Megan Hamilton, program director for the Creative Alliance and one of its founders, will be leaving the arts organization in November.
"I first became involved in the Baltimore arts scene in 1981," Hamilton said in a press release sent Wednesday afternoon. "Back then, the scene was tiny and hardly any non-arts folks knew about it. Today, we see Baltimore gaining major attention as a national cultural center with great activities and programs from lofts to major museums."
Hamilton, Margaret Footner and Daniel Schiavone founded the Creative Alliance, which opened in 1994 as a gallery and performance space above Footner's Margaret's Café in Fells Point. In 2003, it moved into the old Patterson movie theater in Highlandtown, where it remains one of the city's most vital and respected arts organizations, a home to concerts, film screenings, art exhibits, burlesque shows and a little bit of everything else.
"While retaining its strength, history and authenticity, Baltimore is a profoundly different city than it was when I moved in almost 35 years ago," Hamilton said in the press release. "Arts organizations like Creative Alliance have been critical to that positive transformation."
Hamilton was a Goucher College graduate with an art history degree who had tended bar and waited tables at various Baltimore watering holes when she helped found the Creative Alliance. "We hashed out a mission that integrated the different interests of the three founders, and also spoke to the matrix of different communities we wanted to serve," she told The Baltimore Sun in a 2003 interview. "Dan [Schiavone] was really aware that, once artists leave art school, they lose a big support network. They don't have mentors; their peer group's been dispersed. Margaret was really interested in art education, particularly for kids, in seeing the arts partner with the community in many different ways. And I was interested in doing shows and performances."
Schiavone left the Creative Alliance in 1998. Footner remains its executive director.
Hamilton has been a fixture in the city's arts community since the 1980s, as a publicist for alternative arts festivals known as the Ad-Hoc Fiascos, and later for a concert series that evolved into the Baltimore Blues Society. She has written for the City Paper, Style magazine and national and international art journals. She also co-founded the journal Link: A Critical Journal on the Arts in Baltimore and the World, which published 10 issues from 1992-2002.