from NPR:

Once the scene of tragedy, a school in the West Point slums of Liberia is now a work of art — and it’s an international affair. Street artists from Baltimore collaborated with Liberian artists to create murals on the Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi Elementary and Junior High School.

A glimmering sunset, a vibrantly colored butterfly and a roaring hippo welcomed students last Friday when the school reopened.

Hundreds of parents, teachers and students in brand-new uniforms proudly paraded through crowded streets to celebrate. A marching band led the way, greeting onlookers with trumpet fanfare.

At the peak of the Ebola outbreak in August, the school served as an Ebola holding center. Angry residents raided the school, forcing the patients to flee and bringing blood-stained bedding out on the streets.

Weeks of rioting left the school in shambles. But after months of disinfecting and major renovations by a coalition of aid agencies and nonprofits, the school is a school once more. It’s even got a new face to inspire its returning pupils.

With funding from German Agro Action, one of the organizations that helped rehabilitate the school, street artist David “Nanook” Cogdill, who’s worked on murals in Baltimore and other U.S. cities, traveled to West Point to give the building a face lift.

He began by outlining a large and intricate design on the front of the building. Then over the past weeks, Nanook worked with three local artists to fill in the intricate details with colorful paint.

To paint a pygmy hippo, he worked with 14-year-old Abel Dassin, who likes to call himself the youngest artist in Liberia. Nanook coached him on how to paint the skin so that it would look realistic.

Dassin says he wanted to be part of the project to remember Shacki, a 16-year-old boy who was shot during the riots and later died. “Shacki was of my age. I feel sad for his family. I paint for him,” he says. “I also hope that when other children see the painting they feel motivated to go to school.”

At the front gates of the school courtyard, Nanook worked with Kingston Sylla, an artist from Guinea who’d moved to Liberia years ago, to cover the concrete wall with shapes of all sizes and colors. The pattern was designed by Baltimore artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn and brought to life by the team.

Unlike the other mural, this one faced outward. The idea is that the community should also be able to enjoy the art as well — not just the students.



Saturday, May 23, 2015: Art Law Clinic, Newborn Holistic Ministries/Jubilee Arts (1928 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217), 1-4pm. Artists (of all mediums) may receive a FREE 30-minute consultation with an attorney to discuss their short-form legal issue. Have a question about copyright? Starting a business with your art? Maybe you need someone to help you look over a contract? Our volunteer attorneys will be able to help you start addressing the legal issue related to your work as an artist. To schedule your 30-minute appointment, please email

Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards are grants awarded to Maryland artists to encourage and sustain their pursuit of artistic excellence. Grant recipients are selected through an anonymous, competitive process. Awards are highly competitive.

A limited number of awards of $1,000, $3,000, and $6,000 will be offered this year in:

Creative Non-Fiction/Fiction

Media/Digital/Electronic Arts

Theater: Solo Performance

Visual Arts: Painting

Visual Arts: Works on Paper

MSAC Individual Artist Awards are aimed at benefiting all Maryland residents regardless of political or religious opinion or affiliation, marital status, race, color, creed, age, national origin, sex or sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or geographic location within the state. Who May Apply: Individuals who are Maryland residents, 18 years of age or older may apply. Applicants must have established residence and be living in Maryland at least six months prior to the application deadline, and must be residents living in Maryland at the time the award is granted by MSAC. Proof of residency may be required. The applicant must be the artist whose original work is represented in the work samples.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015: MdVLA Meet and Greet Happy Hour! Atomic Books (3620 Falls Rd., Baltimore, MD 21211), 6-8pm. The fine proprietors of Atomic Books are hosting an evening where artists and lawyers can mingle, share a drink, and get to know each other better. If you want to learn more about how MdVLA helps artists, and can possibly help you, this is the perfect event. All artists should attend! The event is FREE but please RSVP to


