Every quarter, Johns Hopkins Dean Katherine Newman sends out a newsletter to alumni, staff, and other interested parties. This Fall’s theme? “Opening the Door to the Arts,” a screed on how the school — generally known as a research university that relentlessly churns out doctors, chemists, and Nobel-winning astrophysicists — is trying to find a place for “the creative work of novelists, film makers, dramaturges, musicians, and dancers” as well.
“Johns Hopkins has come late to this conversation,” Newman admits, but that doesn’t mean they’re not trying. The details include a task force; a public futures seminar with faculty from MICA, Stanford, MIT, and other schools/organizations (happening tomorrow, if you’re interested); and — hopefully — more funding for arts programs. The school has already snapped up one local film celeb, Matt Porterfield, to teach in its Film & Media Studies department.
But there’s still a long way to go. Newman waxes poetic about Baltimore’s larger potential as “an increasingly influential and desirable ‘arts destination,’ particularly for younger musicians – from rock to classical-performance artists, film makers, and visual artists in search of the East Coast alternative to Seattle.” Um, Seattle? Really? If Johns Hopkins needs someone to keep them up-to-date on what’s been going on in the cultural world since, oh, 1995, I’m willing to consult for a modest fee.