NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY
Incest-porn.me many-vids.net HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    


  January 15, 2018

How Will the Mayor's 'Safe Art Space' Task Force Affect Baltimore's Black Artists?


Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's task force, formed last December, hopes to revive an old Black arts and entertainment district
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   



audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



"The Real News Network" delivers as the title indicates -"Real News". Not news cycle trash or fluff. - Laviero
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


transcript

EZE JACKSON: On Monday, artists had to be evacuated from their studios in Baltimore after a pipe burst in what's called the Post Office Garage. Artists were initially given notice Monday morning that they had until 5PM to remove their belongings before the building was shut down. They were later granted two additional days.

In December of 2016, The Ghost Ship, an artist warehouse space in Oakland, California burned down, claiming the lives of 36 people. The tragic fire sparked concern across the nation about affordable housing for artists. In Baltimore, then mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake called for the immediate evacuation of The Bell Foundry, a local live/work space for artists. The evacuation left The Bell Foundry's residents without a place to go. They said they were only given just minutes to remove their belongings before the building would be closed for good.

QUÉ PEQUEÑO: When the fire Marshall came, saying that he got, well, he said two things. He said that the mayor sent him, and he also said that he got a complaint talking about someone said that this place was unsafe.

EZE JACKSON: The Bell Foundry set in Baltimore’s Station North Arts District, and was praised as a safe space where LGBTQ artists and artists of color, in particular, were able to hone their crafts. It's closing fueled an existing conversation about affordable housing for struggling artists. Mayor Catherine Pugh issued an executive order on April 4th 2017 to quote, "Avoid displacement of artists." The mayors Taskforce on Safe Art Space was chaired by a banker, and a lawyer, and included a wide range of professionals, fire Marshalls, developers, and of course, artists. The task force was expected to give its recommendations to the mayor in June of 2017, but instead didn't give them until December. At the taskforce City Hall press conference, the mayor expressed her interest in welcoming emerging artists and making sure there's affordable housing available.

CATHERINE PUGH: There's also an intrinsic value in these spaces, which offer resources that establish, help emerging artists. We want more emerging artists in Baltimore. We want the art community to feel more than welcome to be a part of our city, and I'm really excited about just my preliminary look at the report.

EZE JACKSON: I spoke to co-chair Franklin McNeil Jr., a banker who is also on the board of directors for the Baltimore Office of Promotions of Arts. We asked him, "What's some of the challenges when coming into creating the taskforce?"

FRANKLIN MCNEIL: Not getting enough input from artists of color. I think it was hard to get them to participate because of the underground nature of the arts community, of the DIY community in particular. It was sometimes hard to get them to participate like we wanted them to, and it's important that we hear their voices.

EZE JACKSON: I also asked Lady Brion, a spoken word artist and national slam champion who sat on the taskforce is she felt like her input was taken seriously.

LADY BRION: I wasn't on any of the committees. I tried, but I really was sort of input during the more public meetings when all the committees came back together. One thing that I'm really excited about though is my recommendation was to make the Penn North corridor a Historically Black Arts District, and as you can see that was one of the things that was added. So, I'm excited about that.

EZE JACKSON: There are three areas in the city recognized as arts and entertainment districts. Station North, Bromo and Highlandtown. All three are predominantly white run. Highlandtown for example, boasts on its website of being located in one of the most culturally diverse areas of the city, but they have never spotlighted any Black artists on the website. While Station North does give a platform to Black artists and artists of color, many of the art spaces are white owned and operated. Many locals talk of two Baltimores and artists are no exception.

LADY BRION: Even if we do all this work with the afe artist taskforce, how is that going to trickle down to Black folks in Baltimore who don't really feel like they can trust city agencies, or that they get any funding from these big sort of organizations like BOPA, and etc. that are supposed to support the Black arts community. With all of those conversations I said, "Well, one example is that you have all of these arts districts but the only real arts district that I've ever known in Baltimore is not recognized as one." Then we had this conversation about Pennsylvania Avenue, that corridor, and how they don't know if that will be more symbolic or if it will really bring revenue to that district, and I'm like, "Well, we would never know if we've never tried it."

EZE JACKSON: The Penn North corridor Brion is referring to is on the west side of Baltimore intersecting Pennsylvania and North Avenues, just two miles west of Station North. It was the center of the 2015 uprising following the death of Freddie Gray who was killed while in police custody. But Pennsylvania Avenue was once a hub for Black entertainment. It was a popular destination for touring performers. Sphinx Theater,and Royal Theater, along with countless Jazz clubs and restaurants were once homes for both national and local talent. Today, Pennsylvania Avenue looks like a shell of it's once thriving arts and entertainment district. Having fallen on hard times after decades of neglect, drug traffic and violence. In the 34 page taskforce report, a section titled, Arts and Entertainment District Enhancement, suggests that once funding is secured for the quote, "existing arts and entertainment districts," the city should consider creating new districts such as the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor.

They go on to say that the city could benefit from having an arts and entertainment district in a historically Black community. It's an idea for now that many are hoping the mayor agrees to go forward with. The state of Maryland essentially determines which areas are designated as arts and entertainment districts. At the time of the taskforce press conference, the mayor had not yet read the recommendations. For The Real News Network with Will Arenas in Baltimore, I'm Eze Jackson.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

A New 'Cancer Alley' for Appalachia
Colombian Peace Agreement with FARC on the Brink of Collapse
Philippine War on Drugs a Cover for President Duterte's Fascism?
Mother of Woman Shot by Baltimore County Police Speaks Out
South Africa: Criminality and Deep Rot in the ANC Will Continue Under New President Ramaphosa (2/2)
Do Russiagate Skeptics Go Too Far?
The Return of Berlusconi: Can A Fractured Left Defeat Him?
Potomac Pipeline Would Be 'Another Contradiction' From Larry Hogan
Police Union Keeps Audit Secret Despite Allegations of Massive Overtime Fraud
Guns, Toxic Masculinity, and the Alt-Right
Zuma's Catastrophic Presidency Ends in Forced Resignation (1/2)
Brother of Crooked Cop Says He Knows Who Killed Detective Suiter
Israeli Strikes in Egypt Kept Secret for Years
As the Opioid Crisis Deepens, Will Maryland Democrats Vote to Save Lives?
The Free Market Threat to Democracy
Finding a SALT Tax Deduction Workaround
Leader of Neo-Nazi Militia Says MAGA Hat-Wearing Florida Shooter Trained with Them
Charter School Principal: No Evidence Privatization Is Better For Students
Max Blumenthal in Gaza: Netanyahu Faces Scandal, Palestinians a Crisis
Trump's Infrastructure Fantasy a Gift to His Donors
Netanyahu Could Fall for Corruption, Not War Crimes
Climate Change Costs Insurance Companies Billions, And Price is Rising
Trump's Budget Declares War on Forgotten America
West Virginia Woman Removed From Legislature After Exposing Fossil Fuel Contributions to Lawmakers
Leftist Hopeful's Lead Signals Upheaval for Mexico
Wilkerson: From Trump Parade to Budget, There's 'Too Much Military'
Trump's Budget and Infrastructure Plans Threaten Environment
Catharsis and Corruption in Wake of Dirty Cop Conviction
Confronting Trudeau on Climate Lies and Kinder Morgan Pipeline
Two Cops Found Guilty In Massive Police Corruption Scandal

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting