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BmoreArt News: New Exhibitions at Renwick Gallery + Phillips Collection, BMA Climate Initiative, and New Theater Seasons

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Navigating Our Brave New Art World

This week’s news includes: Subversive, Skilled, Sublime fiber art exhibition at the Renwick, The Phillips Collection 2024-25 exhibition schedule, BMA announces environmental initiatives, Everyman Theatre’s “Midsummer,” FPCT’s upcoming season, Catrece Ann Tipon, Charles Mason III, Preakness future, Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, Golden West to stay on the Avenue, and MICA’s ongoing woes– with reporting from Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Brew, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Sheila Hicks. The Principal Wife Goes On. From SAAM’s Renwick Gallery Fiber Art Revolution exhibition.

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Emma Amos, Winning, 1982, acrylic on linen with hand-woven fabric, 75 × 64 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase made possible by the Catherine Walden Myer Fund, 2019.15, © 1982, Ryan Lee Gallery, New York

New Exhibition at the Renwick Gallery Celebrates Women Artists Who Revolutionized Fiber as a Powerful Medium for Contemporary Art
Press Release :: May 20

Fiber has long inspired women artists, although their ingenuity with threads and cloth was often dismissed as domestic work and therefore inconsequential to the development of 20th-century American art. “Subversive, Skilled, Sublime: Fiber Art by Women” seeks to address the historic marginalization of fiber in contemporary artmaking by centering the skilled contributions of 27 artists who mastered everyday materials, subverted conventions and transformed humble threads into sublime creations.

Offering an alternative history of art in the United States, “Subversive, Skilled, Sublime” is on view at the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum dedicated to contemporary craft, from May 31 through Jan. 5, 2025.

Artists featured in this exhibition include Adela Akers, Neda Al-Hilali, Emma Amos, Lia Cook, Olga de Amaral, Consuelo Jimenez Underwood, Sheila Hicks, Agueda Martínez, Faith Ringgold, Miriam Schapiro, Joyce Scott, Judith Scott, Kay Sekimachi, Lenore Tawney, Katherine Westphal, Claire Zeisler and Marguerite Zorach.

“SAAM has long been dedicated to showcasing women artists and creative disciplines traditionally considered domestic pursuits,” said Stephanie Stebich, the Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Spotlighting visionary creators who have both uplifted and advanced the tradition of fiber crafts speaks to our mission of expanding the conversation around American art.”

The exhibition is organized by Mary Savig, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft; Virginia Mecklenburg, senior curator; and Laura Augustin Fox, curatorial collections coordinator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. The featured artworks are drawn entirely from the museum’s collection, and the presentation includes interviews and related materials from the archive’s collections. The Renwick Gallery is the only venue for this exhibition.

“Each artwork carries the story of its maker, manifesting—stitch by stitch—the profound and personal politics of the hand,” Savig said. “Collectively, they highlight the depth and diversity possible in the medium of fiber.”

Dating from 1918 to 2004, the 33 works in this exhibition range from sewn quilts, woven tapestries and rugs, and beaded and embroidered ornamentation, to twisted and bound sculptures and mixed media assemblages. Each work carries the story of its maker, drawing on personal experiences and skills passed down for generations as well as textile traditions from around the world.

Placing artworks alongside the artist’s own words drawn from oral interviews from the Archives of American Art, the exhibition shows the complex influence of domestic life, shared knowledge of historical and experimental techniques, feminist strategies for upending the art world status quo and the perceptions and possibilities of fiber art. A gallery of archival materials from the archives’ collection, including sketches, mail art and photographs, deepens insight into their creative processes.

The Archives of American Art developed a digital presence for the exhibition that offers a deeper look into several artists’ lives. It is available on the archives website.

Podcast

To complement the exhibition, the museum produced a 10-episode narrative podcast, “Backstitch,” that allows listeners to hear directly from the artists in their own voices. These short-form audio explorations take a deeper look into the lives and creative practices of 10 trailblazing artists represented in the exhibition. The podcast is narrated and produced by Emma Jacobs and Rachel Ward. The interviews were conducted for the Archives of American Art by Suzanne Baizerman, Robert F. Brown, Joanne Cubbs, Paul Cummings, Erin Gilbert, Mija Reidel and Robert Silberman. A link to the podcast is available on the exhibition webpage.

