BmoreArt News: Walters Interim Leadership, Amy Sherald, Jaz Erenberg

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This week’s news includes: The Walters announces interim leadership, Duke Ellington’s lasting Baltimore legacy, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announces Amy Sherald exhibition, Jaz Erenberg creates a Pikesville mural,  Baltimore Brew + Baltimore Fishbowl + Baltimore Banner win journalism honors, Darin Atwater named artistic director of Monterey Jazz Festival, Baltimore bakeries, a review of ‘Cindy of Arc,’ MICA and Peabody announce commencement speakers, Joyce J. Scott featured in Artblog, Baltimore Screenwriters Competition winners announced, John Waters recovering after car accident, and the Kinetic Sculpture Race rides on — with reporting from Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Brew, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: L-R: Dr. Michelle RhodesBrown, Chief Financial Officer, and Gina Borromeo, Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs & Senior Curator of Ancient Art (via The Walters Art Museum)

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The Walters Art Museum Appoints Members of Senior Leadership Team as Interim Co-Directors
Press Release :: May 8

The Board of Trustees of the Walters Art Museum announced today that Dr. Gina Borromeo, Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs & Senior Curator of Ancient Art, and Michelle RhodesBrown, Chief Financial Officer, will together lead the museum during the transitional period following the departure of Julia Marciari-Alexander, Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director, in September. The museum announced on April 3, 2024 that Marciari-Alexander was appointed the President of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation in New York.

“Through their combined seven years on the Leadership Team at the Walters, Gina and Michelle have both proven their dedication to the continued success of the museum through their execution of its strategic plan, DEAI initiatives, and collections management,” said Peter L. Bain, President of the Walters Board of Trustees. “I am confident in their ability to lead the museum during this transitional period as we search for the next Executive Director of the Walters Art Museum.”

Michelle RhodesBrown, Chief Financial Officer, and Dr. Gina Borromeo, Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs and Senior Curator of Ancient Art

RhodesBrown joined the Walters in 2019 and has shepherded initiatives with museum-wide impact, including the creation of the compensation strategy implemented in 2023 that provided full and part time employees an average salary increase of 13% across the institution and a new starting base wage of $17 for all hourly employees. RhodesBrown also aided in guiding the museum through the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the museum to retain all staff and avoid furloughs and layoffs.

Borromeo joined the Walters in 2022 after 27 years at the Rhode Island School of Design, where, since 2020, she served as Chief Curator and Curator of Ancient Art. At the Walters, Borromeo has been instrumental in overseeing the museum’s important curatorial, conservation, technical research, and collections departments, bringing with her an expertise in provenance research and ancient art.

The Walters Search Committee will be chaired by Trustee Sheila Vidmar, with trustees Peter L. Bain, Laura Banes, Andre Davis, Guy E. Flynn, Harry Gruner, and Alex Nuñez also serving. The committee has retained Russell Reynolds Associates, a leading executive search firm, to aid in finding a successor to Marciari-Alexander.

“The Walters has accomplished so much in its 90 years, but the work to be done for the museum’s diverse and engaged community continues to expand and evolve,” said Sheila Vidmar, Trustee and Chair of the Search Committee. “The museum has been fortunate to have a wealth of accomplished leaders over its many years serving Baltimore, and we will be endeavoring to find in our next executive director someone who can continue to move forward this great organization into the next 90 years with enthusiasm and vision.”

Michelle RhodesBrown joined the Walters Art Museum in 2019. Prior to her appointment as the National Finance Chair at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Michelle led strategic revisions to the budgeting and event registration processes that enhanced operational efficiency and financial viability. She has held roles as a Senior Investment Analyst at Biegel Waller Investment Advisory Services, Investor Relations Manager at lntegra LifeSciences, and ascending roles at Profit Investment Management. In each of these organizations, she honed her expertise in investment analysis, investor relations, and portfolio management. In addition, RhodesBrown serves on a number of boards, including the CareFirst of Maryland. Inc, Maryland State Retirement & Pension Board, and the Pension Oversight Commission in Howard County, MD.

