Free State at the Peale: Local Art Exhibit Benefits the New Peale Center

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A $4 million capital campaign is underway to reopen the Peale Museum, the oldest museum building in the United States. The city recently approved a 50-year, $1/year lease agreement with a non-profit, the Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture, for the 1814 building located on Holliday Street.

Originally Baltimore’s first City Hall then a school for African-American children and later the Peale Museum, the building has been closed since 1997.  The nonprofit hopes to renovate it then reopen it with a café, library and learning center in 2016.

Baltimore City voter’s will be asked Tuesday to approve a $250,000 city bond bill, part of the $580,000 for which the non-profit already has commitments.

On Saturday, November 1 the first major fundraising event, “Free State at the Peale,” featured a juried art exhibition by regional artists at the nearby Carroll Mansion, 800 E. Lombard Street. The exhibit continues through November on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hours are Fridays, 4 to 8 p.m., except November 28 from 1 to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.

Above: At exhibit opening: Jean Baker, Sandy Sparks, Karen Footner and Mary Pat Clarke, Baltimore City Council, in front of a piece by the late Reuben Kramer.

From private collections are works by artists previously shown at the Peale: A. Aubrey Bodine, Herman Maril, Keith Martin, Betty Cooke, Aaron Sopher, Jacob Glushakow and Reuben Kramer.

Other artists, whose works depict the Maryland experience and are for sale, fill the mansion. Everything from Bolton Hill, Hampden and West Baltimore to the Eastern shore is depicted in the paintings, drawings and sculpture of  Raoul Middleman, Paul Moscatt, James Hennessey, Leonard Streckfus, Crystal Moll, James Hillman, Kathleen and Michael Kotarba, Alzaruba, Susan Kroiz Krieger, Walter Schamu, Joseph Sheppard and many others.


​First prize at the exhibition: Park Circle by Raoul Middleman

​”Free State at the Peale” organizer and sculptor, John Ferguson, with Peale Center president James D. Dilts

Eutaw Window by James Hennessey


Dantini by Thomas Gregory (top) and Maryland Hybrid by Leonard Streckfus

Bromo with Bra by Susan Kroiz Krieger

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Grand Entrance by Kathleen Kotarba

“Free State at the Peale” is the first in an annual series of art exhibits for the new non-profit. If goodwill and enthusiasm are any indication, the future of the new Peale is bright. It is too bad that in Baltimore, unlike Boston and Chicago, a constant, uphill effort must be made in order for historic buildings, like the Peale and the Mencken House, to be renovated and re-opened.

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