(Not)Talking About Race

There is no hiding the fact that Baltimore has difficulty addressing the issue of race. It is often both avoided and simultaneously unavoidable. Within the cultural community, we find ourselves continually approaching the issue–whether it’s trying to connect with a more diverse audience through relevant programming or cultivating a diverse board. Art on Purpose has a new project that is directly delving into race issues, and it’s asking everyone in the City to participate.

Recently Art on Purpose received a major grant from the Open Society Foundations for its Black Male Identity project, and it is receiving additional support from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Maryland Humanities Council. The Black Male Identity project has the goal of generating, illuminating, and promoting positive images of black men and boys through art, media, and words. As Peter Bruun at Art on Purpose (who is a GBCA board member) recently wrote me, “it is a community-wide campaign, with multiple opportunities for community voice to lead and be heard. You need not be black nor male to participate; anyone can be a part of the initiative. As part of our outreach, we’re inviting artists and the cultural community to become a part of the Black Male Identity project”.

Art on Purpose is holding a series of Community Information Sessions free and open to the public:

Wednesday, March 30, 5:30-6:30pm
MICA PLACE (in the Rouse Company Foundation Gallery)
814 N. Collington Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205

Monday, April 4, 5:30-6:30pm
The LOF/t
120 North Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201

Saturday, April 9, 10-11am
The Cork Gallery
302 E. Federal St., 4th Fl., Baltimore, MD 21202

Thursday, April 14, 9-10am
The LOF/t
120 North Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201

Tuesday, April 19, 5-6pm
Edmondson Community Organization Building
2114 Edmondson Ave., Baltimore, MD 21223

Monday, April 25, 5:30-6:30pm
The LOF/t
120 North Ave., Baltimore, MD 21201

Friday, May 6, 6-7pm
New Life United Methodist Church
4400 Parkside Dr., Baltimore, MD 21213

Wednesday, May 11, 5:30-6:30pm
School 33 Art Center
1427 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230

At these sessions, attendees will learn about the project, and also receive information about the Education Package, how you or your organization can offer Affiliated Programs, and how to contribute artistic content or just take part in the conversation. More information will be available on the project website (www.morethan28days.com) following the March 24, 10:30am press conference (open to the public) at the Arch Social Club, 2426 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217. If you have questions, you can email info@blackmaleidentity.com. Meanwhile, GBCA is hosting a conversation about diversity in our cultural community as part of our ongoing series of discussions on Tuesday, March 29 from 8am to 9am at GBCA.

Until next week–

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