In “Baltimore Rising,” Artists React to the Civil Unrest of April 2015

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"Untitled," by Devin Allen
“Untitled,” by Devin Allen

How is Baltimore doing since the riots in April 2015? What has changed? What still needs to change?

Fifteen artists react to the civil unrest of 2015 and its aftermath in “Baltimore Rising,” an art exhibition that opened Wednesday and runs through Nov. 23 at the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Fred Lazarus IV Center for Graduate Studies, located at 131 W. North Avenue.

In the exhibit, artists address the social, economic, political and racial issues that triggered rioting and a weeklong curfew and drew negative attention to the city following the in-custody death of West Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.

The participating artists are Derrick Adams, Lauren Adams, Devin Allen, Sonya Clark, J.M. Giordano, Logan Hicks, Jeffrey Kent, Nate Larson, Nether, Olivia Robinson, Paul Rucker, Joyce J. Scott, Tony Shore, Shinique Smith and Susan Waters-Eller.

The works have titles such as “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” (Tony Shore), “Head Shot” (Joyce Scott), “The N-word” (Jeffrey Kent) and “Survival” (Nether).

"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" by Tony Shore
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” by Tony Shore

In addition to the exhibit, MICA is organizing two events about the uprising, a community forum and an artists’ panel.

The community forum, entitled “After the Baltimore Uprising: Still Waiting for Change,” will be held Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Lazarus Center Auditorium.

Baltimore Bloc coordinator Ralikh Hayes, #WestWednesday organizer Tawanda Jones, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson, author D. Watkins and JHU professor Lester Spence will talk about where Baltimore is now, selective policing and the U.S. Justice Department’s report on the Baltimore Police Department. Spence will be the moderator. 

The artists’ panel, called “Can Artists Ignite a Revolution?” will be held a week later on Wednesday, Nov. 16, from 7 to 9 p.m., in the Lazarus Center Auditorium.  Photographer J.M. Giordano, visual artist and musician Paul Rucker, multi-disciplinary artist, educator and MacArthur Fellow Joyce J. Scott, MICA painting chair Tony Shore and University of Maryland professor Sheri Parks will talk about how the arts can serve as a tool to examine society and to amplify the voices that most need to be heard. Parks will be the moderator.

Gallery hours for the exhibit are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. An opening reception will be held on Friday, Nov. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Lazarus Center. MICA asks that people RSVP for the community forum and artists’ panel because space is limited.

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.
Ed Gunts


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