1. What book are you currently reading?

I just finished Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. It’s a graphic novel memoir described as a “Family Tragicomic.” The book documents the author and artist’s relationship with her family as she grew up focusing on her father and how his personality and temperament affected her and the household. As Allison discovered she was a lesbian and came out of the closet to her parents, it uncovered a family secret that her father was also gay.

2. What do you enjoy the most about the book?

I really appreciate the ways great cartoonists can shape a story and the mood they are conveying through the combination of drawing and narrative. Allison conveys this extremely well. I think the story felt very personal to me for a number of reasons, but it is also a very universal experience to grow up and find out that your family or parents are far more nuanced and less black and white, right and wrong then they seemed when you are a child.

3. Why would you recommend this book to others?

We had given this book to my sister-in-law as a gift. I borrowed it back from them because the book has been turned into a musical and it is coming to Baltimore Center Stage in January. I bought tickets for the family and that was a great reason to finally read the book. It’s so exciting that this production is coming to Center Stage and I’d recommend anyone read the book and go see the show while it’s here.

4. What authors are you excited to see at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival?

I’m always excited to see what unexpected authors I meet or run into at the Book Festival. Some of my children’s favorite YA authors are people I’ve met working at or perusing the festival. There is so much talent that comes through, from the programmed tents to the self-published authors. If you go with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed.

5. Can you provide any tips for first-time attendees?

If something catches your eye or your ear don’t be shy, meet the author, ask questions about their work and take a chance. It’s wonderful to discover new artists and authors through direct interactions.

***

The Baltimore Book Festival returns to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Friday, September 28 through Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 11am to 7pm daily. The literary arts celebration features acclaimed local, regional and national authors, readings on multiple stages, cooking demonstrations and samplings, workshops, panel discussions, storytellers, children’s activities, the annual Storybook Parade, live music, and food and beverage. Visit www.baltimorebookfestival.org.

1. What book are you currently reading?

Oh gosh, that’s a complex question. I’m normally a person who reads a lot of books at one time. The book that has my attention the most right now is definitely Good Girl Revolt by Lynn Povich. It is actually the book that inspired the Amazon Series by the same name.

2. What do you enjoy the most about the book?

The book is about the 1970 Newsweek Trial, where the women of the magazine sued based on sex discrimination because women could not become writers or reports. They were commonly pigeon holed into the research position though they had the same credentials as their male counterparts. The thing I enjoy is that it sheds light on some of the problems with 1960’s and 1970’s feminism and highlights that intersectional feminism really has become popular in this third wave of feminism.

3. Why would you recommend this book to others?

If you are in anyway interested in media I feel you should read this book. The story of the women of Newsweek has been a forgotten story but it truly changed media and the role of women in magazines, newspapers and journalism as a whole. I’m surprised this book isn’t taught in classrooms all over the United States or at least it wasn’t when I was in school.

4. What authors are you excited to see at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival?

I’m really excited to see Nic Stone talk at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children’s Stage! She’s an amazing author who writes such great stories that are really true to the time we are currently living in. It’s a treasure to have her at the Baltimore Book Festival.

5. Can you provide any tips for first-time attendees?

Come hungry! We don’t call ourselves “A literary feast with gourmet eats” for nothing! There is such amazing food at the Baltimore Book Festival! I cannot wait to get a crab cake, a cup of coffee and buy some new books for myself to also devour!

***

The Baltimore Book Festival returns to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on Friday, September 28 through Sunday, September 30, 2018 from 11am to 7pm daily. The literary arts celebration features hundreds of award-winning and best-selling local, regional and national authors, readings on multiple stages, cooking demonstrations and samplings, workshops, panel discussions, storytellers, children’s activities, the annual Storybook Parade, live music, and food and beverage. Visit www.baltimorebookfestival.org.

1. What does a typical day look like for you as the Farmers’ Market & Bazaar Manager?

A typical day for me at the market starts out in the morning when I wake up. It’s about 4am and still dark out. I ride my bike down from Charles Village and survey the market grounds. I do a few hellos to the vendors who arrive prior to 5am and I start setting up a variety of tables and tents. As we get closer to the 7am start time, more and more vendors and programming partners start to arrive. After the market officially opens, I’m all over the place—answering questions at the Welcome Tent, getting ingredients for the cooking demos and fielding questions from vendors. On occasion, I’ll get to step back and see the diverse and cheery crowd nomming on food under an urban overpass and it really feels worth every bit of effort.

