Coppin State — with reporting from Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Brew, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Portrait of Betty Cooke, photo by Mike Morgan; the Baltimore jewelry artist will turn 100 years old on May 5, 2024. Happy Birthday, Betty!

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Christian Siriano, an Annapolis native, won the fourth season of “Project Runway,” and has become one of the reality show’s most successful and visible stars. (© Leandro Justen/Leandro Justen)

Christian Siriano to serve as grand marshal of Annapolis Pride Parade
by John-John Williams IV
Published April 30 in The Baltimore Banner

He’s conquered fashion week. His designs have slayed the red carpet during award season. And now Christian Siriano is coming home.

The Annapolis native will serve as grand marshal and keynote speaker June 1 for the annual Annapolis Pride Parade & Festival, which is a major coup as the event enters its fourth year.

Organizers for Annapolis Pride Parade & Festival said they have been trying to get Siriano to participate in the festivities for years. But scheduling never quite worked out.

“Christian is from Annapolis, and we wanted him to come. Timing hadn’t worked out until this year,” said Joe Toolan, board chair of Annapolis Pride. “We were very excited. There have been times when he talked about the struggle growing up in Annapolis. And we’re just really excited for him to see how much Annapolis is shifting and how much more inclusive we’re working on making it.”

Siriano, the first Marylander to ever win “Project Runway,” is not new to aligning himself with organizations and causes, having previously supported LGBTQ rights, a national gun violence prevention organization, Planned Parenthood, and actress Cynthia Nixon’s unsuccessful bid to be New York’s governor.

Siriano, a dogged businessman with design talents to match, has become a household name. And he got his start in Maryland.

As an aspiring designer at 13, Siriano enrolled in the Baltimore School for the Arts. Although the school didn’t offer a fashion curriculum, he found a way to pursue his passion there. He would later go on to study under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.

When he was 21, he won the fourth season of “Project Runway” in 2008. Siriano — the most successful and visible star from the reality show — has had many noteworthy celebrity clients, including former first lady Michelle Obama, Taylor Swift and Zendaya. Siriano rejoined Project Runway’s 17th season in the role of mentor, which was previously held by Tim Gunn. And he’s been a fixture on the hit show ever since.

Siriano isn’t the only new thing happening during Annapolis Pride this year.

Expect a longer and different parade route to accommodate the expected 10,000 people this year — up from almost 9,000 last year, according to Toolan.

“We have expanded,” Toolan said, adding that the parade route now extends from Annapolis City docks up to Main Street and concluding at West Street.

The change in route and length will help with traffic congestion, Toolan explained.

“It actually allows us to take the route down to the water, which we have not been able to do before,” Toolan said.

Singer — and current “The Voice” contestant L. Rodgers — will perform during the festival portion of the day. Rodgers has performed at Annapolis Pride before, according to Toolan.

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



Messages and a drawing of Betty Cooke decorate a giant card dedicated to the Baltimore jewelry artist, who will turn 100 years old on May 5, 2024. Photo by Susan Dunn.

Vibrant Centenarians: Happy 100th, Betty Cooke!
by Kathy Hudson
Published April 25 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: On a sunny April Saturday, The Village of Cross Keys courtyard showcases many colorful signs and an enormous card, each celebrating the 100th birthday of renowned designer and jeweler Betty Cooke.

Her store, The Store Ltd, was among the first to open in Jim Rouse’s 1965 discreet and modern shopping center on Falls Road. Designed by Ellen Lupton, the Betty Cooke and William O. Steinmetz Design Chair at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and Jennifer Tobias, the festive card is filled with heartfelt messages. “You’re a legend, Betty Cooke,” says one in red ink.

Indeed, she is. Many celebrations are planned to honor her. On the afternoon of May 4, well-wishers are invited to say “Happy Birthday” to Betty at The Store Ltd. On May 5, Cooke’s actual birthday, a private event is scheduled at the home of a MICA trustee. On May 6 the gigantic card is being presented at 11:30 a.m. in The Village of Cross Keys.