Public Programs

The museum will present three programs in conjunction with the exhibition. An open house with Savig and selected artists is Friday, June 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Savig will give a free, virtual lecture Thursday, July 11, at 7 p.m.; registration is required. A hybrid public program, “Archives Live with Joyce Scott,” features fiber artist Joyce Scott discussing her papers housed at the Archives of American Art Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 6:30 p.m. This program is co-hosted by the museum and the Archives of American Art; registration is required. Additional information is available on the museum’s website.

 

 

(L to R) Alphonse Mucha, The Arts: Dance, 1898, Color lithograph, 60 x 38 in., The Mucha Foundation; Vivian Browne, Umbrella Plant, 1971, Oil on canvas, 48 3/4 x 40 3/4 in., Courtesy of Adobe Krow Archives, CA and RYAN LEE Gallery, NY; Sam Gilliam, April, 1971, Acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 x 2 1/2 in., The Phillips Collection, Bequest of Mercedes H. Eichholz, 2013

The Phillips Collection Announces 2024 – 25 Exhibition Schedule
Press Release :: May 22

The Phillips Collection announces its upcoming exhibitions and programmatic highlights through summer 2025. Featuring an array of contemporary and historic art by leading international and DC-based artists, the schedule includes the recently announced Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage (opening July 6), the first large-scale exhibition dedicated to contemporary collage by Black American artists; the first exhibition in Washington, DC devoted to social realist artist William Gropper (opening October 12); and Breaking It Down: Conversations from the Vault, which showcases the museum’s unique collecting practice of establishing deep relationships with emerging and well-known artists in its community and of its time (opening November 2). Other highlights in 2025 include exhibitions dedicated to the seminal Art Nouveau artist and graphic illustrator Alphonse Mucha (opening February 22, 2025), poet and activist Essex Hemphill (opening May 10, 2025), and painter and educator Vivian Browne (opening June 28, 2025), who worked across diverse media and representational and abstract styles and developed a deeply personal language of expression.

“The Phillips has always been known for its leadership role in championing artists, emerging and established, who are courageously independent in their vision and approach,” says Vradenburg Director & CEO Jonathan P. Binstock. “In this time of deep division, we want guests to make meaningful connections with friends, family, and the broad range of artworks we present, and to open their eyes and hearts to the artist’s perspective, which can foster greater understanding.”

“The Phillips has an exciting array of exhibitions in its next season that will give guests a chance to dive deep into beloved artists while discovering others for the first time,” says Chief Curator Elsa Smithgall.  “Our season includes exhibitions that shine a light on influential, yet understudied figures, including Vivian Browne, William Gropper, and Essex Hemphill, artist-activists who used their distinctive voices to raise awareness about civil rights issues we still wrestle with today.”

 

EXHIBITIONS (FALL 2024–SUMMER 2025)

William Gropper: Artist of the People

October 12, 2024–January 5, 2025

William Gropper (b. 1897, New York, NY; d. 1977, Manhasset, NY) was a leading social realist artist whose work fervently addressed pressing socio-political issues of the 20th century. The son of impoverished immigrants from Romania and Ukraine, Gropper used his art to call attention to social injustice, contributing thousands of satirical illustrations to radical publications such as the New York Tribune, New Masses, and The Sunday Worker. The first exhibition dedicated to Gropper in Washington, DC, this presentation features more than 30 works that reveal his biting commentary on human rights, anarchy, labor, freedom, and democracy.

This exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection.

Breaking It Down: Conversations from the Vault

November 2, 2024–January 19, 2025

The Phillips Collection, from its inception, has focused on creating what founder Duncan Phillips called “units:” groups of works of art that represent key aspects of an artist’s vision or spirit. Leaders in championing the independent-minded artist, Duncan and Marjorie Phillips gave many their first museum exhibitions and acquisitions. This presentation offers a deep dive and new take on several artists who are cornerstones of the collection, including Georges Braque, Richard Diebenkorn, Arthur Dove, Sam Gilliam, Paul Klee, and Georgia O’Keeffe, alongside a growing collection of works by trailblazers of our time, including Sean Scully, Sylvia Snowden, Renée Stout, Joyce Wellman, and more.

This exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection.

