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Baltimore City Paper

The Mail: Silo Points

I totally agree that there is a silo within Baltimore—and Kalima's final paragraph is a good summation on a way to solve it ("State of the Arts," Feature, Oct. 15). However, intellectual elitism fuels the underlining problem. It is embedded with racial, class, AND gender AND age inequalities. As a young black woman and native Baltimorean who enjoys the art scene within Baltimore, I have to maneuver  through various circles. While I'm not an artist myself, I have friends and family who practice whether it is painting, music, theater, film, or photography. I try to support them in various ways either by patronizing their events and/or purchasing merchandise.

I disagreed with many of the comments that the various black Baltimorean artists in the article had said. Firstly with, "Anderson" who is a MICA graduate! MICA is one of the oldest arts schools in the county with a large alumni base in Baltimore! It's always been "who you know" and if you have the experience, perfect! His comment, "You have to go to the right parties. Know the right people. I just wish there was some sort of funding for us [black people] by us. It's really hard to keep knocking on these doors." THIS IS RIDICULOUS! It plays right into the racial divide. Even if there were funding for "us" or there were numerous black funders, they would still have to go a-knocking. There are many people competing for those same funds!

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Secondly, being the flavor of the month or tokenism is gonna happen, but Samantha's comment about "people not working outside their white circles" made me pause. I feel like it goes the same way with black artists. Personally, I don't feel like people are taking advantage of all the opportunities within the city from "both" races (I say "both" since it leaves out Asians, Latino, and other populations that make up Baltimore!). I think it's just best to set the shortsighted racial bias straight with experience and awesome behavior. Prove them wrong and enlighten them.

There will always be the case of "Oh it's hard to leave your neighborhood." Even if we look outside the artists and arts institution there isn't much education of the general population on the numerous opportunities. It's that people genuinely do not want to recognize the other. What is out of sight is out of mind.  Nothing will change. Of course if people are always with the same group and they don't go out of their territory OR RESEARCH what others are doing then the comment that came out of the 30-something theater director will continue to happen.

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Winona Caeser
Baltimore
FROM THE WEB, FACEBOOK, AND TWITTER
“A New Struggle: Civil rights hero Helena Hicks is barred from an exhibit about civil rights heroes”
A good article dealing with an old riff in the Black community. I’d say Ms. Hicks should be both commended for her anti-violence stance and rebuffed (slightly), for not giving Eddie Conway a chance. It seems to me that Mr. Conway has spent a lifetime negotiating with the violence that a black man in America finds himself surrounded by and may have some wisdom on the subject. Also, that he works with many young people of color helping them figure out a way to turn their experience positive warrants a listen from anyone looking for solutions to the challenges faced by African-Americans here. Redemption is possible and it’s always good to deal with this stuff; heal one’s soul.
The people at Reginald F. Lewis should join their community and the discussion around Black music in America today. Have shows and then talk about where it’s going with the people who make this a living artform. Make the door easy on peoples’ $ but tape and film it with the idea of putting it out on Public TV. Kinda like Austin City limits with a Black educational slant. Dance, drum and song. By working together we could change things.
–“Michael Brown,” Oct. 17
“Separate But Equal: If we talk about silos, we also have to talk about inequality”

Good article that go back to the old term "Separate But Equal". I enjoyed reading about racial artists.

–“Luke Schwab,” Oct. 16
“Who benefits from the mayor’s plan to boost the Baltimore art scene?”

Artists... For once possibly

–“Marc Tsakiris,” Oct. 18

Everyone.

–“LA Denizen,” Oct. 18
“Brutal Reckoning: Developers are anxious to tear down the Mechanic Theatre and McKeldin Fountain, even without money to replace them”

Such a thoughtful article and certainly contributes to the "Leave the McKeldin Fountain" Column!

–“John Schratwieser,” Oct. 16

Oh, and "We don't have the money but we're going to do it anyway" isn't a good development strategy, either.

–“Housing Policy Watch,” Oct. 15
“Your gas grill or hibachi is probably illegal in Baltimore. And luckily for you, a fine is coming” 

Someone remind Warren Branch that his district has like.. a billion other issues more pressing than gas grills.

–“Dennis,” Oct. 17

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