MICA’s Annual ArtWalk Exhibition Returns With One Of The Largest Displays of Visual Art in Baltimore
Press Release :: April 26

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is pleased to welcome the Baltimore community and beyond to campus for a chance to see the incredible works of art by MICA students in one of the largest displays of visual art in the city. The annual ArtWalk Commencement Exhibition will present over 2,400 unique artworks by nearly 400 graduating students in the undergraduate school across MICA’s campus.

Art lovers and collectors alike will have the opportunity to meet and talk with the emerging artists and to be the first in line to purchase the works. Pieces on view range from sculpture, painting, ceramics, animation, graphic design, illustration, garment design, printmaking, woodworking, fiber art, digital art, game design, assemblage/collage, photography, and film—a testament to the robust and diverse curriculum offered at MICA.

“We’re so proud of our 2024 graduates. It’s always thrilling to see how our students’ creativity transforms almost every inch of MICA’s campus during this annual showcase and celebration of their work,” said Dean of Undergraduate Studies Mina Cheon. “I can’t wait to see what they accomplish as they embark on professional careers.”

The weekend kicks off with the ArtWalk Opening on Friday, May 10, allowing attendees to meet with emerging young artists to discuss the art-making process for the works on view. It is also a wonderful opportunity to connect with family, friends, and neighbors at the most exciting party in town. The evening will feature delicious fare from Baltimore’s top food trucks including Bmore Greek Grill, Breaking the Borders Down, Kommie Pig, Kooper’s Chowhound, Lyfe Acai and Smoothie Bar, and Taharka Brothers. Beer, wine, and soda will also be sold at the three bars provided by Dooby’s in Cohen Plaza.

ArtWalk is free and open to the public from Friday, May 10 through Monday, May 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

ArtWalk Locations Include:

  • Gateway, 1601 W. Mount Royal Ave., through the lobby areas and in BBOX.
  • Bunting Center, 1401 W. Mount Royal Ave., in the Pinkard Gallery and throughout the first floor.
  • Fox Building, 1305 W. Mount Royal Ave., in the classrooms and galleries located on the first, second, third, and fourth floors including Decker Gallery, Meyerhoff Gallery, and J. Allen Gallery.
  • Brown Center, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave., outside the entrance, in lobbies, hallways, and galleries located on the lower level, first, second, third, and fourth floors including Leidy Atrium and Rosenberg Gallery.
  • Main Building, 1300 W. Mount Royal Ave., in galleries, classrooms, and hallways located on the lower level, first, second, and third floors including Lower Main Gallery, Wilgus Gallery, and Main Court. (to access the lower level take the staircase or the elevator)
  • Dolphin Design Center, 100 Dolphin St., in the Dolphin Gallery, first floor, and on the second, third, and fifth floors.
  • Mount Royal Station, 1400 Cathedral St., in classrooms and galleries located on the first, second, and third floors including Middendorf Gallery, Portico, DFAB Lab, and the parking lot.

ArtWalk Screenings:

  • Senior Animation BFA Screening #1, Brown Center’s Falvey Hall, May 12th, 10:00 a.m.
  • Senior Animation BFA Screening #2, Brown Center’s Falvey Hall, May 12th, 1:00 p.m.
  • Senior Film & Video BFA Screenings, Brown Center’s Falvey Hall, May 12th, 4:00 p.m.

Note: Free parking is available in the Mosher and Station parking lots, though parking will be limited. The church lot will be closed during ArtWalk. Additional paid parking is available at The Fitzgerald Garage (across from Mount Royal Station). Due to several events Friday evening, traffic will also likely be impacted. Event-goers are encouraged to walk, take public transportation, or use rideshare to get to MICA. At the ArtWalk Opening event, there will be MICA shuttle buses available for visitors to ArtWalk to get around campus.

For more information about ArtWalk, visit

About MICA
Acknowledged nationally as a premier leader in art and design education, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is deliberately cultivating a new generation of artist—one that is capable of seamlessly integrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative citizenship with contemporary approaches to art, design, and media.

MICA is redefining the role of the artists and designers as creative, solutions-oriented makers, and thinkers who will drive social, cultural, and economic advancement for our future.

As the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation, MICA is located in Baltimore, deeply connected to the community. It is a leading contributor to the creative economy regionally and a top producer of nationally and internationally recognized professional artists and designers.