Timeless Mucha: The Magic of Line

February 22–May 18, 2025

Timeless Mucha: The Magic of Line reappraises the work of Art Nouveau pioneer Alphonse Mucha (b. 1860, Ivančice, Moravia, Austrian Empire; d. 1939, Prague, Czechoslovakia) and explores his impact on graphic art since the 1960s. This exhibition provides an opportunity to survey the development of Mucha’s style, and to explore how his art was rediscovered by later generations of artists. Mucha was a key influence on Psychedelic Art of the 1960s–70s, as well as on a wide range of visual culture from the late 20th century to today, exemplified by American comics, Japanese manga, and street murals.

This exhibition is organized by the Mucha Foundation.

Essex Hemphill: Take care of your blessings

May 17–August 31, 2025

This exhibition charts the relationship between the writings of poet and activist Essex Hemphill (b. 1957, Chicago, IL; d. 1995, Philadelphia, PA) and contemporary visual art. Raised in Washington, DC, Hemphill emerged as a luminary in the DC arts scene of the 80s and 90s. He self-published chapbooks including Earth Life (1985) and Conditions (1986), before publishing his full-length collection Ceremonies: Prose and Poetry (1992). While Hemphill died of AIDS-related illness at just 38, his work persists, reflected in visual dialogues with his contemporaries such as Lyle Ashton Harris and Isaac Julien, and a new generation of artists such as Diedrick Brackens and Tiona Nekkia McClodden.

This exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection.

Vivian Browne: My Kind of Protest

June 28–September 14, 2025

Drawing upon previously unknown works and archival findings, this exhibition recovers the depth and variety of the more than three-decade career of Vivian Browne (b. 1929, Laurel, FL; d. 1993, New York, NY). The exhibition features paintings, prints, and works on paper across seven bodies of work, as well as ephemera that highlight Browne’s pioneering activism and influential teaching career. Browne was a founder of the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition, an organization that fought for Black representation in New York museums; a founder of SoHo20, one of the first women’s art cooperatives in Manhattan; and a professor at Rutgers University (1971–92). Browne’s signature approach to color and form challenged the neatly defined categories of abstraction and figuration, and art and politics, revealing a more nuanced approach to art-making that is part of Browne’s unique contribution to 20th-century art of the US.

This exhibition is co-organized by The Phillips Collection and the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati.

PROGRAMMING & INITIATIVES

Phillips Music 2024–25 Season

For more than 80 years, Phillips Music has presented an exceptional roster of performers in the intimate, art-filled setting of the museum’s Music Room. The 84th season’s Sunday Concerts and projects continue to advance the programmatic threads that have made Phillips Music unique, with imaginative programming of the core chamber music repertoire, and the best of new music. The 2024–25 season will be announced later this summer. Visit phillipscollection.org/musicfor more information.

Phillips@THEARC

The Phillips Collection’s workshop and gallery at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC) in Southeast DC provides a space to view, discuss, make, and exhibit art to encourage community participation and action. In the 2024–25 season, Phillips@THEARC will present work by Washington, DC-based, multidisciplinary artists including mixed media portraitist Zsudayka Nzinga (opening June 26), and participants in the 2023 CARD Fellowship (opening October 23), with more to be announced.

Phillips after 5

On the first Thursday of every month from 5 to 8:30 pm, enjoy Phillips after 5, a lively mix of art, live music, gallery talks, films, interactive activities, craft cocktails, tastings, and more. Admission: $20. Members are admitted free to Phillips after 5; no reservation required.

Third Thursday and Pay-What-You-Wish

On the third Thursday of each month, The Phillips Collection offers free extended hours from 5–8 pm for guests to explore the galleries and enjoy 15-minute Spotlight Talks from Phillips Educators focused on an artwork within the collection. The museum offers Pay-What-You-Wish admission from 4 pm–close.

 

 

Installation view of Justen Leroy: Lay Me Down in Praise exhibition at Art + Practice. September 17, 2022 – January 21, 2023. Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Joshua White. Courtesy of Art + Practice.

