Tag: artists

Meet the New Head of the Contemporary, Deana Haggag

Photo courtesy of fabempire.com.
Photo courtesy of Olivia Obineme

At 26, many young adults are just starting to figure out what they want to do with their lives, or at least how the heck they’re going to support themselves. Then there’s Deana Haggag. In June of 2013, the 26-year-old was appointed director of the newly named and recently re-opened Contemporary. The former Contemporary Museum had suspended operations in May of 2012 after failing to raise funds for a new location. A newly minted graduate of MICA’s master’s degree program in curatorial studies, Haggag stepped up to head the museum, which is now nomadic. Sans a brick and mortar location, it will focus on presenting experiential art throughout the Baltimore community via collaborative programming with a variety of artists. In other words, it’s up to Haggag to steer this anchor-less ship in a fiscally responsible manner while delivering contemporary art experiences that will attract and energize audiences. Recently, I caught up with Haggag to find out how this bright, witty twenty-something plans to execute such a lofty plan.

You were an art history and philosophy major at Rutgers before pursuing your MFA at MICA in curatorial studies. Are you a practicing artist, a champion and appreciator of art, or both?

I am definitely not a practicing artist. I can barely write my name legibly. I happen to love the arts. I love defending the arts. When I applied to art school, I also applied to law school. Art school was a pipe dream. People told me lawyers aren’t getting jobs, there are too many lawyers, so you may as well do something you love.

As part of your master’s degree thesis, you worked with Gallery CA, a 90-unit artist residence in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, to better define the mission of the gallery for its residents and the broader community. Elaborate on that a little, and explain how that experience prepared you for this position.

City Arts is the building where Gallery-CA lives; it’s one of the first models of subsidized housing for artists. When the gallery was built, it didn’t have a solid plan for how it would work. When I went to school at MICA to study curatorial arts, someone had pitched activating the space. I worked closely with the building’s owners, and the larger Baltimore arts community, toward this goal.

The Ivy Bookshop and Baltimore Clayworks Join Forces Tonight



IVY10-e1350927055992Surround yourself with books, enjoy some light refreshments and join the folks at The Ivy Bookshop Friday night, April 12 at a reception to celebrate the art and artists of Mount Washington’s Baltimore Clayworks.

Baltimore Clayworks is a nonprofit ceramic arts center dedicated to providing outstanding artistic, educational and collaborative programs. Through classes, exhibits and special events, Clayworks sustains and promotes a vibrant artist-centered community.

The Ivy Bookshop will donate to Baltimore Clayworks 15% of all purchases at the event April 12, from 7 – 9 p.m.

Join supporters of Baltimore Clayworks at The Ivy Bookshop, 6080 Falls Road.  For more information, visit the Ivy Bookshop website or the Baltimore Clayworks website.

Baltimore artists launch new journals for niche markets


Street artist and Open Walls creator Gaia wanted to share his art and city travel experiences. Carrie Bird was captivated by 1,000 people at a Baltimore bike party. Johns Hopkins University student Peter Cardamone saw the need for more poetry and fiction. These ideas led to the birth of three Baltimore “zines.”

Short for “fanzine,” zines highlight topics outside of the mainstream, often in— gasp! —  hardcopy format.

“In many cases you’re reading unfiltered thoughts, opinions, points of view,” says Benn Ray, owner of Hampden’s Atomic Books.

Arts Open House and the Bromo Seltzer


It’s a common misconception that artists live glamorous lives.  They wax poetic about muses and live with little to no obligations, creating only beauty to rouse discussions that will ultimately altar society.

This is, of course, not true.  While the best work they create definitely sparks important discussions about life, about culture, about religion, they do so much beyond waxing poetic and have a wealth of obligations.  They have deadlines to meet, pennies to pinch, and pieces to create.

Once a month, the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower opens its doors to the public so we may have the great privilege of seeing works in progress.   Recently named a Baltimore Icon by WTMD, it plays a prominent role in defining our skyline and has been watching (no pun intended) over the city for over 100 years. Swing on by, soak in the history, and thank the artists that bring life and culture to this town.

Sondheim Prize Moves from the BMA to the Walters


The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts announced yesterday the relocation of the Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize.  The finalists’ exhibition and award ceremony for the competition will be held at theWalters Art Museum in 2013 rather than the Baltimore Museum of Art, where the show of the finalists’ work has been held for the past several years. 

