"We wanted to do something to ensure that art education will be publicized," says Jeanne March Davis, "and so that the
teachers and the children can see the work travel beyond their classrooms and their parents' refrigerators."
That's why Ms. Davis, curator of City Hall, and her assistant, Gigi Moore, decided to open a gallery specifically and exclusively for the artwork of Baltimore City's schoolchildren. Ms. Davis and Ms. Moore, who organize six exhibits a year in City Hall's first floor Courtyard Galleries, have established their newest idea in the rotunda area one floor below, and are calling it the Circle Gallery.
It opens with a public reception today from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., to be attended by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and school Superintendent Dr. Walter G. Amprey. The first show will feature 50 works from six city schools: Roland Park and Federal Hill Elementary, Fallstaff and Hampstead Middle and Northwestern and Walbrook High schools.
There will be four shows a year, Ms. Davis says, and all city schools, parochial and private as well as public, can participate. The programs will not be dictated from City Hall; art teachers are invited to submit proposals, and Ms. Davis hopes that several schools will participate in each exhibit.
The idea for the gallery, is "something I've wanted to do, to show the worth of art education," she says. "I'm fearful about art
education, especially in times like this. This will let the public see the art produced in schools, and the politicians are all here, too, so they can see it first hand."
Ms. Davis believes art education has wider implications than just something for the students to receive today. "If we expect the public to support galleries and artists, we have to [interest] them when they're young."
The new gallery will be operated out of the $25,000 budget for the courtyard gallery shows. Ms. Davis hopes the new gallery will attract contributions of all kinds from local businesses and other institutions.
Where: City Hall, 100 N. Holliday St.
When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The first show will run through the spring.
Call: (410) 396-4721.