Maryland Institute College of Art
1300 W  Mt Royal Ave
Baltimore, Maryland 21217



Giulietta Pinna inside her prop rental shop and photo studio. —Photography by Justin Tsucalas

Giulietta Pinna’s Prop Up Shop is Where Business and Wonder Mix
by Janelle Erlichman Diamond | Photography by Justin Tsucalas
Published April 30 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Giulietta Pinna’s eyes scan the shelves at Prop Up Shop, her prop rental house in Baltimore. There’s lots to see, including stacks and stacks of plates and bowls in every color, from vermillion to celadon; bundles of silverware; rows of glasses, vases, trinkets, and candy dishes; and an entire section devoted to teapots. There are wooden blocks, and gemstones, clocks, vintage electronics, and a section labeled “science collection.”

In all, thousands of items are available for weekly rentals at this niche booming business in Baltimore.

Pinna, 37, who also works as an art director and prop and set stylist, has the captivating allure of Audrey Hepburn mixed with the gumption and pluckiness of Hermione Granger. It turns out that’s the perfect combination for someone who has turned hoarding into a career.



The Hypnosis.—Jonathan Bjerstedt

Three Maryland Film Festival Screenings You Can’t Miss This Year
by Max Weiss
Published April 24 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: After taking one year off, The Maryland Film Festival is making its big return May 2-5 in honor of its 25th anniversary. Throughout the weekend, Station North’s SNF Parkway Theatre will host panels, events, after-parties, gaming and tech programs, and, of course, a curated lineup of screenings that celebrate diverse filmmakers from near and far. Here are three highlights we recommend snagging tickets to:



René Treviño, “Regalia, Premonition” (2023), mixed media, dimensions variable (© René Treviño; photo by John Bentham, courtesy the artist)

10 Exhibitions to See in Upstate New York This May
by Taliesin Thomas
Published April 29 in Hyperallergic

Excerpt: In his celebrated “Sonnet 18” (1609), Shakespeare writes that “rough winds do shake the darling buds of May.” So, too, does the lively art scene in Upstate New York flutter with a robust round of shows this month. The Wellin Museum celebrates the visual splendor of René Treviño’s queer twist on Mexican-American traditions, while Storm King Art Center presents the radical pioneering ceramicist Arlene Shechet’s latest monumental sculpture. Bethany Collins’s austere work at Alexander Gray soberly repositions public notices by formerly enslaved individuals seeking family members, and Catalina Viejo Lopez de Roda’s exhibition at Gallery 495 explores the soulfulness of faces in a series of ink drawings and embossed metal wall sculptures. Savaggi Arts in collaboration with Bank Arts Center presents Kate Raudenbush’s monumental laser-cut sculptures that double as allegorical environments for self-exploration, while Collar Works’s mobile FLOCKart shipping container project, currently parked in Rensselaer, exhibits a series of playful ceramics by Chinese-American artist Z. Cecilia Lu. Among the consistent charms of the Hudson Valley is the seasonal energy, and art-lovers can encounter the rough winds, the darling buds, and the thrill of upbeat exhibitions that complement the unabashed rebirth of life exploding across the region this month.

René Treviño: Stab of Guilt

Featuring 200 artworks in a range of materials, Stab of Guilt at the Wellin Museum is a dazzling cornucopia of multi-media artworks, as well as Treviño’s first solo museum exhibition. The queer, Baltimore-based Mexican-American artist’s work reflects his investigation of diverse symbolism and cultural references, including Mayan, Aztec, and Catholic histories, combined with personal affinities such as astronomy, pop art, and LGBTQ+ culture. His Walls of the Yucatán series (2016), for example, comprises six rainbow-hued paintings that combine the Pride Flag with the topography of stone, producing a layering of worlds both ancient and contemporary. Sunspots by Day, Asteroids by Night(2023) consists of 20 archival digital prints with mixed media on bamboo paper, a collaging of celestial objects with blocks of color that conjure a spiritual warmth. As we drift into his welcoming universe, Treviño’s imaginative use of fabric, beads, fringe, feathers, and faux fur create striking ceremonial outfits and sculptural wall pieces, reflecting his masterful orchestration of historical visual norms with current social realities.



