“b” is for Baltimore: Baker Artist Awards 2013 b-grant Winners
D CENTER BALTIMORE
16 W. North Ave. Baltimore MD 21201
Nine Exhibiting Artists Embody Versatile Creative Community in Greater Baltimore Area
BALTIMORE – Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice and the Greater
Baltimore Cultural Alliance launch a partnership to present the exhibition “b” is for Baltimore: Baker Artist
Awards 2013 b-grant Winners from Thursday, Dec. 5–Sunday, Dec. 15 in D Center Baltimore located in the
North Avenue Market (16 W. North Ave.). The exhibition and complementary programming celebrate this year’s
nine honored artists who embody the versatile vitality of the greater Baltimore area’s art scene through dance,
installation art, visual art, photography, music, poetry, video and writing. An opening reception will take place on
Thursday, Dec. 5, 5–7 p.m., with poetry readings by exhibiting artists Jenny O’Grady and Katherine McCord.
“MICA’s M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice class of 2015 is thrilled to partner with the Greater Baltimore Cultural
Alliance’s Baker Artist Awards to honor the nine 2013 b-grant winners,” M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice student
Emily Russell ’15 said. “These artists embody the diversity and innovative spirit of Baltimore’s art scene.”
The b-grants are prizes for creativity and excellence awarded on the basis of nominations on the Baker Artist
Awards website, bakerartistawards.org. This year’s winners and exhibiting artists include: 3-D installation artist
Leah Cooper ’09 (Studio Art); experimental composer and musician Ruby Fulton; writer, editor and book artist
Jenny O’Grady; dance director Donna Jacobs; jazz artist Todd Marcus; choreographer Nicole A. Martinell; poet
Katherine McCord; choreographer, producer and songwriter CJay Philip; and video artist Robby Rackleff ’09
(Mount Royal School of Art).
“GBCA’s partnership with MICA’s groundbreaking M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice program is an extraordinary
opportunity to deeply explore and highlight the works of the 2013 b-grant winners. These artists are exemplary of
the depth and breadth of artistic excellence in the Baltimore region as represented though the Baker Artists Awards
nomination site and nurtured by the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund,” Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance
Executive Director Jeannie Howe said.
“Mary S. and William G. Baker were philanthropic leaders in supporting the arts in the Baltimore region and would
be extremely proud of the 2013 awardees and this exciting exhibition,” said Connie Imboden, President, Board of
Governors, William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.
Professional Development Seminar: From Practice to Professional
Monday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.
D Center Baltimore, 16 W. North Ave.
The 2013 b-grant winners will discuss their journey from practicing in the studio to becoming professionally
recognized artists. Participants will receive instruction on how to apply for the 2014 Baker Artist Awards.
Thursday, Dec. 12, 6 p.m.
Graduate Studio Center: Auditorium, 131 W. North Ave.
Bring the whole family to a night of music, dance and wordplay, led by b-grant winner CJay Philip.
Musical Performances and Closing Reception
Sunday, Dec. 15
2–4 p.m. Graduate Studio Center: Auditorium, 131 W. North Ave.
4–5 p.m. D Center Baltimore, 16 W. North Ave.
Join us in celebrating the close of the exhibition with musical performances by b-grant winners Todd Marcus and his
jazz ensemble, experimental composer/musician Ruby Fulton and Deep Vision Dance Company directed by Nicole
Students in the Curatorial Practice program have developed, designed and implemented the exhibition and public
programs highlighting the diverse range of artistic practices and cultural influences these artists represent. Students
have conducted studio visits, recorded interviews and produced a print publication to accompany the exhibition—
thus providing professional development opportunities to the artists, increased understanding of these artists’
processes for audiences and facilitated hands-on learning for the Curatorial Practice class.
