April 20, 2022
The Baltimore art scene in '22 seen through the eyes of a young Black 28 year old artist gettin' to it..
“It's nothing to pull up on another artist's event just to see them shine”
So, listen. It’s 2022, we’re 2 years in since the pandemic started, and things have looked different from my perspective as a visual artist in the city. I honestly used to say there wasn’t a lot of opportunity in Baltimore in the creative art scene. But, my stance on that is starting to change. Of course, there are bigger cities out there, but it’s really what you make it.
Just thinking about these last two years, the connections I’ve built in the art scene have been beyond genuine. The ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality doesn’t really apply here. I’ve been able to collaborate with other organizations (shoutouts to Blk Ass Flea Mkt) and seek advice from other movers and shakers in the city. I’ve learned to build those relationships because we move stronger as a unit. We can’t do it all on our own and you have to learn to be an asset.
It's nothing to pull up on another artist’s event just to see them shine, or jump in and give advice when you see that someone is struggling in their craft. Most of the time that same energy is reciprocated when you genuinely are looking to help out. Prime example, I had my media day for The Patterson Park Basketball Mural that’s slated to kick off this summer and my guy Insanely Dope pulled up on me. What started out as just support for me to get word out about the project, turned into a 90-minute long convo about art shows, clothing manufacturers, and business gems dropped from both sides. Scenarios like that come naturally and show how valuable it is to just be an asset on this creative scene.
From the actual event scene, my art collective, Creatively Mindful, that I co-own was able to persevere through 2 years of being away to have our 4th “A Reason To Dress Up” art show and the people did not disappoint. Our highest grossing show to date, it really opened my eyes to see that the people of this city really enjoy the arts, man. We weren’t a forgotten case and the people answered the call. This leads me to think about everything that the city has to offer. You genuinely can’t say there isn’t anything to do, y'all are just not looking for it. Shouts to my guy APoetNamedNate for his weekly poetry slams throughout the city. From Hampden to Downtown, he really puts on for the creative vibes as a whole. And it’s not just poetry. His events also include live painting, vendors, and comedy. It really comes all together for a good ass time. I can list events that occur at least 5 days a week in the city, which I feel like wasn’t always a thing I could do with the art scene. I Love to see it for the city.
One last topic, I want to hit, but definitely will expound upon at a later time is how I view myself as an artist. I’m not represented by a gallery or have an agent [yet], but I’ve been able to build connections and make a way for myself in this city and beyond. But, then on the other hand I look up to the work of Megan Lewis, Wendell Supreme, Devin Allen, and Jerrell Gibbs. I see the partnerships they’ve built with major companies, represented by galleries and see the reach that their work has. All of this just fuels the fire for me. Watching them work and seeing their accomplishments is a major motivation. This is something that can’t be overlooked. Seeing it done in your own city makes it tangible, and more real.
As I sit back and think about it, you can always complain about what can be better about the city. We can have more galleries, more events, more festivals, but one thing you can’t say is that the scene is dead. Y'all just ain’t looking for it.
To my first blog ever *raises glass*,
Such a great read! Love to hear about creatives supporting other creatives!