BmoreArt News: 10 DC Exhibitions, James Beard Awards, Miss Maryland

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This week’s news includes:  D. Watkins awarded James Beard Media Award, AFRO profiles Rachel D. Graham, 10 DC exhibitions to see, Bailey Anne Kennedy becomes first trans woman to win Miss Maryland, Easton Chef Harley Peet wins a James Beard award, Sheila E. and the Original Wailers headline Artscape, B&O Railroad Museum courts visitors, Shaun Champion is the featured artist for Voyages 5 at the Aquarium, three solo shows at McLean Project for the Arts, HFStival returns, and the Arts & Drafts festival is back — with reporting from Baltimore Magazine, Baltimore Fishbowl, Baltimore Brew, and other local and independent news sources.

Header Image: Rosemarie Trockel, “My Dear Colleagues” (1986), plastic and wool; image courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC) via Hyperallergic

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Susan L. Iverson, "Ancient Burial IV—Night" (1989), wool on linen warp, 72 x 90 inches, (courtesy the Smithsonian American Art Museum)

10 Exhibitions to Visit in Washington, DC, This Summer
by Murat Cem Mengüç
Published June 10 in Hyperallergic

Excerpt: A gallery owner from Washington, DC, recently told me that 2024 wouldn’t be a good year for sales. “For one thing, it’s an election year, which is never good,” they pointed out. “Then, we may have Trump back on the ballot, which will unsettle the locals. I think most buyers will sit out the market this year, at least until November.”

Their comments reminded me of a prediction I made, which I stand by: Another Trump presidency would be disastrous for politics, but terrific for the arts. There’s nothing like the creative output of an outraged art community. Indeed, this women-dominated round-up speaks volumes about what is at stake in the coming year.

Money may sit out the market, but you won’t want to miss these shows, from the fiercely political textile art at the National Gallery of Art to a group show of SWANA photographers at the Middle East Institute and the anti-war engravings of 17th-century French artist Antoinette Bouzonnet-Stella.

But don’t just dwell in the anticipation of a sure-to-be climactic fall season — take a breather this summer. Lose yourself in the queer utopias mapped out by five artists at Transformer gallery, or imagine yourself as part of the bohemian atmosphere of 20th-century Paris, like the artists on view in Brilliant Exiles at the National Portrait Gallery.



D. Watkins' award-winning Salon piece shared how his late cousin helped him navigate Baltimore's restaurant scene sober. (D. Watkins)

Baltimore Native, Internationally Recognized Writer D. Watkins Wins Prestigious 2024 James Beard Media Award
Press Release :: June 11

On Saturday, June 8, 2024, The James Beard Foundation® awarded Baltimore native and New York Times Bestselling author D. Watkins the 2024 James Beard Media Award in the Beverage category for his essay published in Salon, “Navigating the New Sober Boom: Where a Person’s Sobriety is as Unique as Their Fingerprint.”

This award is his third distinction announced in the past three months. In April, he received the 2023 Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence from Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication. He was also named the recipient of the 2024 Gordon Parks Foundation’s Genevieve Young Fellowship in Writing in May.

This notable accomplishment is a prestigious honor uniquely bestowed upon outstanding talent for their achievements in the culinary arts, hospitality, media, and the broader food system. The James Beard Award was established in 1990 and consists of several recognition programs, including the media awards—featuring book, broadcast media, and journalism categories—, restaurant and chef awards, and three achievement awards—Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, and Leadership.

Watkins received a journalism award in the beverage category for his article published in Salon, one of the oldest online outlets and among the first entirely digital major media sources.

The James Beard Journalism Awards honor works in English that cover food or drink-related content. The beverage category recognizes a unique style, comprehensive knowledge, straightforward prose, and an innovative approach in a single article about alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.

See also:

Baltimore writer D. Watkins wins a James Beard Media Award
by John-John Williams IV
Published June 9 in The Baltimore Banner



Bailey Anne Kennedy smiles with tears in her eyes as she holds a bouquet and wears a tiara and Miss Maryland 2024 sash. The previous year's winner adjusts her sash and other beauty pageant contestants smile and applaud behind her. (Anthony M. Gomes/Miss Maryland USA)

Trans woman wins Miss Maryland USA, making history with a list of pageant firsts
by John-John Williams IV
Published June 7 in The Baltimore Banner

She’s 31. She’s married to a military officer. She’s Asian-American. And she’s a trans woman.

When Bailey Anne Kennedy was crowned on Saturday as Miss Maryland USA, she broke almost every barrier that existed in the state’s pageant history. And she did it with her first pageant.

Now she will go on to make additional history as she vies to become the oldest and first trans Miss USA when she competes in Los Angeles on Aug. 4. Previously women over the age of 28 were not allowed to compete in the pageant. Trans women have been allowed to compete for the past decade.

Neither Kennedy nor Miss Maryland USA organizers could immediately be reached for comment.

In a recent interview with DC News Now, Kennedy, who is Cambodian American and lives in Montgomery County, said she hopes her win will encourage LGBTQ+ kids to “be themselves.”