“b” is for Baltimore: Baker Artist Awards 2013 b-grant Winners is presented by MICA’s M.F.A. in Curatorial Practice
Class of 2015, under the guidance of faculty member Jeffry Cudlin. Designed to forge connections among art,
artists and the community, the graduate program’s collaborative and individual curatorial projects allow students to
explore new methods of exhibition presentation—thinking outside of traditional models and training to create
relevant, timely and accessible exhibitions for diverse audiences. The graduate program is the first of its kind in the
United States and is shaped by the work of the program’s director George Ciscle, MICA’s curator-in-residence and
creator of the College’s ground-breaking Exhibition Development Seminar.
“b” is for Baltimore: Baker Artist Awards 2013 b-grant Winners and its programs are free and open to the public.
Exhibition hours are Monday–Sunday, 3–7 p.m. For exhibition and programming updates, visit
For high-resolution images or interview requests, contact GBCA at 410.230.0200 or MICA’s Office of
Communications at 410.225.2300.
Additional mentoring support for MICA students has been provided by representatives of D Center Baltimore. The
Baker Artist Awards is a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and is supported by the William G.
Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund.
Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the
nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 61 countries in fine
arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement.
Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region,
hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.
The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance nurtures and promotes a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable arts and cultural community
embraced by all as accessible, relevant, and essential to the region’s quality of life. GBCA connects artists and groups to one another
and to vital resources and advocates for the strategic issues facing the cultural community and the continued visibility and financial
strength of the sector. (www.BaltimoreCulture.org)
The William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund commits its resources to enhance the region’s economy and quality of life by making
investments in arts and culture. Its grants support artistic and cultural organizations and their partners through initiatives that enhance
an individual’s sense of self and pleasure and make Baltimore a more attractive place to live and work.
D center Baltimore is a broad cross-section of disciplines and individuals invested in improving and encouraging design—in all its
iterations—in the Baltimore region. D center’s members believe design thinking has the capacity to change the world and that banding
together in creative collaboration will greatly improve the quality of urban life. (www.dcenterbaltimore.com)
D center is where Design Thinking is cultivated and explained, where design is considered a process that leads to knowledge, innovation, creation action and change. This can happen by showing what others designed, by discussing issues from various perspectives, by enabling exchange or by mobilizing creative talent. Often this will need a physical space which could be space we “occupy” not necessarily one we “own”. Often the process and space can be virtual and often it can be a space that others have and is shared for our purposes ( like the Wind-up). We always want to collaborate, share and leverage the strength of many over the power of one.
The D Center of the Future Is:
Implement D Center branding via street signage. Activate space(s) with D Center flags and D Center members. Be present and visible at all appropriate opportunities (D Center capes?). Plant our flag.
Ways to interact & collaborate with D Center are expansive, low barrier to entry, many options to participate. Expand the Design Conversation model. Explore partnerships with student groups (MICA Design League?)
What’s the future of the Design Conversation model? Can the D Center explore and facilitate “open mike” discussions around broader topics, in addition to current model? Wine & beer socials? What would it look like if it was curated by Design School students? MICA undergrads? MICA grads? Morgan State Architecture students? A cohort of all of the above?
Collaborative with Baltimore change makers in and outside the design field (6th Branch, Neighborhood Design Center).
Able and willing to create and deploy rapid prototypes, willing to move fast and break things to learn, grow and engage.
Workshops and practice-based curriculum-building at all levels via partnerships w/Baltimore Design School, Morgan State & MICA.
The D Center leverages its institutional connections and resources to identify opportunities for partnerships which engage the next generation of designers (students) in Baltimore on real world issues with real outcomes.
The purpose of the D-Center is to influence the way design is practiced and experienced in Baltimore. To further this purpose it promotes meetings, discussions and exhibitions that bring together individuals, and public and private institutions. Its success is measured by the degree to which it affects design thinking and design outcomes in Baltimore.
The following are more detailed purposes, with examples of activities for each:
1. Serves both as a meeting ground and as a forum for people working in and interested in the visual(?) arts in order to generate an active interchange of ideas.