Artscape: What Drives an Artist to Paint Cars?

Bob Hieronimus and his art car. Photo by Steve Ruark.

Bob Hieronimus recounts his notable artistic accomplishment of painting more than 50 murals in Baltimore.

There’s the 2,700 square-foot “The Apocalypse,” finished in 1969 at Johns Hopkins University, which depicts history as a cyclical force. His “E Pluribus Unum” completed in 1985 features famed diners at the Lexington Market. The 1996 “A Little Help From Our Friends” on the side of the Safe and Smart Community Resource Center on Greenmount Avenue portrays inspirational figures from Bob Marley to Rachel Carson.

Baltimore: A Fine Place to Be an Artist


Our neighbors to the south have recently been arguing about whether DC is a good place for artists (Slate:  “DC:  The Anti-Berlin”; Washington’s City Paper:  “Why Slate is Wrong About DC”). According to Slate’s Matthew Yglesias, “If you’re a semi-employed artist or guitar player it’s much more expensive than Philadelphia or Baltimore and still smaller and less interesting than New York City.” Which made us wonder:  is Baltimore a better place for artists to live?

Well, first of all, we’re cooler. (Duh.) But if you want to get scientific about it, there are plenty of official metrics that’ll support our superiority.  For example, Baltimore’s artists have a higher average income than their DC counterparts ($46,012 versus $41,118); the same is true for our musicians ($40,636 versus DC’s $34,109). However, Baltimore’s writers and editors earn less than their counterparts in the District (sigh).

Of course, $40k in Baltimore will go farther than the same amount in DC. City data guru Richard Florida crunched some numbers to find out how much money arts/entertainment/design workers have left over each month after paying for housing, and — no surprise — Baltimore beats out DC and Philadelphia.

What Gives? Calendars and Posters by Baltimore’s Greg Otto


Any Baltimorean will love calendars and posters by local artist Greg Otto who depicts cityscapes in vibrant colors. This Saturday, December 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Gundy’s gift shop in Roland Park will sell two calendars of Baltimore and four new Baltimore posters, among others in his collection of Baltimore and New York posters. Otto himself will be there also to sign the reproductions of his work.


739 Deepdene Road

Baltimore, MD 21210


Eight Over 80


Eight Over 80 is a four-part series. Check in Tuesday and Thursday this week and next for profiles of vital seniors whose daily pursuits of activism, art, science and more make Baltimore a far more inspiring place to live. – The Eds. 

Photographs by Anne Sachs.


In the case of eight Baltimoreans, age 80 seems to be the new 64. These eight men and women remain active in work and in Baltimore.  Although official retirees, they could hardly be considered “retired.”  

While Americans are often labeled workaholics, these eight fall into another category. They are still following their passions, passions born sometimes in childhood, others at mid-career. All have received numerous awards for their achievements, some honorary doctorates. While they say they have slowed down physically, all push themselves with regular exercise. All are fully engaged mentally.

Most, in the course of their lives, have had to overcome discrimination because of race, creed or gender. One of these giants said of his peers, “We were fortunate. The world changed so much in our lifetime.”

Three are over 90 and were alive during World War I. All lived through the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the civil rights movement. These eight have experienced the proliferation of the automobile, air travel and computers. They are connected to a world and to times that most of us alive today have not known. Our Baltimore is different because of their work in the past and their work today.


Clinton Bamberger, Jr.

D.O.B.: July 2, 1926, Baltimore, Maryland

Education: Loyola High School, ’44, Loyola College, ‘49, Georgetown Law School, ‘51

Military Service: Army Air Corps, 1945-46

Career, Present and Past:
Clinton Bamberger recently returned from “Utopia,” a.k.a. six weeks at Chautauqua Institution in upstate New York. A dedicated Baltimorean with an international reach, he read The Sun every day while there. One item still bothers him: why Baltimore city students are overlooked for summer employment in Ocean City. He’s just e-mailed the executive director of the Baltimore Safe and Sound Campaign to discuss the issue with her. 

She’s one of many “young people” who are his focus these days. So is the young man he’s connecting with a brilliant South African judge and the woman who runs a program for young prisoners who were children when they committed a crime and were charged as adults.

