In line with our vision to Build Community through Opera, Opera Baltimore is proud to partner with the Arch Social Community Network, the Enoch Pratt Library, the No Boundaries Youth Organizers, the Black Arts District, and the Shake and Bake Family Fun Center to create “Opera on the Avenue.” This initiative is a series of events aimed at connecting the diverse citizenry of Baltimore, using the unexpected medium of opera as a bridge. This project will continue into the future, as community ties are strengthened and new connections forged. We are proud of Baltimore and we are proud of Old West Baltimore, and we aim to amplify our whole city’s many incredible stories to inspire us all.
This first phase of the project is centered around African-American opera singer and Old West Baltimore native Anne Wiggins Brown, the first Bess in George Gershwin’s iconic American opera Porgy and Bess. Ms. Brown was a groundbreaking opera performer and grew up just two blocks from the Arch Social Club on Pennsylvania Avenue, where her father was a prominent early member. The Arch Social Club stands on the very corner of Pennsylvania Avenue where the protests began in 2015 after Freddie Gray’s death.
Creative lead and curator Adrienne Danrich has created a special exhibit, “Baltimore Legends,” dedicated to Anne Wiggins Brown and a number of other extraordinary Baltimore musicians. This exhibit will live both online and in print, traveling around to a number of city branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Special thank you to Maryland Repographics for their printing the exhibit!