BMA Announces Launch of Major Environment-Focused Initiatives, Fostering Dialogue and Modeling Change in Museums
Press Release :: May 16

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced today a series of major initiatives that model commitments to environmental sustainability and foster discourse on climate change and the role of the museum. Collectively referred to as Turn Again to the Earth, a title inspired by the writing of environmental activist Rachel Carson, the interrelated efforts will unfold over the remainder of 2024 and throughout 2025. Following months of climate-driven protests at museums across the U.S. and abroad, the BMA’s environmental initiatives offer opportunities for more productive dialogues and actions within the museum context. As the museum celebrates its 110th anniversary, it is fitting that it considers its future in part through the lens of this critical subject.

Turn Again to the Earth includes an evaluation of internal BMA practices for environmental impacts and to support the creation of a sustainability plan for the museum; a series of exhibitions and public programs that capture the relationships between art and the environment across time and geography; and a citywide eco-challenge led by the BMA that invites Baltimore and regional partners to engage in environment-related conversations and enact their own plans for a more sustainable future. The National Aquarium and Maryland Zoo—both in Baltimore—have already signed on to the challenge, with more partners to be announced.

“The realities and repercussions of climate change have become part of our daily discourse and experiences. As a civic-minded institution, we hear the call from our communities to find meaningful ways to engage with this urgent topic,” said Asma Naeem, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “Turn Again to the Earth is an opportunity to move the museum from being a site of potential protest to a site of active dialogue and action. By engaging with artists and city leaders, we are working to transform the BMA into a locus for creativity and conversation, capturing the role that the museum can play in illuminating difficult issues and inspiring organizations and communities to positive change. I can think of no better way to set the museum up for another 110 years of success.” […]

 

 

During National Kidney Month, Baltimore-based abstract painter Charles Mason III authored an open letter to the community sharing his journey and seeking the aid of a live kidney donor. In addition to the kidney, he will need to fund the portion of the transplant not covered by his health insurance. (Courtesy photo/ Instagram)

Baltimore’s abstract painter Charles Mason III needs a kidney
by Reginald Williams
Published May 19 in The AFRO

Excerpt: Charles Mason III is one of approximately 101,000 American citizens – and among roughly 27,000 African-Americans – awaiting a kidney transplant.

On average, 17,000 recipients receive kidney transplants annually. Blacks, however, proportionately receive even fewer kidneys.

All the usual social determinants suspects play a critical role in African-Americans reduced opportunity to find kidney donors:

-Lack of access to care,
-Poor care coordination,
-Lack of suitable donors,
-Lack of funding, and
-Persistent medical mistrust.

 

 

A scene from Everyman Theatre's production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (Courtesy of Everyman Theatre)

Everyman Theatre refreshes Shakespeare’s ‘Midsummer’ with ’70s music, ’80s glam
by Emily M. D. Scott
Published May 19 in The Baltimore Banner

For director Noah Himmelstein, a seed was planted watching Michelle Yeoh’s 2023 Oscar speech.

The 60-year-old actress, whose win for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” made her the first Asian woman to take home the Academy Award for a leading role, spoke directly to the women in the audience: “Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime.” It was a gentle jab at an industry that slaps an expiration date on women while older men are handed starring roles. “The industry doesn’t celebrate actors as they get older or reward all that artists of a certain age can bring,” Himmelstein said.

So what happens when actors at the peak of their practice get a crack at roles usually reserved for 20-year-olds? Everyman Theatre aims to find out with a production of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” in which the four traditionally young lovers are played by actors in midlife.

“We want to feature the richness that these actors can bring that a young artist doesn’t necessarily have,” Himmelstein said of the casting for the play, which runs through June 9. “By going a generation older than the characters are written, could it be an opportunity to find new layers of comedy and pathos in the play? And could this casting be even more moving and even funnier?”

Everyman’s production revolves around the conceit that “four people [in midlife] come into a space having lost something,” he said. It’s the music that pulls them back in time, as one of the characters presses play on a boombox and the strains of Stevie Nicks begin to work magic.

Dreams, fantasy and a journey through memory are felicitous themes for a Shakespearean work in which aristocratic lovers and rough-edged laborers alike are drawn into the forest, where their paths are crisscrossed with fairies. It’s a dreamscape of risqué revelry that leads them to the edges of their boundaries and brings them through the other side, transformed.

With his seasoned actors in place, Himmelstein and his team began to play with a concept: a “Midsummer” influenced by the period of the actors’ youth — the late ’70s and early ’80s. In rehearsals, they explored the experience of the young lovers, mad with hormones and romantic fixation, by remembering their own first experiences of blistering crushes and mesmerizing devotion.