She also said that she felt supported by the “sisterhood” of women competing with her in the pageant.

She added: “I felt confident in my own skin at 31,” she said.

Kennedy said she hopes her win will “open up some doors, open up some hearts” in how people view the LGBT community.

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



Sheila E. (right) and The Original Wailers (left) will be among the headliners of Baltimore's Artscape festival this August. (Courtesy photos)

Sheila E. and The Original Wailers among headliners for Artscape 2024
by Ed Gunts
Published June 7 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: “Queen of Percussion” Sheila E. and The Original Wailers are two of the headliners for Baltimore’s Artscape festival, scheduled for August 2 to 4, 2024.

This will be the 40th edition of the free arts festival, produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) in collaboration with the City of Baltimore.

The event has drawn upwards of 350,000 people over a three-day weekend in the past. It began in 1982 but missed three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also:

Sheila E. to headline 40th anniversary of Artscape after tumultuous period for nonprofit
by Hallie Miller
Published June 7 in The Baltimore Banner



Rachel D. Graham is now leader of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA). Graham assumed the position after the cultural organization experienced a tumultuous year with scheduling difficulties and canceled events. (Photo credit: Elijah Davis/Elijah Camera Art @ElijahCameraArt)

The road ahead: An AFRO inside look at BOPA’s new CEO, Rachel D. Graham
by Megan Sayles
Published June 10 in The AFRO

Excerpt: The Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) tapped Rachel D. Graham to become its next permanent CEO in February. The move came after a challenging year for the quasi-governmental agency.

Prior to BOPA, Graham served as the external relations director for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture. In her new role, she hopes to reorient the organization as a trusted advocate for the Baltimore arts community.

“If you build a robust arts community, that in turn can play a huge role in the city taking its rightful place as an arts and culture mecca,” said Graham. “People have a tendency to forget how much this city has given in the way of arts and culture. Working with our partners in the city, I look forward to us being able to play a role in pushing the city forward and telling the story of Baltimore.”



Harley Peet won the James Beard award in the best chef: mid-Atlantic category. (simone rathle/Courtesy of Simone Rathle)

Baltimore’s Clavel misses out, but Easton chef Harley Peet wins James Beard Award
by Matti Gellman and Clara Longo de Freitas
Published June 10 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: Baltimore’s Clavel came up short in taking home a prized James Beard Award on the culinary world’s biggest night, but Easton’s Harley Peet won best regional chef.

Restaurateurs and chefs gathered in Chicago Monday to celebrate what’s considered the most prestigious accolades in food. The Maryland finalists for outstanding bar — Clavel Mezcaleria — and best chef: mid-Atlantic — Tony Conte of Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana in Darnestown and Peet of Bas Rouge in Easton — vied against eateries from across the coast and country for the high honors.

Peet thanked his colleagues and parents on the stage, adding that he was raised to go through life trying to help others.

… this story continues. Read the rest at The Baltimore Banner: Baltimore’s Clavel misses out, but Easton chef Harley Peet wins James Beard Award



The B&O Railroad Museum is gearing up for a bicentennial celebration in 2027. (Courtesy: B&O Museum)

The B&O Railroad Museum doesn’t want to be just for tourists
by Jasmine Vaughn Hall
Published June 6 in The Baltimore Banner

Excerpt: It’s easy to walk near Mount Clare Junction in Southwest Baltimore and not think twice about the large brick roundhouse building with several trains on the tracks behind it.

Despite a “Welcome to the B&O Railroad Museum” sign, the space preserving the “birthplace of American railroading” seems unassuming, with its tucked-away entrance under a green awning.

The museum, which officially opened in 1953, is hoping to change that perception as its facility is re-envisioned as a site that’s more appealing and inviting to both neighbors and tourists.

It all begins with the museum’s South Car Works building, which was the oldest continuously operating railroad repair facility in the United States. The restored building will be the new and improved entryway into the museum, and will face toward Southwest Baltimore with the hope that renovations promote even more investment in the area.




National Aquarium announces return of Voyages event series in July
Press Release :: June 6

Ticket sales opened today for the fifth installation of Voyages, the National Aquarium’s after-hours event series for adults that explores the intersections of conservation, science and art. On July 18, 2024, guests will experience an immersive evening from the mind of featured artist Schaun Champion, which will incorporate photography, projection, floral installation and a curated soundscape interspersed throughout the National Aquarium’s galleries.

“Schaun’s work for Voyages: Chapter 5 invites you to embark on a journey through interconnectedness and to revel in the profound bond between humanity and the natural world,” shares National Aquarium’s Community Programs Manager Sarah Doccolo.

Interactive elements such as hopscotch areas and a philosophical scavenger hunt will create a playful world, with additional performances by Baltimore’s WombWork Productions, to encourage guests to activate their sense of wonder and curiosity. A lens-based artist and instructor renowned for her unique approach to art, Champion will delve into the complex web of interconnectedness that binds humanity to the natural world.

