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!
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.
Good article that go back to the old term "Separate But Equal". I enjoyed reading about racial artists.
Artists... For once possibly
Such a thoughtful article and certainly contributes to the "Leave the McKeldin Fountain" Column!
Oh, and "We don't have the money but we're going to do it anyway" isn't a good development strategy, either.
Someone remind Warren Branch that his district has like.. a billion other issues more pressing than gas grills.