- Continue Design Conversations
- Discussions associated with exhibitions
2. Demonstrates through its activities that design matters—that design affects feelings and behaviors in important ways, and is a vehicle for economic development.
- Encourage and present research into design outcomes.
- Encourage studies of the economic impact of design-related activities
- Encourage post occupancy evaluations of buildings to see whether design intentions are realized.
3. Serves as a source of information and a sounding board for discussions about Baltimore’s design policies, the design impact of public actions, and designs that are happening and being considered in the city.
- Work with MICA, other art schools, city agencies such as BOPA, and local newspapers to create a notice board for design-related activities in the city.
4. Introduces innovative designs and design ideas from around the nation and the world.
- Generate exhibitions, lectures and discussions at schools, museums and other institutions
5. Advocates for design education and for a high standard of design in Baltimore.
- Work with design schools in the city
- Examine the way design decisions are made by UDARP and the State Architectural Review panel and by city agencies such as HCD, BEDCO.
- Hold monthly meetings for people working in or interested in design projects in the city to keep informed about current city design projects, have an opportunity to ask questions, and formulate position papers to City officials/government from the group to advocate for specific issues, if desired.
- For Purpose 1 a home place is desirable.
- For other purposes a shared space is possible, and full- or part-time staffing is essential.
submitted by SB and KB
- Focus on creating and nurturing connections with other groups (NDC, AIA, etc.), colleges and universities, exhibition/gallery spaces (both indoor and outdoor; i.e. Casewerks, Windup, etc.)
- Not tied to any one geographical location or building, but connected through relationships
- Foster collaboration-building dialogue among diverse constituencies on topics related to design, urban planning, the city, development, etc.
- Facilitate the coming together of people with similar interests, especially those who may not have been in the same room before, to talk, network, collaborate
- Introduce topics of interest to our constituencies – this can include both topics we know they’re interested in and new topics that they might not yet know they’re interested in
- Expand the definition of design and its role in people’s lives
- Contribute to discussions about design, development, gentrification via presence at events and discussions, letters to the editor, blog posts, media appearances (radio shows etc.)
- Accomplish this via talks, events, programming, design competitions, etc.
Dcenter is not the center, there is no center, there is no point at which architecture, urbanism, development, graphics, social work, art, activism, branding, strategic planning, and everyday life all intersect. Dcenter has to remain decentralized and flexible enough to find connections between and lines around disciplines whenever and wherever possible.
A venue can contain other venues, a container can contain other containers. A developer can make a neighborhood, within which an architect can make a building, within which an artist can execute an artwork. But these boundaries aren’t so hard that they can’t overlap. That same artist might make a whole series of pieces that are related, but that exist in different buildings. The artist might collaborate with a designer or an architect, to make something that exists in both categories: art and design. The artist might be a developer on nights and weekends.
In the same way Dcenter acts as both a venue or container, and an agent that acts and connects other agents. Dcenter has created the venue ‘Design Conversations' (partially overlapping with the venue called 'The Windup Space', which is in the venue known as 'The North Avenue Market', …) within the limits of the Design Conversation venue, we allow a curator to assemble diverse viewpoints and individuals into a conversation, and we also assist in making those connections between the individuals having the conversation exist.
Dcenter can also spin off other venues, like the Baltimore Modernism Project, which might have aspects that exist within Dcenter, like a series of gallery shows, or a Design Conversation, and might have aspects that exist on the outside, like the talk by Karla Britton at Morgan State, organized by Jeremy Kargon and the BAF as part of his Baltimore Modernism Project show.
Elements / Connectors / Containers
The Urbanite magazine was an important mechanism for collecting and disseminating Baltimore’s design culture– it’s conversations, practitioners and projects.
D Center Baltimore has an opportunity to resume the Urbanite’s role. An organizational model could be a multiple-platform network that establishes and promotes design partnerships, education, advocacy and emergent design practices.
The network could be organized around several programs with independent timelines. Funding would be sought for each program, which could only proceed after a financial framework is solidified for each. A coordinator would manage program budgets.