But in referencing the era, Himmelstein and the show’s costumer, David Burdick, had something much more subtle and evocative in mind than neon and leg warmers. “The idea of the ’70s and ’80s is an emotional idea,” Himmelstein said. “The freedom and the fearlessness of the younger self is the gateway into the subconscious of these actors. We are asking the audience to go on a journey of make-believe.”

The show takes cues from the New Romantics, the London club scene movement of the 1980s defined by flamboyant flourishes, glittering stage makeup and androgynous gender-bending. Adam Ant, Boy George and Culture Club and, of course, the iconic David Bowie — all “densely poetic artists,” Himmelstein said — influenced the magical world created for this iteration of the Shakespeare classic.

We don’t stay in the London clubs, though, with Burdick also leaning on Diana Ross (especially her epic 1983 Central Park concert), Chaka Khan and Fleetwood Mac for source material — artists who disrupted societal boundaries and spun magic just as “Midsummer” does.

But is it a period piece? Not at all. “It’s total fantasy,” Burdick said, drawing from mythology, the world of ancient Greece and contemporary fashion design. In “Midsummer,” Shakespeare grants us license to chase one another uninhibited through the woods, to find ourselves in the Fairy Queen’s bower, to act on urges normally hidden away. So while this “Midsummer” is infused with ’80s glam, it’s not limited by it.

We’re treated to nostalgic echoes and fragments of the era. Puck evokes that kid in a leather jacket who was always playing guitar behind the bleachers, and somehow the whole thing feels delightfully like we’re rolling in on a high school dance after the punch got spiked. “Great comedy also has that level of melancholy, of ‘what if’ and ‘what could have been,’” Himmelstein said of the way youth and memory infuse the production.

For the actors, rehearsing to Bowie and running around like adolescents could be a time warp. “The more adult we become, the more contained and controlled and measured we have to be,” said Natalya Lynette Rathnam, who plays Hermia. “But these characters experience such extreme emotions: extreme joy, extreme despair, extreme love.” And playing a teenager in midlife is also difficult on the body. “Physically, I can’t do everything I used to even five years ago. It’s great to be wild and free … but with knee pads and PT appointments,” Rathnam laughed.

“Your insecurities get provoked,” said Bruce Randolph Nelson, who plays Lysander. “You are a 58-year-old man playing a 20-year-old in a wig. You think, ‘What has your life become?’”

Despite these hazards, the production has offered these established actors a chance to explore the classic roles in new ways. “It’s a gift to revisit the character,” said Rathnam, who has played Hermia before. “You look back and wish you could play the role again with the acting experience you have now.” Now she can, and she’s noticed new things about the character this time around: “Hermia is courageous, she’s brave, and it comes from her being very sure about her opinion and view.”

Nelson, usually a comic actor, has played Bottom in the past, but said he is rarely cast as “the lover type,” which has stretched him in new ways. “I’m playing a lover, but a young lover — a 20-something — who is impetuous, not thinking things through and flying on a lot of emotional energy. It’s been fun taking this on, but it’s hard work!” he said.

While the play was written in the late 16th century, Himmelstein noted the work reflects so much of our modern world, from threats to women’s bodily autonomy (Hermia faces arranged marriage or death) to calls for eco-justice (as Titania and Oberon’s fracture disrupts the balance of nature). “Midsummer” holds out the hopeful possibility that society can be transformed, even redeemed through our own truth-awakening experiences — if we are brave enough to set out through the woods.

But most of all, Himmelstein says he wants to simply create the “most fun, accessible way into the play. The ’80s were fun with a capital F.” And really, who doesn’t want to turn back time? Even if our knees are a touch creaky, we, too, can press play on the boombox and, carried away by a hit of nostalgia from those opening chords, take another crack at young love.

Emily M. D. Scott is a the author of “For All Who Hunger: Searching for Communion in a Shattered World.” She is also a pastor, serving St. Mark’s Lutheran Church and Dreams and Visions in Baltimore.

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

 

 

Fells Point Corner Theatre Announces The 2024-2025 Season: Rebellion
Press Release :: May 17

Fells Point Corner Theatre (FPCT) is proud to announce their 2024/25 season: Rebellion, a series of powerful plays about taking action in the face of injustices, along with FPCT’s beloved community events, and our continuing Salon Series that acts as an incubator for new local work. FPCT is proud that for 37 seasons we have served our community by bringing captivating, engaging, and diverse theatre to Baltimore in the form of acclaimed premiere works, dynamic local originals, and beloved audience favorites.