2. What is your background; what led you to BOPA?

My background is pretty eclectic and my path to BOPA has been a twisting one. Highlights include: skipping college, working for a bicycle company testing new products, foraging mushrooms for restaurants, building fighting robots for competition and running social media for a small urban fishing team. I was brought in to the BOPA fold by Sandy Lawler, the former market manager, as a market assistant. She has been my mentor and I owe her a lot. Thanks, Sandy!

3. Tell me one of your favorite things about the Baltimore Farmers’ Market & Bazaar?

This one is easy, the food. I love watching the progression of the seasons as it is reflected in the produce available at the market. I get very excited when ramps and asparagus greet us in the early spring, or seeing the first truckload of corn in the summer, or when kabocha squash and its pumpkin cousins finally arrive in the fall. Don’t get me wrong, the people are great, but you can’t eat them, so…

4. What are some of the challenges you face in this role?

Sometimes the market feels like a very intricate puzzle—when you solve one issue, two more pop up. Many groups and individuals all have their own concept of what is ideal and my job is to find the balance that leads to the greatest success for all. I love puzzles and I love challenges, so figuring out how best to bring 100+ different vendors together in a parking lot under the overpass in downtown Baltimore week after week is right up my alley.

5. In addition to the Farmers’ Market & Bazaar, are there other projects you work on at BOPA?

Well prior to becoming the manager of the market, I worked as a special events coordinator. It was a varied role at BOPA, which I really enjoyed. It touched many aspects of food and music and I was fortunate enough to work firsthand with amazing chefs, musicians and authors. I was responsible for fireworks displays, band battles, parade divisions and cooking competitions. It was a cool job and BOPA does cool things.

6. What is something people don’t know about the Farmers’ Market & Bazaar?

Based on the majority of the questions we receive at the Welcome Tent at the market, it is where the bathrooms are located. They are located on the southernmost part of the market by Saratoga Street and the Migue’s Mini Donut stand.

  1. Tell me a little bit about your background? When did you begin working for BOPA?
    I began in 1985 as an event coordinator for the Baltimore Office of Promotion and Tourism.  I oversaw the Baltimore Farmers’ Market, Kid’s Stuff Program, July 4th & New Year’s Eve fireworks, and worked on the Preakness and Thanksgiving Parades. I left briefly to go to the Baltimore Convention Center where I worked as an account executive, then I returned to BOP (Baltimore Office of Promotion) in 1989 as the Assistant Promotions Director. We didn’t become BOPA until 2001 when we merged with the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Art and Culture (MACAC). My role progressed to Director of Promotions, to Deputy Director, then Chief Operating Officer, and now interim CEO.

  2. What does a typical day look like for you? Actually, my days vary and are multi-faceted. They are most often a mixture of pressing matters that need immediate attention and action, combined with items that require long range planning. I usually have a full schedule of meetings in and out of the office. So in many ways, my typical day is not typical. I also get a lot of calls from people outside the office who want to do an event and need help finding a contact or seeking information on logistics.

  3. How has your role changed since assuming the position of Interim CEO?
    My role has changed significantly. In addition to serving as Interim CEO, I am overseeing finance during this interim period. Also, as Interim CEO, I interface more with City Hall by attending cabinet meetings and regular touch-base meetings with the Mayor’s Office.

  4. What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve dealt with since becoming Interim CEO?
    I think the biggest and most exciting challenge right now is keeping the momentum going at an effective, productive and creative level. BOPA never has a slow time of year, so solid organization is key. During this period, Festivals Director Kathy Hornig, who has now become interim COO, has been doing an excellent job tracking and organizing all the current issues that need to be addressed.  Kathy, Chief of External Affairs Donna Drew Sawyer and I meet on a weekly basis to go over any pressing issues. I find this helpful to keep everyone in the loop, get answers quickly, and maintain steady lines of communication. This is vital because, as you know, we move at a very fast pace here. In addition, we have stepped up our meetings with the department directors, which used to be monthly, to occur bi-weekly. Most importantly, we are very fortunate to have such strong, committed and creative staff here at BOPA to help meet our goals.