“I’m a busy-body,” he says in characteristic humor. That’s why he’s up at 7:30 a.m. emailing before breakfast, which he often postpones to 10:30 when his wife Katharine returns from errands. Many around the world seek his counsel.

The former Piper & Marbury (now DLA Piper) partner in 1963 represented a death row inmate; the case prompted the Supreme Court to write the Brady rule requiring the prosecution to make evidence available to the defense. In 1965 he accepted Sargent Shriver’s invitation to create the first federal effort to establish and support civil legal aid offices. Under his leadership the national budget for Legal Aid increased from $5 million to $25 million with offices in every state. “That year changed my life,” he says. 

All of his work since then has stemmed from that experience. “Through my year in Washington, I became involved in clinical legal education where law students, under the supervision of faculty, practice law for people who can’t afford it.” He left Piper to become Dean of the Law School at Catholic University, which then opened one of the first clinical law offices in a nearby depressed area. 

In 1979 he became executive vice president of the congressionally chartered Legal Services Corporation and later worked in Harvard’s clinical law office in a depressed area of Boston. He thought he would retire in Boston but was recruited to run the clinical teaching program at the University of Maryland Law School. 

After all of his work as Senior Fulbright Fellow in Nepal at 66, with visiting professorships at law schools from Stanford to South Africa and legions of awards, Bamberger feels passionately that more work needs to be done. “Legal Aid still only meets about 25 percent of the need… Any way you calculate it, the United States lags behind every developed Western democracy in its support for legal assistance for the poor.”

Key to Longevity of Engagement: “I just keep moving.”  He’s recently retired from 13 years as a founding board member of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, where a community fellowship was established in his honor. 

Current challenge: “My pacemaker,” he jokes then adds, “The direction in which the country is headed…I’m 85. I will help wherever I’m asked.” The phone rings. 


Beatrice L. Levi


DOB: July 12, 1919, Baltimore, Maryland

Education: Western High School, 1936; Goucher College, 1940

Career, Present and Past:
“I don’t do much,” says Beatrice (Beatty) Levi, age 92, then rattles off a list of books she’s just read. During her 6 a.m. breakfast, she watches Charlie Rose on TV then thoroughly reads The New York Times and tends a massive balcony garden of vegetables, herbs and geraniums, which also grow in her spacious apartment. 

In good weather Levi drives out on errands, meets one of a wide circle of friends for lunch, attends a program of the Art Seminar Group whose executive committee she recently left for the first time in 55 years. “I don’t miss a program if I can help it,” she says from a chair in her library that’s her command center, complete with cell phone, land-line, Web TV, printer and iPad she’s had since they first came out. 

Because of a nine-month bout with lymphoma, she now “says ‘no’ to everything” like board memberships, but she still travels regionally with the Art Seminar Group which she helped found in 1956. “A group of us, led by Sue Baker, went on the ‘Ladies’ Day Special’ train to New York for $6.75 roundtrip.” Over the next 55 years the group expanded and diversified; it now numbers 299 members, including men.

Most importantly, the Art Seminar Group in the 1950’s was, she says, the first group in Baltimore to bridge the great divide between Christians and Jews. “Deep friendships were made that would otherwise never have been made….Baltimore’s a different city because of the Art Seminar Group,” says Levi whose active life still revolves around its membership.

Levi not only led the Art Seminar Group for more than a half century, in 1971 she also co-founded in Tips on Trips and Camps, an international business that served parents, in Baltimore and abroad, looking for unusual travel opportunities for children. As vice president of the League of Women Voters, still a passion, Levi worked on revision of the district court system and on redistricting to make government more representative of all races.

Key to Longevity of Involvement: “I’m an optimist. I’m not negative.” She attributes that attitude to her leadership accomplishments and to her comeback from lymphoma. “My two daughters keep me challenged. One is a leading art dealer in New York, and one has a chair at the University of Washington and also at the University of Sydney. I’ve learned so much from them.”

Current challenge: “The weather,” she says on a warm late-summer afternoon. “I have to water everything.” Sometimes twice a day. 


Up Next Tuesday, 11/15: Martin Millspaugh and Iris Rosenblatt