Art reflects society and the difficult conversations that are brought up as we examine it. To that end, we are leaning into our continuing Salon Series and post-show talkbacks to engage our audiences in the conversations around art and the change it inspires. We hope that our discussions can help to deconstruct the complexity of these works and even help the audience move forward in addressing these difficult issues locally. “Let’s take risks and the harder road,” says Artistic Director Kimberley Lynne. “We have that history here at FPCT.” We hope our audiences will be as thrilled to experience this season of Rebellion as we are honored to present it.

2024/2025 Season: Main Stage Productions

 

Machinal by Sophie Treadwell

Directed by Deirdre McAllister

September 6 – 29, 2024

As a journalist, Sophie Treadwell covered the sensationalized case of Ruth Snyder, an American woman who murdered her husband and was publicly executed in the electric chair. This powerful expressionist drama exposes the societal and judicial oppression of women and recounts a women’s rebellion against her husband and society. Treadwell was a Mexican American social-activist, suffragette, actor, playwright and international journalist; she covered World War I as a foreign correspondent and she was the only journalist to interview revolutionary Pancho Villa. Although written one hundred years ago, this stark, magnetic play still chillingly shows how female criminality is depicted. Director Deidre McAllister is a long time FPCT member who previously helmed Love and Information in 2019 at FPCT. She’s an interdisciplinary theatre artist and educator with a passion for experimental, collaborative work. She has experience teaching and directing at the high school and collegiate level as well as directing and performing in community and professional productions. She is currently pursuing coursework to become a registered drama therapist. To dive more deeply into some of the sensitive subjects covered in this piece, FPCT will schedule talkback conversations with the creative team and local community partners after certain performances.

On the Verge or The Geography of Yearning by Eric Overmyer

Directed by Penelope Chan and Kimberley Lynne

November 8 – December 1, 2024

Heed the call to discovery! Journey with polytopians through uncharted territories! With wit and nerve, three female, intrepid, Victorian explorers bushwhack their way through the rain forest and glacier of Terra Incognita, the last undiscovered land on the globe, testing their friendship and courage as they navigate the search for a woman’s place in the world and the future. As they adventure, they word play, problem solve and travel through time, collecting artifacts from throughout the twentieth century. But their main goal is to prove their worth as women or as the character of Fanny expresses, “The civilizing mission of women is to reduce the amount of masculinity in the world.” Co-director Kimberley Lynne saw the play when it premiered at Baltimore Center Stage in 1986 and was entranced by its language and the promise of independent women as adventurers. Lynne is a playwright; over forty of her plays have been produced. She produced and directed with Spotlight UB for ten years and last directed Dead Man’s Cell Phone at FPCT in 2023. Theatrical artist Penelope Chan is also a playwright, actor, director and make-up artisan who has previously directed as part of FPCT’s 10x10x10 New Play Festival and has had her new work Honor: A Power Play presented as part of FPCT’s Salon Series.

Blood at the Root by Dominique Morisseau

Directed by Brandon Rashad Butts

February 14 – March 8, 2025

This striking ensemble drama is based on the Jena Six case; six black students were initially charged with attempted murder for a school fight after being provoked by nooses hanging from campus trees. This bold play by Dominique Morisseau (Confederates, Sunset Baby, Detroit ’67, and Skeleton Crew) examines the miscarriage of justice and racial double standards. Morisseau’s works portray communities grappling with economic and social changes, both current and historical. With a background as an actor and spoken-word poet, she uses lyrical dialogue to construct emotionally complex characters who exhibit humor, vulnerability, and fortitude as they cope with sometimes desperate circumstances. Morisseau’s characters stand up, and in the light of current campus protests, we are reminded that rebellion often begins at school. FPCT member and 10x10x10 New Play Festival Coordinator, Brandon Rashad Butts directs; he last directed The Thanksgiving Play at FPCT. Rashad Butts received a BFA in performance from Virginia Commonwealth University and served as the Artistic Director’s Internship and Producing Fellowship at Baltimore Center Stage. He is the co-founder of River City Stages, a multi-disciplinary platform for artists. His plays have received readings and productions at Baltimore Center Stage, Midtown International Theatre Festival, Manhattan Repertory Theatre and FPCT. He is currently a Directing Fellow at Manhattan Theatre Club.