Deadline: July 15, 2015

Exhibit Dates: October 5-28, 2015
Title: Shades of Pastel
2015 Sponsor: Maryland Pastel Society
Venue: Hill Center Galleries at the Old Naval Hospital
Awards: Over $6,500 in cash and merchandise
Awards Juror: Doug Dawson
Eligibility: Open to all artists 18 or older residing in the USA and Canada. All paintings must be artist’s original work and at least 80% soft pastels (no oil pastels). Work cannot be produced whole or in part in an instructor-led class or workshop, or from photo reference materials belonging to others. All manner of subject and style are eligible.
Fees: MPS member $35.00 for 1-3 digital images. $40.00 for non-members
Commission: Hill Center Gallery retains 30% commission
Send SASE to: 3706 Whispering Lane, Falls Church, VA 22041
Phone: 703-409-5126



Baltimore’s newest festival of art, music and innovation seeks
visual, music and performing artists

The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts seeks participants for Light City Baltimore, a festival of light and ideas. Premiering March 28-April 3, 2016, the inaugural Light City Baltimore will be the first large-scale light festival in the United States featuring art, music and innovation programming and will be a platform to shine a light on Baltimore’s innovation and creative communities. Installed in the Inner Harbor area, Light City Baltimore seeks illuminated visual artworks, live performances with a light component, and musical performances and concerts that enhance and complement the light displays and sculptures.

“In some of Baltimore City’s darkest days in recent memory, our spirit was tested. But Baltimore has always been a resilient city. To truly move our city forward, we will need a broad, representative, and inclusive selection of projects, programs and events; and Light City Baltimore offers artists across our city an opportunity to celebrate Baltimore’s rich, diverse heritage, while creating a shared outlet to help us grow, heal, and facilitate social change,”  Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Calls for entry are open to artists and artist collaborative groups working in all media and genres of both the visual and performing arts.  Artists are strongly encouraged to consider one or more of the following anchor values of the festival as they conceive their artwork proposal.



Pioneering collaborations between artists working in all types of media and performance as well as collaborations between artists and technological innovators are important.

The art installations will be a part of a larger festival ecosystem of innovation programming featuring local, national and international technological innovators.

Environmental impact is an important consideration and should be thought about when designing artworks. Opportunities to power exhibits with alternative energy sources are encouraged.

Audience Engagement
Proposed projects and performances should actively engage the audience and provide a unique and memorable experience for the festival-goer.

Artworks that cause attendees to see situations in new ways, to rethink their deeply held beliefs and to reflect on key societal issues of justice and equality are encouraged.


Visual Art & Visual Art/Performing Art Hybrid Projects

These projects are primarily visual or a hybrid of visual and performing art based. They will be installed prior to the beginning of the festival and remain onsite until the festival closes.


Music Performances & Concerts

Music is a key element of Light City. Artists are encouraged to consider how light can transform their performance.  Artists should include in their proposal any work intended in collaboration with any visual art components of the festival or performances that include light elements.

Most musical performances will be scheduled during the evening hours of the festival.


Performing Arts

These applications could include, but are not limited to, proposals for dance performances, street theater, stilt walkers, jugglers, magic shows, and other types of artistic performances. These performances should be ephemeral or “pop-up” in nature; Light City will not be able to provide traditional staging. All applicants in this category must factor one or more light elements into their proposal.

Jury panels will be commenced for each of the three application types made up of professionals working in the corresponding field. The deadline for proposals is Monday, August 31, 2015. To apply, participants should follow the directions outlined at

Light City Baltimore is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts in partnership with Visit Baltimore and What Works Studio. The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving as Baltimore’s arts council, event center and film office. For details, visit

For more information on participating in Light City Baltimore, visit or call 410-752-8632 or connect via Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #LightCity.

The University of Mary Washington Galleries
Submission Deadline: July 10, 2015

The University of Mary Washington Galleries are proud to host the tenth edition of our juried painting competition. It is open to artists 18 years of age and older living in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Entries will be judged by a guest juror. Cash prizes and a purchase award are also available. The exhibition will be on view January 15- February 28, 2016.

For more information, visit