Susannah Siger, left, and Samantha Claassen smile for a portrait in Golden West on Wednesday. (Kylie Cooper/The Baltimore Banner)

With HonFest permanently wrapped, a new festival highlighting Hampden is set for June
by Lillian Reed
Published April 24 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: When a longstanding Hampden street festival came to an end in 2023, business owners in the neighborhood knew they needed a plan. Susannah Siger’s customers at Ma Petite Shoe seemed to be coming out of hibernation from the COVID-19 pandemic and craving a sense of community. Local nonprofits that relied on community events for financial support were hurting. But plenty of new businesses along The Avenue were opening too.

The cancellation of Hampdenfest 2023 in the fall was followed by the announcement in January that HonFest would permanently wrap after 30 years. HonFest representatives cited the enormous workload as a reason for folding. Organizers for Hampdenfest have not announced dates in 2024. They said they canceled last fall as because of Artscape’s move to September in 2023. (Artscape is set for August this year.)

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: With HonFest permanently wrapped, a new festival highlighting Hampden is set for June



Photo from Remfest Facebook page.

Remfest to return in May with new area dedicated to local businesses
by Aliza Worthington
Published April 30 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Remfest 2024 has announced the details of its family-oriented festival, packed with fun activities, food and drink, and live music for all to enjoy.

Set to take place on Saturday, May 11, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. along Remington Avenue between 27th and 29th streets, the day will feature over 80 local vendors and non-profits along with the array of food options and music.

Remfest is designed to bring the Remington community together to explore crafts, services, and community projects. The food scene will offer choices from local eateries, including Doppio Pasticceria, Fishnet, Local Oyster, Emmanuellas Cuisine, Big Softy, Elevated Kitchen, Sweet 27, and Ekiben. Beer will be available from Peabody Heights Brewing and cocktails will be available courtesy of R. Bar inside R. House.



A bearded puppet in a fringe jacket resembling its creator Jim Henson was among the artifacts in the Maryland Center for History and Culture's exhibit, “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unleashed.” (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Jim Henson got his start in Maryland. A new documentary on his life is coming to Disney+
by Lillian Reed
Published April 29 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: The lovers, the dreamers and all of us under Jim Henson’s spell can stream a new documentary about the legendary puppeteer’s life beginning May 31 on Disney+.

The documentary titled “Jim Henson Idea Man,” directed by Ron Howard, chronicles Henson’s influential career in television and film, which he launched as a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park. During his time there, Henson met his performing partner and wife Jane Nebel while taking a puppetry course and the two went on to develop a daily puppet show called “Sam and Friends” for Washington, D.C., station WRC-TV.

Henson’s beloved puppet characters — Kermit the Frog , Miss Piggy and Big Bird, to name a few — continue to charm generations of fans. His television and film contributions include “The Muppets,” “Sesame Street,” “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.” Henson died in 1990.

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: Jim Henson got his start in Maryland. A new documentary on his life is coming to Disney+



Third Annual Doomsday Poe Readathon Livestream Starts May 18
Press Release :: April 18

For 24 straight hours from May 18 -19, 2024, The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre will hold Doomsday 2024, the third annual nonstop marathon livestreamed reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. This year the celebration will be international, with coordinated events in Brazil, Italy and the UK as well as in Baltimore.

To raise money for Doomsday 2024, and to help fund The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre’s award-winning Poe-themed radio dramas, a donation page has been established at Early supporters have already contributed to bring the event to life.

This year’s Doomsday event is being held at The Carroll Mansion (800 E Lombard St, Baltimore, MD 21202). Readers who have already committed to read Poe’s works during Doomsday 2024 include Maryland State Delegates Luke Clippinger and Mark Edelson; Rachel D. Graham, CEO of The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts; Poe House and Museum Executive Director Enrica Jang; Loyola University’s Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, and many more.

For 2024, the Doomsday Poe celebration has gone international, spreading well beyond Baltimore. Participants from many other nations will be doing their own version of Doomsday this year, including the theatre groups Vigor Mortis in Curitiba, Brazil; Grand Guignol de Milan in Milan, Italy; and Threedumb Theatre in London, England. Each country’s livestream will be hosted along with the Baltimore stream from The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre’s website and its Givebutter donation page.

