As managing director of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS), I've been keenly aware of several recent developments in the relationship between the arts and culture community and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration. Actions taken by city officials in response to concerns of public safety, including the closing of the Load of Fun building on North Avenue last August and the cancellation of Pow Wow in April, have caused many to wonder if the city is beginning to take a harder stance toward its emerging artist's community.
Earlier this month, the Autograph Playhouse on 25th Street, which has hosted the past three years' worth of BROS' stage productions, came under scrutiny as renovations to the building were behind schedule. Only by working closely with Baltimore City officials were BROS and the management of the theater able to arrive at a compromise that allowed us to continue our sold out performance of MURDERCASTLE from May 10-25 while meeting important criteria for keeping the public safe. The success of this event, and the future of a valuable landmark in Baltimore's cultural community, was made possible through the commitment of Deputy Chief of Emergency Management and Public Safety Robert Maloney and Councilman Carl Stokes to supporting a thriving arts scene in Baltimore.
It would be easy to view recent events as threats to the individuals and organizations that have worked so hard to strengthen Baltimore's incredible arts community. But my experience has given me confidence that Mayor Rawlings-Blake's administration remains committed to supporting the growth of a thriving, nationally recognized hub of artistic and creative activity in Baltimore. I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with city officials to make BROS safer and more accessible to our fans in Baltimore, and I look forward to collaborating with city leadership to promote the arts here.
Thanks to all the headbanging fans who came out to MURDERCASTLE! We can't wait show you what we've got coming up next!
Dylan Koehler, Baltimore
The writer is managing director of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society.