  5. What is the most rewarding thing to you about your job?
    I find it very rewarding to see the tremendous positive impact our events and programs have on the Baltimore community, both on the arts community and the community at large. Sometimes, we ourselves take it for granted, because when it’s your job, you don’t always stand back and look at the positives, but when you see the media coverage and the economic impact, you realize what a big deal it is. Our reach now, especially with Light City, is becoming more national. We’re getting even more international artists and I hear that in the international light artist world, people are talking about Baltimore. Through our grants, arts programs and festivals, and facilities, we are able to enhance the Baltimore experience and produce good news for our city. It’s good to work at a place where you’re always planning positive and meaningful programs that affect the community and in fact, make people want to come to Baltimore and live here. You can’t do that everywhere.

  6. What are your hopes for BOPA’s future in the next five years? My hope for BOPA in the next five years is that we can continue to do the good work that we do, that we build on our successes and reinforce the BOPA brand. For so many years we’ve done these large events and didn’t say that they were produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. Not everyone knows about BOPA and we haven’t always been good about putting ourselves out there. Now, we realize how important that is that people understand the BOPA brand. It’s also important that sponsors understand we are a nonprofit when we’re going out to raise money, so we can keep our events free and open to the public. I would like to grow our events and programs to include an even larger audience on a national scale, to expand our reach to more national sponsors, and to provide more employment opportunities for Baltimoreans. We employ a lot of Baltimore artists, as you know, and a lot of people through our events, so I would like to expand that.

  7. Anything else you’d like to add?
    My answer, if someone asked me why I wanted to work here, would be that you just can’t do this kind of thing anywhere else. It’s very rare that you can work somewhere where you’re doing arts programming, annual events, running facilities, helping to plan a Super Bowl parade or a Fan Fest for the World Series. It’s very unique, and always changing. 

     1. Where are you from originally?

Baltimore, Maryland. I’m a local Northeast Baltimorean. I went to college in High Point, North Carolina to follow my passion for Interior Design, but realized it was a little difficult to find employment with local Interior Design firms in my hometown.  I then transferred up here to Baltimore, graduating from Sojourner-Douglass College with a BA in Business Administration and then received my Master’s in Public Administration specializing in nonprofit management from the University of Baltimore.  I’ve been in the nonprofit sector for about 18 + years and have experience in fundraising/revenue development, strategic planning, training/development, budget administration and marketing and relationship management.

 

  1. What are some of the things you’re responsible for as Assistant Development Director?

My role was a newly created position to provide support to the Director of Development as she is out in the field raising funds. I’m responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Development department. We have a team of seven people, and I’m responsible for making sure the team strategizes in regards to raising funds through foundation, government, and city partners, corporate sponsors and individual donors.  In addition, my role requires me to work closely with our finance department to reconcile cash receipts, pledges and provide accurate reports to close out the month. 

 

  1. Where were you before BOPA?

Before BOPA I served as the Associate Director of Development at House of Ruth Maryland for about two years.  Prior to the House of Ruth Maryland, I worked for the United Way of Central Maryland.  Throughout my nonprofit experience I fundraised for human services, but now I’m fundraising for the arts, which is so much more relaxing and fun!

 

  1. How is that different?

Human services can focus on prevention as well as remediation of problems or specific needs.  During my time at the House of Ruth Maryland I fundraised for women and children who were involved in intimate partner violence. As a survivor I wanted to work closely with an organization that I am very passionate about which allowed me to educate individuals on domestic violence. Prior to that I worked for United Way of Central Maryland and our goal was to fight poverty in central Maryland with programs encouraging self-sufficiency. I guided various state and city agencies in their fundraising efforts for the workplace giving campaigns. We were really trying to engage individuals to give back to the community. That was a good and challenging experience for me because it is hard to get people to give through back especially if they felt underpaid.  Employees had specific nonprofit organizations that they supported, but the good thing about the United Way campaign it allowed an individual to pick up to five charities to give to at the end of the year and have it deducted from their paycheck. Coming to BOPA, because I’m a Baltimore City resident, I really wanted to help beautify the city, through the murals, the art and the cultural programs that we have in the city. I’ve always been a very strong advocate and participant in all of the festivals and events, but I didn’t have a clue as to what took place behind the scenes here at BOPA. Now I have such huge respect and admiration because I didn’t realize all the small, intricate details that took place.

