Art Love

I am a longtime artist and advocate for the arts. I love Baltimore and everything about this city. I am constantly surrounded by beautiful Baltimoreans of all races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures that understand the transformative nature of the arts. That's why we have got to do better ("State of the Arts," Feature, Oct. 15).

This is a Baltimore Arts Love Letter.


Dear Baltimore Arts Scene,

When you do not intentionally include, you unintentionally exclude.

There appears to be an abundance of new theaters and creative spaces popping up around the city, owned and operated by mainly white people. Privilege is based on what we have compared to what others have. We, people of color, want the same opportunities to buildings and creative space.

Think of it in terms of public restrooms: There is always a long line for the women's restroom, and the men's is usually empty. A solution–build more women's restrooms.

Diversity and Excellence can work together.

The new number of people of color on your board should be at least two, so they can have a buddy to eat lunch with. This is true for African-Americans' arts organizations, too. Mix it up. If everyone looks like you, you always get the same old things. Spread the wealth. The thought is that if you include others, excellence will not be a part of the equation, and that is certainly not the truth. Crayola keeps adding more and more colors to their crayon box, because everyone wants to belong, be a part of something.

Our strengths lie in our differences, not similarities.

If your audience looks exactly like you and the only time you have people of color in your gallery, concert, hall, or theatre is in February . . . well. The faces of this city are rapidly changing.

Baskin Robbins sells 31 flavors and they all taste good.

Diversity means looking at the Lens of Our History.

You do know there were always artists, organizers, and lovers of community here before you came, right? This is not your parents' Baltimore City, Baltimore Arts Scene, because it's our story, and together we can make it end anyway we want. We must do better. Our children are watching and they are depending on us. The Baltimore Arts Scene should reflect Equitable Access to Opportunities for everyone. We will do better. We are artists and that's what we do–change the world!

Luv you here,

Sheila Gaskins
“On The Threshold Of Greatness: New city schools CEO Dr. Gregory Thornton says better public schools can lift Baltimore to new heights”

I'm eagerly awaiting the flood of city schools employees commenting about how well things are going.

–“JoshReynolds,” Oct. 23
“Pho-King Great: Saigon Today fills an Asian-cuisine void in Canton”

Best part of this review is the title!

–“William Bond,” Oct. 22
“The Mail: Silo Points”

So. I'm reading thru the weekly paper and stumble across the article Separate But Equal. Once again another self-proclaimed African American wining about equality in the Baltimore Art Institutions. Now, I am a middle aged white American woman with two bi-racial children, I practice massage therapist and yeah I'm in to all that shit about Flowers and Love, ect. I must say move on Black people, you have a Black president (which you don't even approve of) black colleges, TV channels, most of the city..... God Forbid white people go about their business with the Love of Art and didn't make a special little black section for you. How about this, STOP separating yourselves. I live in Waverly and I can not even count the number of times I have been victimized because I am White. One occasion a woman started a verbal assault against me and declared the Battle in the name of Trevon. So. Forgive me but last I checked here in Baltimore city it is 2014 and the only racism I see is from the African American community.

Here is a question for you, Where is the outrage of the black on black crime? Where is the outrage of the three year old girl who was shot and killed during an African American shot out here in Waverly a few months ago?

*Side note, maybe if the city schools would stop focusing so much on teaching African American History of slavery, that happened two hundred years ago, the young people could have a different outlook on current day life. My first grader has learned about slavery, in the first grade! She is a child for gods sake, let them be kids stop poisoning their minds at such an early age, no wonder African-Americans are racist.

–“Jessica Foster,” Oct. 23
“Frank Conaway Jr. responds to coverage of his bizarre Youtube videos”

No way Frank Conaway wrote that statement. I challenge him to read that statement out loud.

He is clearly a sick person and his colleagues and family are only hurting him by ignoring (and making lame excuses for) his disturbing videos.

–“Adam Meister,” Oct. 24
“Gamer’s Grammar: Why You Should Care About Gamergate”

#gamergate singular. Gamers Gate is a Swedish company that's been getting Gerry Sandusky-style blowback about this bc internet.

–“Jared Nipper,” Oct. 23

This is a gross characterization of what happened. There is a lot of the story missing and the "victim" isn't as much of a victim as the mainstream media is portraying.

–“Rig Perez,” Oct. 23