Dr. Gina Borromeo joined the Walters Art Museum in 2022. Previously, she was at the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where since 2003 she served as Curator of Ancient Art and then as Chief Curator and Curator of Ancient Art, managing and interpreting its Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman collections. During her tenure at RISD, she planned and directed the reinstallation of the Greek and Roman galleries and the Egyptian galleries, and curated the exhibitions Rethinking the Romans: New Views of Ancient Sculpture, Dig the Museum, and Made for Eternity, and co-curated the interdepartmental exhibition entitled Being and Believing in the Natural World. Borromeo has served on the Museums and Exhibitions Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America and on the Council of the Association of Art Museum Curators. She has also served on the Boards of the Humanities Forum of Rhode Island, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, and the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, the latter two at Brown University.

See also:
Walters Art Museum names two interim co-directors to replace departing Director Julia Marciari-Alexander
by Ed Gunts
Published May 8 in Baltimore Fishbowl



Duke Ellington, shown here with longtime collaborator Billy Strayhorn, performed for the Left Bank Jazz Society in the 1970s. (Courtesy of the New York Public Library)

Commentary: Duke Ellington’s lasting impressions on Baltimore
by Mark Allan Williams
Published May 8 in The Baltimore Banner

Greatest American composer. I like typing that on social media whenever I post about a Duke Ellington song. It could be Ellington and his orchestra playing “Mood Indigo.” It might be one of his compositions for the film “Paris Blues.” When it’s Ella Fitzgerald singing the Ellington song “I Like the Sunrise,” I type two phrases: Greatest American composer. Greatest American singer.

Ellington’s prolific work as a composer and arranger spans jazz for orchestra and small groups, music for the stage, film scores, music for dance performances and sacred music. He was masterful on stage, whether playing the piano or conducting the most distinguished jazz musicians.

The power and variety of his talent has been a constant source of fascination for me. I frequently wondered about from what came his artistic drive and inspiration. At the same time, no one demonstrated better than Ellington that the work of great artists defies categorization and explanation.

So many memories were built on Ellington’s music. My mother recalled dancing with my father to Ellington’s music during a performance at Fort Meade, where my father was stationed and my parents met.

With all that he accomplished, Ellington’s public persona always reflected grace and even a certain modesty. He spoke matter-of-factly about his work and left it to others to analyze. He would describe his composing and playing as a form of “dreaming.” He never appeared to worry about, and certainly never appeared to be afraid of, the world around him.

When Ellington brought his orchestra to Baltimore in 1960 for a concert at the Johns Hopkins University’s Shriver Hall, America was confronting demands to desegregate. That appearance became part of Ellington’s social and cultural legacy. It’s a legacy now being examined alongside his unequaled musical contribution as the 125th anniversary of Ellington’s birth and 50th anniversary of his passing are commemorated this spring.

The Rev. Chester Wickwire, chaplain at the university since the mid-1950s, had worked to arrange the Shriver Hall concert. Wickwire saw having one of the most famous and accomplished Black Americans at Hopkins as a means of bringing Black and white people together on the Homewood Campus at a time when it was rare.

The Ellington concert in 1960 also became notable for what happened after the performance.

Wickwire and a group of students invited Ellington to have a cup a coffee with them at the Blue Jay Inn on St. Paul Street, known to deny service to Black people.

Ellington agreed to come and have his photo taken once he sat down for coffee.

But when word reached the restaurant about the plan, the Blue Jay Inn closed early. But after that night The Blue Jay Inn would never deny service to another Black customer.

“The place burned down, burned that night,” Wickwire recalled in a 1999 personal history. “Now, I never knew — I don’t know anything about who did the burning or anything like that. The police came out. But I don’t know. To this day, I have no idea whether it was connected with this. I would think it probably was.”

Ellington saw his work as a powerful force in standing up for Black people. At a time when Black Americans were often portrayed in entertainment as unintelligent, uncivilized and inferior, Ellington demonstrated the beauty and complexity of Black culture and artistic expression to the world.

