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Issue 17: Transformation Hosted at good neighbor guest house and design shop

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What is it about a good party that makes it so? And how does a perpetual host like BmoreArt ensure, as best as we can, that everyone leaves feeling a sense of pride and connection? It’s a high bar, but worth earnest consideration.

Since our first magazine release in 2015 at Maryland Art Place, BmoreArt has built a reputation for quality publications and fun parties. I think this is because our team takes these two products dead seriously, and we are intentional about hospitality and community.

Personally, I disdain wasting time, our most valuable resource. So I never want someone to leave one of our events feeling like their time could have been better spent elsewhere or without creating a lasting impression that is truly special, singular, and positive.

One way that we do this is by choosing a different location each time. We are only able to afford this by building strong relationships with the organizations generous enough to host us, usually through creating quality content with them. Baltimore is so rich with gorgeous architecture, and we choose locations that are iconic and unusual, in line with the theme of each of our print journals; we are happy to introduce new patrons and audiences to spaces they’ve never visited before.

Another strategy for a good party is a changing guest list and wardrobe challenge. Each magazine release party includes two free tickets for everyone featured in the issue, all of our contributors and advertisers, as well as our subscribing members above the standard level.

While this isn’t technically freethe Artist Membership is $100/year, Premium is $250we view these events as an opportunity for people who truly value what we are building to come together, to meet new artists and like-minded creatives as well as arts professionals and patrons.

 

photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox

There may be a gala in our future, with our 20th issue looming ahead in just over a year, and at that point to offer something truly epic, we may need to consider a ticket feebut also, I’d really rather not. For me, charging for an event changes the expectations of the guest and I prefer not to have someone evaluating my performance or feeling like they did not get their money’s worth. It also sets a barrier to inclusion or you have to have two guest lists: one free, one for fee. Once the dynamic has shifted to funding, my sense of fun is eclipsed by stress – and I can’t help but think this is shared with the guests.

BmoreArt parties could not exist without our partners who sometimes sponsor food and or drink, like Baltimore Spirits Company, or trade us for advertising like Classic Catering. These days, catering, and the vast labor that goes into it, is expensive as hell. And it should be. So working within a tight budget and offering value to our partners through the work that we do is the only way this happens.

Perhaps this is a bar set too high at times? BmoreArt does not sell tickets to our events, and even when we did, pre-pandemic, we kept the ticket prices low and the bar open. From the beginning, these magazine release events have been celebratory, just like our print journals, and we don’t have any corporate event sponsors, so everything else is paid out of pocket and these events are not fundraisers.

Perhaps in the future, we will learn how to equally prioritize fundraising and community building, but for now our goal is to create exceptional experiences where vastly different people can come together, exchange energy, look beautiful, and have a good time. We want the hospitality to be palpable, for guests to feel welcome, to have an open bar, but to keep catering in line with our budget.

Whether it’s a gala or a soirée, a magazine launch event or an art opening, a costume party or fashion show, we take parties seriously. Celebratory events are a powerful way to build collective momentum around the arts in our city, but most artists cannot afford to attend museum galas and other big-ticket black-tie events designed to raise institutional funds.

One major goal of BmoreArt, as an organization, publication, platform, and resource, is to create inroads and build relationships between these two historically segregated arts populationsthe patrons and the artists. We want to create spaces where both communities feel safe and valued, where the power dynamic is neutralized, where catalytic relationships can be forged, with arts professionals in the mix. Baltimore is brimming with individuals who want to engage with the art and artists of their place and timeso I hope that you will consider joining our community, especially at an annual level that affords us the ability to give you two tickets to each release party and invites to our Connect+Collect studio tours and events.

Thank you to all those who support, donate, subscribe, advertise, and share the good news that this publication exists in order to highlight Baltimore’s singular success story: the art in this town is so damn good it deserves a beautiful biannual print journal and a party to match!

Check out Issue 17: Transformation, available at BmoreArt and at local booksellers.

 

We hope you enjoy these party photos by Oliver Maddox, with Jill Fannon and Mollye Miller from our May 30 Release Party at good neighbor!

photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Oliver Maddox, food by Mera Kitchen Collective
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Mollye Miller
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox, food by Mera Kitchen Collective
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Mollye Miller Photography
Mollye Miller Photography
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Jill Fannon
Mollye Miller Photography
Mollye Miller photography
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Jill Fannon
Photo by Jill Fannon
Mollye Miller photography
Photo by Mollye Miller
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Oliver Maddox
Photo by Mollye Miller

Photos by Jill Fannon and Mollye Miller, where designated

This story is from Issue 17: Transformation, available here.

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