  1. Is this the career path you pictured for yourself?

No, I actually studied interior decorating, but when I transferred back I had to find a job to put me through school so I started working in the undergraduate admissions department at Johns Hopkins University.  I worked there for a total of 8 years at Hopkins, which in my last 4 years I worked in the graduate admissions department enrolling students.  During my time on the campus I decided to help the Black Student Union with one of their events. They needed someone to help them raise money and I found my niche in fundraising.  I had the relationships with local businesses and I knew wealthy individuals. Eventually I just stepped out on faith and left Johns Hopkins University. I found a job at the American Red Cross fundraising for Anne Arundel County. I traveled around the United States for national disasters and on occasions I was gone for a month on more depending on the disaster.  I actually left the organization right before Katrina, but I was working for the American Red Cross when 9/11 hit. It was really easy to fundraise for the American Red Cross because whenever you have a natural disaster like that, everyone is opening up their wallets. 

 

  1. What are some of the most challenging parts of raising money for BOPA’s programs? What goals does BOPA have for fundraising annually?

The challenging part is trying to get donors and sponsors to understand our mission and our goal in raising funds, simply because people think of us as a city agency when we are a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. We are currently fundraising a little differently now that we have a new team. We are packaging BOPA as a whole and sharing with our partners everything that we do in regards to events, festivals and cultural programs. We want to make sure each partner understands our need and they are matched up with proper events and programs that aligned with their mission. The development department is responsible for raising 10 million dollars annually.

 

  1. What are some of your favorite parts of your job?

I just love the BOPA team. We are very family oriented and very close knit. I love the fact that everyone rolls up their sleeves and gets the work done; we are all hands on deck. You don’t find that in too many organizations. Also, fundraising for BOPA has been so rewarding because I’m actually going out and telling sponsors and donors what it is that BOPA does as a whole because people really don’t have a clue. They think of us as a city agency and we’re trying to change that mentality.

 

  1. What do you hope to see BOPA accomplish in the next 5 years?

Creating a strategic plan for our department, because when I came on board the development department did not have a strategic plan. So my goal ultimately is within the next 3 years to have a strategic plan for development department.

 

  1. Do you think BOPA will continue to grow?

Oh yeah, definitely. We really have set the bar with Light City Baltimore. Light City showed Baltimore City and BOPA’s potential to generate revenue and increase partnerships nationally and internationally.  I think with the new administration under Mayor Catherine Pugh’s leadership she will keep BOPA in the forefront since she is such a strong advocate for the arts and culture.

 

Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) are proud to announce that Cindy Cheng is the winner of the 2017 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. The coveted $25,000 prize was presented at an award ceremony at the Walters Art Museum on July 15, 2017. The six remaining finalists—Mequitta Ahuja, Mary Anne Arntzen, Sara Dittrich, Benjamin Kelley, Kyle Tata, and Amy Yee—each received a $2,500 honorarium provided by M&T Bank Charitable Foundation for a total donation of $15,000. Works of art by the winner and finalists are on view at the Walters through Sunday, August 13, 2017.

Cindy Cheng (Baltimore, MD) creates complex constructions and installations that investigate the relationship between drawings and objects and are incubators for history, memory and reflections on the physical and abstract self. Her work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions at St. Charles Projects (Baltimore, MD, 2016), ‘sindikit (in collaboration with Cheeny Celebrado-Royer) (Baltimore, MD, 2016), Present Junction (Toronto, Canada, 2015), Thomas H. and Mary K. Williams Gallery at Mount Saint Mary’s University (Emmitsburg, MD, 2016), Flashpoint (Washington, DC, 2014), E-merge Art Fair (Washington, DC, 2013) and has an upcoming solo show at Ditch Projects (Portland, OR, 2017). Cheng received her BA from Mount Holyoke College. Cheng received a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2008 and then earned her Masters of Fine Art from MICA’s Mount Royal School of Art in 2011. She is currently teaching at MICA in the Drawing Department, and has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT) and at the Anderson Ranch Artist Residency (Snowmass Village, CO). In 2016, Cheng and was a finalist for the Trawick Prize and in 2013 a semifinalist for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.