Tenth Annual 10x10x10 New Play Festival

Coordinated by Brandon Rashad Butts

May 16 – June 8, 2025

Fells Point Corner Theatre is so incredibly proud to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of our 10x10x10 New Plays Festival. For a full decade, including through the pandemic, we’ve curated some outstanding evenings of 10 hilarious and compelling 10-minute plays by local area playwrights, while also assembling a stellar ensemble cast of 10 local actors to bring these pieces to life! Join us in the Spring of 2025 as we celebrate the tenth time around this thrilling and creative ride with our community of amazing playwrights, directors and performers. The submission process for playwrights interested in participating will be announced toward the end of 2024.

2024/25 Season: Community Events

The Annual Corner Carol

December 13, 2024

One of Fells Point Corner Theatre’s most celebrated and joyful community events is back for the holiday season. This eclectic collection of artistic acts has its roots in FPCT founder Bev Sokal’s dreams for our artistic community which the theatre is still nurturing today. As we ask the artists of Baltimore what the holidays mean to them, they respond with songs, readings, sketches, dance and more. We invite our audiences to join everyone for an entertaining and delightful evening of performances and be sure to stay for hot chocolate and cookies after the show!

Monologue Slam VI

January 18, 2025

FPCT kicks the new year down the stairs, out the door and onto South Ann Street for the battle that’ll rattle your saddle! The throw down that’s all about clowning around! The main event with the kind of gear that’ll strike fear into William Shakespeare! It’s the Annual Monologue Slam! Join us for year six of the rowdiest one-night only, winner-takes-all, overly- hyphenated, Monologue Slam competition! FPCT invites all comers who think they have what it takes to make our team of judges laugh, cry, or shake in their boots to step into the ring and give us the best you’ve got in the hopes of winning cold hard cash and city-wide bragging rights!

FPCT Salon Series:

Throughout the Season

FPCT Artistic Director Kimberley Lynne curates a season-long workshop series with the goal of developing and showcasing new local works. Growing out of our decades long commitment to the development of new work and support of local playwrights, The FPCT Salon Series is a nimble opportunity for vibrant and timely new pieces to see the stage, and get feedback from audiences, directors and performers. The series will take place throughout the season, with new projects announced as they are ready. Performances are free for audiences to attend.

On top of our performance offerings, FPCT’s Educational Programs operate throughout the season and offer a variety of theatre-related classes for all ages. These programs are announced on a rolling basis throughout the season as registration starts.

Additionally, FPCT believes in making our resources available to the theatre and artistic communities of Baltimore. To that end we continually open our building up for artistic and community rentals as our space is available. For more information on our rental rates and policies, visit www.fpct.org/rentals.

For tickets and additional information about these performances, please visit www.fpct.org or call (410) 878-0228.  Flex passes and group discounts are available.

Fells Point Corner Theatre is housed in an 1850 firehouse located at 251 S. Ann Street in Upper Fells Point, the result of a merger between two community theaters in the greater Fells Point area: the Fells Point Theatre, and the Corner Theatre in 1987. Fells Point Corner Theatre is a fully nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization operating under the corporate name Bristol Players for the past 37 years.

 

 

—Photography by Matt Roth

Catrece Ann Tipon Amplifies AAPI Voices in Baltimore and Beyond
by Laura Farmer
Published in Game Changers 2024 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Catrece Ann Tipon is a true Renaissance woman.

Growing up in the Severna Park area, she studied dance for 16 years, played the clarinet, and rowed crew. She currently boasts a thriving side-hustle as a talented self-taught photographer. Somehow, she still finds time to work as a nurse at University of Maryland’s R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.

Still, Tipon recalls feeling like an outsider throughout her younger years. As a second-generation Filipino American, she grew up in a majority-white community and often tried to hide her heritage by downplaying the ways she felt different.

“I was always singled out,” she recalls. “I was the brown kid. As a child of immigrants, you’re always, unfortunately, trying to just assimilate and try to be part of the majority. It wasn’t until I went to high school in [Baltimore] City and I met all these different cultures [that] all of a sudden, I realized, ‘I’m in a safe space to be who I am.’”