Meanwhile, back in Baltimore, the Doomsday 2024 reading will be free to all, including arts and writing activities for all ages, Poe trivia, and open access that weekend to the Poe Death Exhibit, hosted at the Carroll Mansion by Poe Baltimore.

“Poe’s legacy as one of the most influential American authors has been embraced globally, and his works are translated into languages spoken around the world,” said Poe Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Alex Zavistovich. “It’s gratifying to see an idea that started three years ago in my basement in Baltimore City begin to grow into a truly international event.”

Edgar Allan Poe worked in Baltimore for three years, during which time he authored some of his more notable stories, including “MS Found in a Bottle,” “Berenice” and “Shadow – A Parable.” His connection to Baltimore is much stronger than that, however, His wife, Virginia Clemm Poe, was born in Baltimore, and his grandfather, the renowned military leader David Poe, was a co-founder of Baltimore’s historic First and Franklin Church. Edgar Allan Poe’s body is buried on the grounds of Baltimore’s Westminster Hall.

The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre is the only company in the world dedicated to adapting the works of America’s grandfather of horror and suspense onstage, on the air, and in the classroom. Throughout the pandemic, theatre produced monthly radio drama adaptations of Poe’s stories. The award-winning programs are carried on Amazon Music and National Public Radio, among many other platforms. (



Open Works and Coppin State launching new westside makerspace
Press Advisory :: May 1

Good morning!

My name is Will Holman and I am the Executive Director of Open Works, a nonprofit makerspace on Greenmount Avenue.

In April 2023, at the Economic Inclusion Conference at Coppin State University, I announced a capital campaign to build a second branch on the west side of Baltimore. Last Thursday, I returned to campus for EIC 2024 to make good on that promise.

I was honored to be joined by CSU President Dr. Anthony Jenkins; Director of the CSU Center for Strategic Entrepreneurship and Open Works Board Member Dr. Ron Williams; State Treasurer Dereck Davis; Congressman Kweisi Mfume; Executive Director of the West North Avenue Development Authority Chad Williams; State Senator Antonio Hayes; and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Small Business Development, Chris Lundy, Esq. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin sent video remarks.

Together, we made several big announcements.

First, we announced the signing of a new MOU between CSU and Open Works that updated our historic 2016 partnership, agreeing to provide student and faculty access to the future facility; collaborating on standing up a tech transfer department at CSU to be housed in the future facility; and co-designing a future degree program that will eventually award a minor in Makerspace Management — the first such program in the United States, if not the world.

Second, we announced that we are launching a satellite makerspace on the first floor of the CSU College of Business right on North Avenue. We are soft-launching programming this month through summer, then ramping up as the school year starts. All programming will be free in the first year with grant support from both Baltimore City and Maryland State DHCD.The satellite will be run by Ms. April Lewis, OW’s current Director of Community and Culture.

Third, we announced our first capital commitments. Sens. Van Hollen and Cardin, with support from Congressman Mfume, have awarded the project $2M in a Congressionally-Directed Funding Request (CDSR). The West North Avenue Development Authority (WNADA), has matched that award with $2M.

Together, this represents about 1/3 of the projected capital stack for the project. Our development partners at BARCO, led by former 7th District Councilman Leon Pinkett III, are using this preliminary funding to finalize purchase of the site at 2636 W. North Avenue this month and begin predevelopment. We anticipate opening the facility in 2026.

In coming months, we will be releasing preliminary plans and renderings; announcing subtenants; rolling out a full programming schedule for the satellite space; and announcing some new partnership agreements.

We are excited to partner with so many great westside community leaders and institutions on this project, continuing on our mission to scale the first truly public makerspace network in America, built on a foundation of representation, diversity, and equity.

Dr. Ron Williams, Leon Pinkett, and April Lewis are copied here if you would like to follow up for comment. Some pictures from the event are attached, a full gallery is here. Photography credit is Mr. Chip Dizard.

Thank you!

Will Holman
Executive Director, Open Works



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