If an artist makes a groundbreaking work and no one writes about it, did it actually happen?
There were no local online art publications when I started BmoreArt in 2007. There were few artist-centered resources, online or off, to find out about exhibits or events. The art community was growing in Baltimore, but without a cohesive journalistic archive there was no way to preserve what was most important to me and many others at the time: artists' diverse voices and ephemeral output during a period of phenomenal activity.
I launched BmoreArt just after I finished my MFA at MICA, and it has evolved into a daily source of arts and cultural information. The site is purposefully designed to include everyone and anyone with a love for creative endeavors and the City of Baltimore. Over the years, BmoreArt has grown into a team of writers, editors, artists, and volunteers who care deeply about the arts. We understand the stabilizing and, when needed, disruptive role art and artists play in an urban area's political economy and relish the power of voicing our opinions. A healthy cultural ecosystem needs both artists and administrators to sustain it, but it cannot grow responsibly without independent journalistic voices of critical feedback.
I would like to think that publishing an art webzine since 2007—one specifically focusing on Baltimore's rich cultural landscape, one that celebrates its accomplished makers and criticizes its failures—has made a difference in this city, but there is no way of knowing for sure. For me, BmoreArt has been life changing. Not only has editing and producing this publication become my full-time mission, it has generated thousands of opportunities to start conversations, to look deeply, and to wrestle with the meanings of these experiences in order to share them with a growing audience.
At this critical juncture in our city’s life, the role and visibility of Baltimore’s dreamers, thinkers, educators, and creators is more essential than ever before. Who is better at crossing cultural, social, political, and economic barriers than artists? Who is better equipped to generate the radical ideas necessary to move this city forward? The voices of artists need to be heard.
What does it mean to create art and ideas in a unique city like Baltimore? How do we measure the impact of environment on creative output and also the effect of artistic endeavors on our collective landscape? How do we teach the next generation of artists, thinkers, collectors, and audiences for the arts?
As this city of creative people advances, BmoreArt has expanded from the web into print to bring a necessary visibility, advocacy, and recognition to those who generate momentum by making art in Baltimore.
A healthy cultural ecosystem needs both artists and administrators to sustain it, but it cannot grow responsibly without independent journalistic voices of critical feedback.