Four Shout Outs to Local Artists

Last Thursday, we released our brochure on the vibrancy of the Baltimore region’s cultural sector, and looking at the economic impact of the arts. Visit the companion microsite for more, and an in-depth report on the arts in Baltimore by Nancy Haragan, my fabulous predecessor here at GBCA, and Doreen Bolger, director of the BMA.

There were four local artists who performed for us at the event, and I’m very indebted to each of them, and wanted to tell you a little bit more about each–American Studio Orchestra, Effervescent Collective, Shodekeh, and Joe Rubino.

American Studio Orchestra

ASO is the brain child of Larry Williams, a talented horn player who teaches at Peabody. He has created the new American orchestra. One that is transdisciplinary and collaborative. A BCF confetti grant award winner, this emerging group is poised to make an impact on the arts community. Here’s a clip of them.

Effervescent Collective

This is a young dance ensemble (who happens to have my favorite name of any institution in Baltimore–collective effervescence being one of the reasons I love art and something I look to create when I direct my own work) working hard to establish themselves in Baltimore. As Lily Susskind, the director, told me, they want to challenge the notion that there’s “no dance” in Baltimore, and to establish a physical space in Baltimore to meet some of the demand for dance studios and performance space. As they’ll tell you, there are a lot of dancers and dance companies working in the City. This group, like ASO, collaborates at every opportunity, and worked with Shodekeh on a piece at our event last week.

Here’s a piece they did in 2008 that I wish I could have seen in person.

Hounddog vs Golddigger (2008) from effervescent collective on Vimeo.


If you haven’t seen Shodekeh perform yet, then you’re really missing out. He is a true talent, and boy, does he work hard. Before you’ve seen or heard him, you might say, “Who is Shodekeh?”, but after he’s on your radar, it feels like you can’t look anywhere without seeing him. Shodekeh recently won a 2010 Baker Artist Award “People’s Choice”, and is performing with the BSO on July 23rd as they do a tribute concert of sorts to local music legends Frank Zappa and Philip Glass (small tidbit: my father, they say, looked like Frank Zappa–me, not so much). Add to that Shodekeh, and you have a performance of amazing home-town talent. Shodekeh is also a serial collaborator, and if you look at his Baker Artist Award nomination page you can see him working with a host of likely and unlikely artists.

Here’s one I particularly enjoy of Shodekeh with a Lithuanian dance group that was commissioned by the U.S. Embassy in Lithuania.

Joe Rubino

Joe is a local photographer and film/video artist. He put together a short clip (that we hope to have up on our website soon, and that I’ll post here), interviewing six emerging artists (including Larry from ASO, and Lily from Effervescent Collective). Check out his website for some of his work:


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