Local food for the event will include The Empanada LadyNeopol SmokeryTaharka Brothers Ice Cream, and Crust by Mack, with a bar menu curated by Charm City Meadworks. The immersive installation will be followed by an electric after-party featuring renowned jazz musician Brandon Woody and his ensemble, UPENDO.

Champion’s fascination with aquatic life was ignited during childhood visits to the National Aquarium. These core childhood memories, combined with a feeling of being called to water, recently led her back to the Aquarium. Returning to her childhood inspiration, Champion aims to evoke a profound connection with the natural world through her lens-based creations in this chapter of Voyages.

“When thinking about this project, I started paying closer attention to patterns and how animals try to communicate with us,” Champion shared. “The way humans move around in the world affects every other living being, which then affects us. This is interconnectedness.”

As part of her residency, Champion first met with Aquarium experts who pointed her toward Mallows Bay National Marine Sanctuary, an underwater graveyard of 100 World War I-era ships nestled in the Potomac River. National Aquarium General Curator Jack Cover and Conservation Policy Manager Maggie Ostdahl encouraged Champion to draw inspiration for her theme of interconnectedness from the Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay. The industrial relics within the site have been reclaimed by nature, illustrating a fascinating loop of human-to-wildlife interaction.

“The ships stick out of the water like bones, and they’re saying, ‘There’s history here. There’s a story here. This is a sacred place worth protecting,'” Champion elaborated. “We never get to the place of progress and protection if we don’t understand what happened before.”

Voyages: Chapter 5 will take place on July 18, 2024, from 6 to 11 pm. Tickets are on sale now.



Installation view of Magic Book – Secret. Found book, foil, paint, paper, pencil, sliding tin, ribbon. Photo by Olivia Niuman for East City Art.

Laura Grothaus Return to the Library of L.E. Grothaus at McLean Project for the Arts
by Olivia Niuman
Published June 11 in East City Art

Excerpt: Three solo shows are currently on view through June 15th at McLean Project for the Arts. While each show is complete on its own, the three artists work with similar conceptual themes. Artists Osvaldo Mesa, Abol Bahadori, and Laura Grothaus have each mounted an impressive exhibit that explores the rich inner life of the imagination and the possibilities that occur when perspective is reframed.

As organic and architectural forms weave in and out of spaces that feel futuristic and corporate, Abol Bahadori’s mixed-media paintings in Inner Gardens juxtapose landscape and interior to invent a surreal third space where we are challenged to consider our relation to the actual spaces around us.

Osvaldo Mesa’s exhibit, Toys in the Hands of History, similarly draws from a variety of references, as the conventions of still life, Surrealism, decorative pattern, and abstraction are recombined into a unique visual language that echoes the artist’s own cultural experiences growing up as an Afro-Cuban in America.



Fuel performing "Hemorrhage" at 2001 HFStival. Screenshot from Carl Bell's Facebook page.

Gen X Heaven on Earth: HFStival returns!
by Aliza Worthington
Published June 11 in Baltimore Fishbowl

Excerpt: Legendary music event HFStival is returning to Washington, D.C. on Sept. 21 after a 13-year absence: long ago enough for Gen Z to have no idea what it is and recent enough for Gen X like this reporter to say “HELL, YEAH!”

WHFS was the first and longest-running progressive rock station, with call signs for three FM stations that played in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore markets beginning in 1961. They were the first in D.C. to play bands like REM, Pixies, The Smiths, The Cure, New Order, and many more.

WHFS is the subject of a documentary film called “Feast Your Ears: The Story of WHFS 102.3.” It won Best Documentary Feature at the 2024 DC Independent Film Festival (DCIFF). The feature-length film covers the station’s lifespan over the decades, describing it as “a keystone, and center point, for the music and culture of the era.”

See also:

HFStival is returning to D.C., but Maryland is just as stoked
by De’Andre Young
Published June 11 in The Baltimore Banner



Arts & Drafts Festival Returning to Guinness Open Gate Brewery, June 22-23
Press Release :: June 5

Baltimore County’s premier cultural event is back to kick off summer! Rain or shine, the 2024 Arts & Drafts Summer Music & Arts Festival takes place June 22 and 23 at Guinness Open Gate Brewery (5001 Washington Blvd., Halethorpe, MD 21227).

More than 7,000 people are expected to gather for this free two-day festival presented by the nonprofit Baltimore County Arts Guild (BCAG) and featuring curated artist vendors, live music, fun activities for all ages, and specialty food & beers from host sponsor, Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

Guests can view and purchase unique art pieces from more than 40 top and diverse craftspeople – from Maryland, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia – specializing in glass, acrylic and watercolor painting, photography, pottery, mixed media, 3D, jewelry, sculpture, woodworking, furniture and much more.

“We anticipate that this year’s festival will be the biggest and best yet,” said BCAG President Arkia Wade. “As we continue to grow our signature event, the more we can support BCAG programs, exhibits and other activities that greatly benefit the artists community in Baltimore County and beyond.”



header image: Rosemarie Trockel, “My Dear Colleagues” (1986), plastic and wool; image courtesy the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC)

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