The Sondheim Artscape Prize: 2017 Finalists exhibition is held in conjunction with Artscape and is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. The $25,000 fellowship is awarded each year to an artist working in the Greater Baltimore region, and is designed to support the artist in the development of new work. The winner is selected by an independent panel of jurors, who review the exhibition and interview each artist. This year’s jurors are: Ruba Katrib, curator at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York, where she organizes exhibitions, educational and public programs, publications, and coordinates program presentation; Clifford Owens, a New York-based contemporary artist who works in performance, photography, text, and video; and Nat Trotman, associate curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Additionally, an exhibition of the semifinalists’ work is shown in the Decker and Meyerhoff galleries at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) Friday, July 21, through Sunday, August 6.

ARTSCAPE
America’s largest free arts festival, attracting more than 350,000 attendees, offers concerts on multiple outdoor stages, art exhibitions, an artists’ market, a full schedule of dance, theater and opera, jazz, classical, folk and experimental music, children’s activities, exhibitors, and an extensive variety of local food and beverage vendors on Mount Royal Avenue and North Charles Street. Artscape runs from July 21 through July 23. The festival’s total economic impact on Baltimore City is $25.97 million, according to a 2012 study by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.

The 2017 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize is made possible through the generous support of the Abell Foundation, Alex Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation, Charlesmead Foundation, Ellen Sondheim Dankert, France-Merrick Foundation, Hecht-Levi Foundation, Legg Mason, M&T Charitable Foundation, Amy & Chuck Newhall, Henry & Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation, M. Sigmund & Barbara Shapiro Philanthropic Fund, John Sondheim and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

Janet & Walter Sondheim
The Artscape prize is named in honor of Janet and Walter Sondheim, who were instrumental in creating the Baltimore City that exists today. Walter Sondheim, Jr. was one of Baltimore’s most important civic leaders for over 50 years. His accomplishments included oversight of the desegregation of the Baltimore City Public Schools in 1954, and championing the development of Charles Center and the Inner Harbor. He was active in civic and educational activities in the city and state, and served as senior advisor to the Greater Baltimore Committee until his death in February 2007. Janet Sondheim danced with the pioneering Denishawn Dancers, a legendary dance troupe founded by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Later, she turned to teaching and she spent 15 years at the Children’s Guild. After retirement, she was a volunteer tutor at Highlandtown Elementary School. She married Walter in 1934, and they were together until her death in 1992.

THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM
The Walters Art Museum, located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre Streets, is free and open to the public. At the time of his death in 1931, museum founder Henry Walters left his entire collection of art to the city of Baltimore. The collections include ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art, and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The Museum Store offers distinctive gifts, jewelry and books based on the museum’s collections.

Free admission to the Walters Art Museum is made possible by the combined generosity of individual members, friends and benefactors, foundations, corporations, and grants from the City of Baltimore, Maryland State Arts Council, Citizens of Baltimore County, and Howard County Government and Howard County Arts Council.


DEADLINE – July 21, 2017: Application
Final Webinar – Saturday, July 8

The deadline for Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) 2018 Individual Artist Award (IAA) applications is fast approaching!

These highly competitive awards recognize outstanding artistic achievement, honor the unique contributions of Maryland artists to the state’s creative economy, and include grants of $1,000-$6,000 to support artists as they advance their craft.

MSAC is accepting 2018 IAA applications in the following categories:

  • Non-Classical Music: Composition
  • Non-Classical Music: Solo Performance
  • Playwriting
  • Visual Arts: Crafts
  • Visual Arts: Photography

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) administers MSAC’s IAA program. Applicants can access IAA guidelines, application, and application assistance resources by clicking the “Maryland” tab here on MAAF’s website.

The deadline for 2018 applications is Friday, July 21, 2017 at 4:30 pm EST.

All applications must be submitted online.

MSAC and MAAF will offer one additional webinar before the deadline to guide IAA applicants through the application process. Advance registration is required.

Saturday, July 8, 2017, 10:00-11:30 AM – Register here.

Questions about applying? Contact Kimberly Steinle-Super at kimberly@midatlanticarts.org.