“What we could not say openly, we expressed in music,” Ellington wrote in the British magazine Rhythm in 1931.

I view him as I view August Wilson or Langston Hughes or Jacob Lawrence or Gordon Parks. All were translators of African American life, helping everyone, including other African Americans, understand the beauty of it. While the others did that with words or a paintbrush or a camera, Ellington did it with notes and a piano and a lot of brilliant collaborators. Ellington never ignored what were often the harsh realities of what Black people in America faced. But he made sure the world knew that the struggles weren’t the entire story. The joys and the triumphs made it into his translation.

His longer compositions had titles like “Creole Rhapsody” and “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue.” Then there were “Black and Tan Fantasy” and “Black, Brown and Beige.” They were his expression of the world he saw around him.

For most of his career, Ellington’s artistic and commercial achievements occurred amid the realities and trappings of the Jim Crow era. All the years he performed at the Cotton Club in Harlem, the backdrop was a plantation fantasy and admissions was whites-only. The bandstand at the most famous nightclub in New York was done up as a white-columned mansion, the backdrop painted with cotton bushes and slave quarters.

As Ellington and his orchestra traveled all over the U.S., in the North as well as the South, they spent decades performing in venues segregated by law or custom. Despite navigating all that, Ellington became a favorite of both Black and white audiences.

Musicians and others who were on Yale University’s campus one day in 1972 were left with an indelible memory when the university hosted a gathering of leading Black jazz musiciansto raise money for a department of African American music.

Eubie Blake, Noble Sissle, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Mary Lou Williams and Willie (the Lion) Smith were there, among others. During a performance by a Gillespie-led sextet, a bomb threat was received. The police attempted to clear the building, but Mingus refused to leave, while urging the officers to get all the others out.

“If I’m going to die, I’m ready,” Mingus said. “But I’m going out playing ‘Sophisticated Lady.’ ”

As the sound of Mingus playing one of Ellington’s signature songs could be heard outside, Ellington stood in the waiting crowd just beyond the theatre’s open doors, smiling.

Mark Williams is The Baltimore Banner’s Opinion Editor.

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The Baltimore Banner welcomes opinion pieces and letters to the editor. Please send submissions to [email protected] or [email protected].

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



Amy Sherald. For Love and Country.

SFMOMA Announces World Premiere of Amy Sherald: American Sublime
Press Release :: April 2

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announced Amy Sherald: American Sublime, the global debut of the artist’s first mid-career survey. The largest and most comprehensive presentation of Sherald’s work to date, American Sublime will bring together over 50 paintings made from 2007 to the present—from her poetic early portraits to the incisive, moving figure paintings for which she is best known. Iconic portraits of Michelle Obama and Breonna Taylor—arguably the most recognizable and impactful paintings made in the U.S. in the last 50 years—will be joined by early works never or rarely seen by the public and new works created specifically for the exhibition, on view for the first time. Another highlight of the exhibition is For Love, and for Country (2022), a landmark painting recently acquired by SFMOMA for its permanent collection.

Organized by SFMOMA and curated by Sarah Roberts, SFMOMA’s Andrew W. Mellon Curator and Head of Painting and Sculpture, Amy Sherald: American Sublime will premiere in San Francisco on November 16, 2024, and will be on view through March 9, 2025, before traveling to the Whitney Museum of American Art from April 9 to August 3, 2025.

The exhibition will consider the important impact of Sherald’s work on contemporary art and on American culture, as she addresses the omission of Black figures from the history of figure painting. She has described her paintings as offering a resting place, an opportunity to see Black figures not in contention, not racialized or politicized, but simply being. The resulting body of work is a deeply resonant ode to everyday people and a convincing testament that, as Sherald believes, images can change the world.

