xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Renaissance Academy art exhibit raises $7,000 amid West Baltimore school's uncertain future

Fifty-seven artworks based on Renaissance Academy students will be displayed and auctioned at the Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Center. (Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun video)

Renaissance Academy High School's art exhibit and auction "Breaking Frames," in which artists from across the country created pieces inspired by the school's students, raised around $7,000, the project's organizer said.

All but six of the 55 artworks displayed (two works fell through at the last minute), were sold during the auction held last year, said co-organizer and Renaissance art teacher Kristen Yoder. Each piece of art was inspired by a student's written response to prompts about their experiences living in West Baltimore.

Advertisement

The original plan was to use the proceeds from the auction toward programming for the students. But as the final profits roll in, Yoder said she's not sure how the money will be used — since the West Baltimore high school may close at the end of the school year.

City schools administrators have recommended closing Renaissance Academy, which experienced three student deaths last school year that left the community reeling.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises said she would withdraw the proposal if the district and community partners could find a new location for the school, currently housed on the third floor of Booker T. Washington Middle School.

"Ideally, I want [the money raised] to benefit the kids from Renaissance," Yoder said. The students have already weighed in on ways to use the funds, including buying tools and materials to design and screen print their own T-shirts and bandannas to sell and display at festivals.

"The kids have been really excited about that idea," she said, but "if the school closes, that might just have to look different."

A recommendation on whether Renaissance will close or relocate is expected some time this month; the city school board will discuss the issue at its meeting Tuesday.

Advertisement

Regardless of the school's fate, the auction's turnout was remarkable, Yoder said.

"It was awesome," she said. "We had upwards of 200 people [at the exhibit's grand opening in November], and it was really packed in there all night. … Everyone who saw the show was moved by it or walked away with some sort of contemplation."

Baltimore Sun reporter Erica L. Green contributed to this article.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement