“A citizenry steeped in creativity…”

Executive Director Letter
June 18, 2013
Last weekend, I attended the Americans for the Arts conference in Pittsburgh.  It was inspirational, exciting, challenging and frustrating all at the same time.  Learning about the amazing work happening all over the country to support artists and their many contributions to our cities, counties, and communities large and small was inspiring.  And it was both affirming and saddening to know that organizations struggle with many of the same issues and challenges—resources, support, space, and inequities of all kinds.
Among the common themes articulated by Holly Sidford, president of Helicon, and others is that the view of artists has changed over the past decade from strange cultish figures to significant community contributors. Public perception problems still persist, but there is a sense this is changing.  No longer are artists considered a poor relative living a solitary existence and waiting for a handout.  They are more widely recognized for the impact they have and the role they play in building communities. 
The contributions that artists make to the education of our children, the vitality of our neighborhoods, and our ability to engage in civil discourse around complicated and emotionally charged issues are invaluable.  One of my favorite quotes from the weekend was, “A citizenry steeped in creativity, excellence, and the ability to navigate differences strengthens a democracy.”  If you are in need for some inspiration, check out this TED talk by Bill Strickland.  The president-CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation was one of the AFTA keynote speakers.
It was great to see some of you yesterday at the GBCA Brown Bag about Artists U/Baltimore and the new Urban Arts Leadership Program.  As GBCA continues to offer services to arts organizations and institutions, we are also building services for individual artists.  These professional development programs are part of a larger strategy to help artists sustain themselves while living and working in the region. Now that I have faced my fears at the Grand Canyon, the tour of GBCA members will resume this week!
All the best,
“The sand in the hourglass flows only one way. Don’t waste precious time chasing someone else’s definition of success. Live your life with purpose now. Look for the things that inspire you, trouble you, make you feel most alive, and trust in those things to shape your future. They will give you all your heart could ever wish for.”
Bill Strickland


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