“Amy Sherald is one of the most important artists working today and we are honored to present her first mid-career survey at SFMOMA,” said Christopher Bedford, Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA. “Sherald’s vision deeply resonates with the museum’s goals to share and to champion a more expansive art history in our galleries. Her unique and exquisite renderings of her subjects encourage close looking, curiosity, and awe. We greatly look forward to sharing this important exhibition with our community.”

“By creating images of Black men, women and children at ease, with few markers of place, time or context beyond the clothes they wear, Sherald has invented an entirely new form of figurative painting. Her approach goes beyond portraiture to enact new conditions for seeing, feeling, and understanding shared humanity,” said Roberts. “In the spirit of great American artists like Edward Hopper, Alice Neel and Kerry James Marshall, Sherald’s works reframe our understanding of American culture. Her paintings invite viewers to recognize and move beyond preconceived ideas and engage in more expansive thinking about race, representation and the wide-open possibilities and complexities of every individual.”

American Sublime and the accompanying publication will consider for the first time Sherald’s work within the context of American realist and figurative painting. Gallery texts and catalogue essays will elucidate Sherald’s unique artistic process—inviting individuals she meets or sees on the street to be photographed, then transforming the photos into imaginative figure paintings that act as more than representative portraits. The exhibition also will illuminate how she selects garments and positions her subjects to further the objective of each work as well as her choice to render faces and skin in shades of gray—the centuries’ old painting technique which dates back to the early Renaissance—to highlight race as a construct. The exhibition is the first to explore Sherald’s references to historical precedents in visual art, which range from W.E.B. Dubois’s photographs of African Americans made for the Paris Exposition of 1900, to the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich, to Alfred Eisenstadt’s famous image of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square in 1945.



Muralist Jaz Erenberg stands in the doorway of her Upper Fells home, where she has been painting a colorful, tropical plant mural this summer. Photo courtesy of Jaz Erenberg.

Muralist Jaz Erenberg is bringing a burst of color to Pikesville
by Ed Gunts
Published May 8 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Baltimore-based muralist Jaz Erenberg is bringing her talents to Baltimore County.

Erenberg, an Afro-Latina artist known for enlivening communities with her colorful public art, started work this week on the Pikesville Community Mural, the first publicly-funded and juried mural in that area.

“The mural is themed around Pikesville’s natural beauty and history and is titled Echoes of Resilience,” the artist said in an email message. She’s painting it alongside her husband, Doron Erenberg, on the side of a commercial building at 1220 Reisterstown Road, across the street from the Pikesville public library and the Maryland State Police headquarters in the heart of Pikesville.



Above: Jennifer Bishop’s award-winning photo of Setty McConville in her tulle-adorned costume at a dress rehearsal by Baltimore’s Fluid Movement.

Baltimore Brew wins News Organization of the Year and other honors
by Baltimore Brew Editors
Published May 6 in Baltimore Brew

Excerpt: Recognized for work reflecting its focus on accountability reporting as well as feature writing and photography, Baltimore Brew was honored as “News Organization of the Year” in its division by the Maryland-Delaware-DC (MDDC) Press Association.

The Brew took home three “Best of Show” awards and 21 others for reporting and photography in 2023.

Earning top honors in land use reporting, commentary and state government coverage, The Brew’s two-person newsroom was judged against submissions by the region’s major print and online news media, including The Baltimore Sun, The Baltimore Banner, Capital Gazette, (Delaware) News Journal, Baltimore Business Journal and other organizations.

MDDC members met in Annapolis on Friday to highlight “news with integrity and excellence in journalism” by recognizing the winners of the contest, which celebrates print and online work.

