As Baltimore’s Arts Council, the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) is committed to focusing on the importance of Census completion within the creative community. The promotional campaign “I’m Creative & I Count” has been implemented into BOPA’s programming and events with the goal of engaging creatives, one of the Census’ hard-to-count populations. By participating in the Census, you give Baltimore’s thriving community of artists, musicians, educators and more the proper representation.

Look for the 2020 U.S. Census invitations in the mail at home and submit your responses this Census Day on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Participation is easy and responses can be submitted online, by mailed paper form, or by calling the Census Bureau.

As part of the “I’m Creative & I Count” campaign, BOPA has distributed brochures, buttons, stickers and information about the importance of the Census. BOPA also spoke with Baltimore-based artists about what it means to be a part of our vibrant creative community.

Take a look at their stories below:

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Sundance Film Festival
Photo credit: Debbie D. Dorsey

Last month, Debbie D. Dorsey, BOPA’s Director of the Baltimore Film Office, traveled to Park City, Utah to support Baltimore’s presence at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The annual film festival is highly anticipated as one of the biggest gatherings of filmmakers and audiences, with many films that launch at Sundance going on to gain critical acclaim worldwide.

This year’s festival featured screenings of narratives, documentaries, and shorts from all over the world, including Sweden, Iran, Mexico, Germany, and more. BOPA is proud to report that Baltimore was also present among this international roundup of films and storytellers.

“Baltimore was well represented at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival,” says Dorsey, fresh off of her first trip to Park City for the festival. Dorsey was able to attend screenings, meet with cast and crew, and see Baltimore talent shine at Sundance.

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1.       As the Visual Arts Specialist, what is your position within the Arts Council at BOPA?

I work as a project manager for the Sondheim Artscape Prize, the Municipal Art Society’s Artist Travel Prize and Public Art Prize, Public Art Projects, and the visual arts awards for the state’s Scholastic Art Awards.

2.       This is an exciting time of the year for you, with the launch of the 15th annual Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize application. Can you tell us a bit about this process and what we can expect over the next few months leading up to Artscape?

Sure! The call for artists just closed, so I review all the applications to make sure they are complete before sending them along to our jurors to score. Our jurors (Gary Carrion-Murayari from the New Musuem, photographer Nona Faustine, and Diya Vij from the High Line) will score all 300 entries, and from those scores the top 25 to 30 artists will be semi-finalists, who submit additional materials which the jurors score again. This scoring is used to shape the discussion in the in-person meeting (usually in New York), where the jurors select the finalists for the prize. The in-person meeting is crucial to the process, in my experience this helps to come up with a very thought-through group of artists. These finalists are then notified and have meetings with The Walters Art Museum staff to help figure out the gallery layout, needs of each artist, etc. That show will open Thursday, May 28, 2020. Then, the jurors will travel to Baltimore to interview each artist in their exhibition on Saturday, July 11, 2020 with the announcement of the recipient of the award that evening.

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1.      Tell us a bit about your role & responsibilities as Arts Council Director:

As the Arts Council Director I am responsible for implementing strategic leadership, planning and outreach to artists and the artist community within the city of Baltimore. I also develop and oversee programs and work to develop new initiatives to enhance and support arts resources within the community including institutions, organizations, and individual artists throughout the city of Baltimore. 

2.       What would you like Baltimoreans to know most about the Arts Council and BOPA’s role in Baltimore City?

We are here to serve them and keep them working in the city! As the City’s arts council I think it is extremely important for people to know that we are invested in helping support artists at every level of professional development as well as keeping communities informed and engaged about the arts.

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