 

 

Muddy conditions at the Pimlico Race Course for the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes, whose attendance was down again this year. (Fern Shen)

Sparse crowds as the Preakness races toward an uncertain future
by Fern Shen
Published May 20 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: As always, there was mud.

And men clad in Easter-egg-colored suits.

And women with fascinators affixed to one side of their head. (Lt. Governor Aruna Miller confessed she lost confidence in hers when she was about to be photographed and took it off.)

And, of course, there were horses at the 149th Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, held on Saturday at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course.

But one thing was missing compared to previous years:

A big, revved-up crowd.

Preakness Saturday attendance every year from 2011 to 2019 exceeded 100,000.

In 2023, the announced number was 46,999, with a combined 65,000 attending Friday and Saturday events.

 

 

A visual arts student at Duke Ellington School of the Arts, c. 1984. The nationally recognized pre-professional arts high school was established in 1974 by arts advocate Peggy Cooper Cafritz and theater director and choreographer Mike Malone. Photo: Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Libraries

Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington DC, 1900–2000
by Phil Hutinet
Published May 13 in East City Art

Excerpt: The Anacostia Community Museum’s current exhibition, A Bold and Beautiful Vision: A Century of Black Arts Education in Washington, DC, 1900–2000, which opened on March 23, serves as a profound exploration into the rich yet often overlooked realm of Black arts education in the nation’s capital. This exhibition is more than just a celebration of artistic achievement; it is a tribute to the resilient community of artist-educators, students, and advocates who have established Washington DC, as a critical epicenter for African American artistic pedagogy.

Throughout the 20th century, Washington DC, emerged as a fertile ground for nurturing some of the most prominent African American talents in various artistic domains. The exhibition spotlights luminaries such as musicians Duke Ellington, Billy Taylor, and Madame Lillian Evanti; visual artists Alma Thomas, Elizabeth Catlett, and James A. Porter; and influential artist-educators including Sam Gilliam, Georgette Seabrooke Powell, and Loïs Mailou Jones. These figures have not only enriched the cultural fabric of the city through their artistic production but have also played pivotal roles in mentoring subsequent generations of exceptional artists.

 

 

The takeout window at Golden West Cafe on Hampden’s Avenue. (Christina Tkacik)

Golden West Cafe will stay on Hampden’s Avenue after all
by Christina Tkacik
Published May 17 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: There’s no place like home for Hampden’s Golden West Cafe.

Owner Samantha Claassen said Friday that although she was considering moving her restaurant to a nearby church, the establishment is staying put at its current location on West 36th Street after all.

Claassen first began searching for a new space as a means of keeping her business alive.

Jeremy Landsman, who Claassen said owns the building with business partner Kevin Stander, purchased the property where Golden West is located, as well as two adjoining buildings, in 2021. More recently, they raised the rent from $4,000 to around $10,000 per month. Claassen said paying the elevated price as well as an additional increase in property tax and insurance has been “incredibly difficult.”

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: Golden West Cafe will stay on Hampden’s Avenue after all

 

 

Sydney Lindman, center, cheers during 2024 undergraduate commencement exercise at the .Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.She was one of three drawing majors to graduate this year. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

Is MICA all right? Maryland art college struggles with low enrollment, downsizing.
by Dillon Mullan
Published May 17 in The Baltimore Sun

Excerpt: At the Maryland Institute College of Art’s graduation on Monday, interim President Cecilia McCormick asked the undergraduate class of 2024 to look into a mirror.

“To be an artist, you have to be true to who you are,” McCormick said.

The 200-year-old art and design school, which promotes itself online as “an institution that continually re-invented itself to meet the challenges of changing times,” has recently had its own self-reflecting to do. The challenges of the past few years’ changing times, including a pandemic-induced dip in enrollment and faculty layoffs, have hurt the college. How badly remains an open question for the school both heavily reliant on tuition dollars for revenue and vital to the broader Baltimore art scene.

“They’ve got to get their act together,” former MICA President Fred Lazarus said of the school. “You’ve got to grow yourself out of this problem.”

 

 

header image: Sheila Hicks. The Principal Wife Goes On. From SAAM's Renwick Gallery Fiber Art Revolution exhibition.

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