See also::

Baltimore Fishbowl wins 24 MDDC awards, including 4 Best of Show honors, Salesperson of the Year
by Marcus Dieterle
Published May 3 in Baltimore Fishbowl

The Baltimore Banner wins News Organization of the Year, other top honors
by Zuri Berry
Published May 3 in The Baltimore Banner



Composer and conductor Darin Atwater, left, who will serve as the first African-American artistic director of the Monterey Jazz Festival this year, was awarded the Key to the City by Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on May 1. (Photo by: J.J. McQueen)

Darin Atwater makes history as 1st Black artistic director of the Monterey Jazz Festival
by Special to AFRO
Published May 6 in The AFRO

Excerpt: In a momentous event hosted at the World Trade Center in Baltimore on May 1, distinguished guests from both the East and West Coasts gathered to celebrate the remarkable career and groundbreaking achievements of Darin Atwater, the newly appointed artistic director of the Monterey Jazz Festival. The tribute and award presentation, which included the conferral of the Key to Baltimore City, marked a historic milestone in Atwater’s journey as a musical pioneer and cultural ambassador.

The Monterey Jazz Festival, founded in 1958 by Jimmy Lyons, has a rich history as one of the world’s premier jazz festivals. Originating on the grounds of the Monterey County Fair, the festival quickly gained renown for its lineup of jazz luminaries and its commitment to artistic excellence. Over the years, it has served as a launching pad for legendary performers such as Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock. Its storied stages have witnessed historic performances and collaborations, cementing its reputation as a cultural institution dedicated to the celebration and preservation of jazz music.



Ovenbird's new East Baltimore space, which is 10 times larger than its Little Italy flagship. —Photography by Scott Suchman

Baltimore Has Become a Boomtown for Bakeries
by Jane Marion
Published May 2 in Baltimore Magazine

Excerpt: Hard to say whether it’s the aftermath of the pandemic or just Baltimore’s need to carbo-load, but lately Baltimore is a boomtown for bakeries.

From Fells Point to Hamilton, local bakeries are relocating to bigger spaces or opening second or even third spots to sate sweet tooths and bread cravings.

Maillard Pastries recently opened a second location in Hamilton, Sacré Sucré moved to a larger space in historic Fells Point, and Roggenart Bakery debuted a fifth location in Mt. Vernon. And then there’s Ovenbird Bakery, which went from a tiny spot in Little Italy to debuting a space in East Baltimore that’s 10 times larger than the original.

“When we opened in 2020, we were more of a community neighborhood bakery, but the concept keeps being re-imagined as we try to keep up with the enthusiasm from customers,” says Keiller Kyle, Ovenbird’s owner. “We’ve created a hub of baking and retail that’s now more of a café.”



Photo: Joe Morris

Theater Review: Cindy of Arc in Baltimore
by Marion Wink
Published May 3 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Do you feel overwhelmed at the never-ending surge of right-wing thinking around us? Are you perplexed about the rollback of reproductive rights and women’s rights in general? Do you have complicated memories relating to the musical Man of La Mancha? Are you Jewish, Jewish adjacent, or even just sort of Jew-positive? Do you need a good laugh? If you check any one of these boxes, and I check them all, let me tell you about the fun and inspiring show I saw last night at Baltimore’s Theater Project, accompanied by my support dachshund Wally and my trans friend and student Aryana.

Singer/songwriter/comic/writer Cynthia Kaplan calls “Cindy of Arc” a “c’ock show,” short for comedy rock show, and both she and the audience get great pleasure every time she repeats the phrase. Like many great comics of yesteryear (Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor come to mind), Kaplan does good things with bad words. From “Who Do I have to Fuck” to “Merry Fucking Christmas to You,” this cabaret-style revue will make you laugh. And think.



Jaune Quick-to-See Smith & Robert McCurdy

MICA Announces Honorary Degree Recipients for 2024 Commencement Ceremony
Press Release :: May 6

Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)  is pleased to announce the 2024 honorary degree recipients, who will speak during the Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Ceremonies on Monday, May 13.

The 2024 honorary recipients include:

Undergraduate Commencement

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, a cultural arts worker who employs humor and satire to examine myths about American Indian life. Her work as an artist, curator, lecturer, printmaker, professor, and mentor has accrued multiple honors, awards, and fellowships throughout the past 40 years, and has shown in over 700 exhibitions worldwide.

Graduate Commencement

Robert McCurdy ‘74 (General Fine Arts BFA), a painter whose work emphasizes the viewer’s gaze over the sitter’s setting and story. McCurdy was commissioned to paint the official White House portrait of President Barack Obama and has also painted the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, and Muhammad Ali, among others.<

Both Commencement ceremonies will take place on Monday, May 13, at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall next to MICA, and will be streamed live on the College’s Commencement site. The Graduate Commencement starts at 10 a.m. and the Undergraduate Commencement starts at 3 p.m.

All the honorary degree recipients will address the Class of 2024 with short remarks at the respective ceremonies. For more information about this year’s speakers, visit MICA’s Commencement site.

Commencement will mark the end of MICA’s annual ArtWalk event – Baltimore’s largest public display of visual art – which begins on Friday, May 10 and includes the ArtWalk Commencement Exhibition. The ArtWalk Opening will take place from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. that evening.

Please note: MICA commencement is not open to the public, but special accommodations can be made for the media.

About Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith calls herself a cultural arts worker. She uses humor and satire to examine myths, stereotypes, and the paradox of American Indian life in contrast to the consumerism of American society. Her work is philosophically centered by her strong traditional beliefs and political activism. Smith is internationally known as an artist, curator, lecturer, printmaker, free-lance professor, and mentor for she believes that Giving Back is a life philosophy. She was born at St. Ignatius Mission, raised by her father who was an illiterate horse trader, and she had her social security card at age eight when she started work. She earned a bachelor’s degree in art education from Framingham State, MA (now University) and an MA at the University of New Mexico.

Smith has organized and curated Native exhibitions for over forty years and has shown in over one hundred twenty-five solo and over six hundred fifty group exhibitions. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Brooklyn Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, Quito Ecuador; the Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Whitney Museum NY, among others. She also holds numerous honors, awards, and fellowships.

About Robert McCurdy

Robert McCurdy’s skillfully executed paintings focus the viewer’s traditional response to the image of a human being: the coda of his paintings is the gaze, not the sitter’s setting and story, compelling and recognizable though that story may be. His methodology includes taking hundreds of photos in an effort to arrive at the one that will best yield what he is striving to achieve: a moment suspended, when the viewer catches the gaze of the rendered image – and holds it, without the veil of distracting thought or judgment. He was commissioned to paint the official White House portrait of President Barack Obama, and among others who have stood for McCurdy are the Dalai Llama, Nelson Mandela, Jane Goodall, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison, Neil Armstrong, Muhammad Ali and Warren Buffett, among others.

McCurdy has been exhibiting his photography and paintings for the past forty years. Select showings and collections include the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Frye Museum, Seattle; Le Tresors des Arts, Gstaad, Switzerland; Nancy Solomon Gallery, Atlanta; Venetia Kapernikas Gallery, New York, among others. McCurdy attained his BFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art and received an Arts Fellowship from Yale University.

See also:

Stevie Wonder, Misty Copeland to speak at Peabody graduations
by Lillian Reed
Published May 5 in The Baltimore Banner



Joyce J. Scott, I Call Her Name, 2023 Plastic and Glass beads, yarn, knotted fabric, and ribbon. Beadwork and crochet assistance by Paul Daniel, Espi Frazier, Pamela Li, Amy Eva Raehse, Randi Reiss-McCormack, and Teresa Sullivan. Collection of Joyce J Scott, courtesy of Goya Contemporary Gallery, Baltimore. Photo by Susan Isaacs

Joyce Scott, self-confessed ‘visual artist and a trickster,’ shows dark beauty at the Baltimore Museum of Art
by Susan Isaacs
Published April 29 in Artblog

Excerpt: Joyce J. Scott is a force of nature. Her fifty-year retrospective exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art is an immersive experience that, if possible, should be viewed more than once. It was just chosen by Artnet as one of the must-see U.S. exhibitions this Spring. It will be traveling next to their partner on this project, the Seattle Art Museum. The exhibition includes large, newly made works as well as those representing the major themes that have informed Scott’s long career—social and political justice, racism, and cultural diversity. She does not shy away from difficult topics like lynching and gun violence.

Scott is a multi-talented artist who not only creates sculptures, clothing, and jewelry with fiber, textiles, glass, and beads, but who also has a long history of performance. She is a printmaker too and the work on view at her gallery includes a retrospective of her prints. The BMA exhibition is accompanied by a rich catalog with extensive interviews with the artist as well as essays with and by both established scholars, such as Leslie King Hammond, Valerie Cassel Oliver, Tiffany E. Barber and Lowery Stokes Sims, and artists who consider Scott a mentor and inspiration like the 2024 Venice Biennale artist Jeffrey Gibson and multidisciplinary artist Sonya Clark whose work is currently on view at the Museum of Art and Design.



Photo from City House Baltimore's Instagram page.

BOPA and the Baltimore Film Office Announce the Winners of the 2024 Baltimore Screenwriters Competition at the Maryland Film Festival
Press Release :: May 4

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) proudly announced the winners of the
Baltimore Screenwriters Competition this morning at MICA’s Fred Lazarus IV Center. This annual contest — now in its 19th year — is a project of the Baltimore Film Office in conjunction with film programs at Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University. Prizes are awarded in both the feature and shorts categories to the top three scripts that are set or able to be filmed in Baltimore.

This year’s winners are:


First Place — L.T. Woody, “A Better Chance”
When Larry Woody, who is Black, earns a scholarship to a primarily white boarding school in New Hampshire he suddenly finds himself pulled between his old life in Baltimore and his new life at St. Paul’s.

Second Place — Lee Connah, “Car BnB”
A college professor finds herself homeless and starts living in a car with three “roommates.”

Third Place — Peter Kimball, “Champion”
A failed Olympic wrestler finds his whole life has fallen apart — but now might just have the chance to turn things around when he goes back to his hometown for his sleazeball brother’s shotgun wedding.


First Place — Harrison Demchick, “Shipping & Handling”
A boy who has recently lost his father begins communicating with him through novelty toys ordered from old comic books.

Second Place — Felix Abeson, “Orchestra”
Trapped in a cycle of presence and idealization, two lovers grapple with the challenges of connection and individual aspirations.

Third Place — Evan Balkan, “An Incredibly Stupid Idea (That Just Might Work)”
Roger and Kenneth are about to be evicted from their Penn North apartment, but their jobs at the Baltimore Museum of Art present a possible opportunity. Will their scheme to steal a rare painting be the solution they need?

This year’s competition received 62 scripts. In the first round of judging, scripts were read by students from the Johns Hopkins and Morgan State University writing and film programs. Scripts moved through a second round of readers and in the final round of judging, the winners were selected by industry professionals Nina K. Noble, freelance producer and producing partner of David Simon’s Blown Deadline Productions; Ken LaZebink, a film and television writer who is also Director of Long Island University’s MFA in Writing and Producing for Television; Annette Porter, who is a producer at Nylon Films, Co-Director
of the JHU MICA Film Centre, as well as the Director of the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at Johns Hopkins University; and Dale Beran, a Baltimore-based writer, journalist, and artist who teaches screenwriting and animation at Morgan State University.

Debbie Dorsey, Director of the Baltimore Film Office, extends her congratulations to this year’s winning screenwriters and encourages more writers to submit next year.

“Congratulations to our winners this year — we are looking forward to reading more work from each of you. I also want to thank all who submitted. It was a year for great scripts; we encourage everyone to keep telling their stories!”


L.T. (Larry) Woody grew up in Baltimore’s Harlem Park neighborhood and attended Baltimore City Public Schools. At 13, Woody received an academic scholarship to attend the prestigious St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. He received a BS from Temple University and is a long-time member of SAG/AFTRA. “A Better Chance” is the cinematic adaptation of Woody’s brutally honest memoir, “In Black and White.”

Lee Connah is a carpenter living in Woodberry, Baltimore with a black cat named Bodhi. Connah’s approach to storytelling has been shaped by 25 years of songwriting and, more recently, crankie making, music videos, and podcasting. “Car BnB” was originally conceived as a short web series featuring a cast of friends to be shot in and around Connah’s Subaru on the streets of Baltimore.

Peter Kimball is an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker. He has directed short films that have played at festivals like Slamdance, Vancouver, Calgary, DC Shorts, LA Shorts, and dozens more around the world. In 2022, Kimball’s film “My Brother is Deaf” premiered at Slamdance and won Best Short Documentary at the DC Independent Film Festival. He also wrote and directed the groundbreaking 2022 film “Millstone” — based on his own award-winning play — featuring an all-deaf cast and entirely in American Sign Language.

Harrison Demchick is an editor who’s worked on 80+ published books. He also wrote the novel “The Listeners” (Bancroft Press, 2012) and several short stories including “Magicland” (2019), “Tailgating” (2020), “The Yesterday House” (2020), “Sophie Anne” (2022), “Overtime” (2023), “Beneath the Ice” (2023), and “Rent Control” (2024). His first film, “Ape Canyon,” won Best Feature at the 2020 Adrian International Film Festival and launched to streaming services in Spring 2021. His short “The Farmhouse” won Best Horror at Austin After Dark 2023.
Felix B. Abeson is a narrative filmmaker, documentarian, and artist from Randallstown, Maryland. He gained his foundation in film at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where he explored animation and sound. After MICA, Abeson worked as a video editor in commercial media while directing and editing personal films, music videos, and collaborations with other artists and filmmakers. He currently works as a photojournalist in Baltimore.

Evan Balkan is the author of three novels, including the PEN/Faulkner-nominated “Independence,” eight books of nonfiction, and many essays and short stories. His screenplays have won multiple fellowships and awards. Balkan coordinates the creative writing program at the Community College of Baltimore County, where he was the inaugural recipient of the Mark McColloch Endowed Teaching Chair. He is currently writing the biopic “I’m Possible,” about tubist Richard White, the first African American to earn a doctorate in tuba instruction.

See also:

BOPA announces winners of Baltimore Screenwriters Competition
by Aliza Worthington
Published May 6 in Baltimore Fishbowl



Baltimore filmmaker John Waters. (Greg Gorman)

John Waters released from hospital after car accident
by Taji Burris
Published May 7 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Baltimore filmmaker John Waters was released from the hospital Tuesday morning following a car accident on Monday.

The 78-year-old released a statement saying that although he was hurt in the Baltimore County crash, he did not sustain major injuries.

“Since it hurts when I laugh I will have no witty answer about being in a car accident that no one has said was my fault,” he said. “Hope you understand. I’m released from the hospital and all is ok.”

Waters did not reveal any specifics about the car crash.

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: John Waters released from hospital after car accident



Eric Schattschneider poses for a portrait with his flamingo helmet. (Kaitlin Newman/The Baltimore Banner)

Amid rain fit only for ducks, absurdities roll in the Kinetic Sculpture Race
by Kaitlin Newman
Published May 4 in The Baltimore Banner

A group of cyclists with duck accessories was ready for the rainy weather Saturday.

The Soda Quackers returned for their 10th Kinetic Sculpture Race, bearing gifts of resin medal bribes for the judges. The beloved annual festival beckons racers — or pilots, as they are called — to display their human-powered sculptures on a 15-mile course that winds through Baltimore, up steep hills, through mud and sand, and into the water.

The race, put on by the American Visionary Art Museum, isn’t supposed to be taken seriously; the fastest don’t get first prize, and bribes are the norm. Heavy rain only added to the absurdity of the day featuring a giant pink poodle named FiFi, oversize pink flamingos and, of course, the Soda Quackers.

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: Amid rain fit only for ducks, absurdities roll in the Kinetic Sculpture Race

See also:

After 25 years, the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Baltimore is as weird and wonderful as ever
by Kaitlin Newman
Published May 3 in The Baltimore Banner



header image: Dr. Michelle RhodesBrown, CFO, and Gina Borromeo, Senior Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs at The Walters

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