Tag: maryland state arts council

Thank God We Are Always Surprised



Fiction writer Michael Downs recently received the largest Individual Artist Award given by the Maryland State Arts Council. In this frank yet philosophical talk, he ponders the role of art in a world rampant with violence and tragedy.

What follows is adapted from remarks made at the Maryland State Arts Council’s reception for winners of 2013 Individual Artist Awards. This year, the state government supported 87 Maryland artists, writers, and performers. The reception was held May 20 at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Moments before, they had been running: Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour laced in tight knots across their unhappy feet, feet which had complained at Mile 11 or 18 or 22, but hurt no longer because this was the finish and nothing hurt anymore, not their crunchy ankles or their sore knees or that sharp cramp felt near the heart just a few strides ago. Those quicker runners who had already arrived ate bananas and smiled for cell-phone cameras, hands upraised and fingers making a V for victory, not for peace, not really, though peace is a thing much wished for, a thing on which so much depends.

Baltimore’s Got Talent: Maryland State Arts Council Honors 87

"Portrait of Duke as the Pacifier Punk," oil on panel, Katie Miller
“Portrait of Duke as the Pacifier Punk,” oil on panel; copyright Katie Miller (IAA Award winner); courtesy CONNERSMITH, Washington, DC

Baltimore is such a hyper-creative place. Our graffiti is grand; our symphony’s uncommonly strong; our acclaimed writers, artists, and indie musicians get things done. And our state’s pretty artistically great, too. Eighty-seven Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award recipients were announced earlier this week, each artist receiving healthy grants of either $1,000, $3,000, or $6,000, respectively. The grants are meant to help advance artistic careers. Almost 600 state residents applied for funding in this year’s areas of discipline: Fiction; Painting; Media/Digital/Electronic Arts; Solo Theatrical Performance; and Works on Paper. Click here for a full list of recipients, their disciplines, and counties of residence.

“Artists and art making in Maryland help fuel our creative economy and expand opportunities for cultural engagement across the state,” says Theresa Colvin, executive director of MSAC. “The diverse works of exceptional individual artists is essential to the arts industry, which generates a billion dollars a year in Maryland.”

So how will Baltimore’s best creative citizens be spending their competitive cash? Find out after the jump.

Poetry Outloud


Poetry Out Loud, a program of the Maryland State Arts Council, will hold tomorrow afternoon the Maryland State Poetry Outloud Finals at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, the program helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.   

Aaron Henkin of WYPR’s “The Signal” will host the competition featuring poetry recitation performances from the nine Maryland high school students vying for a spot at the Poetry Out Loud national competition in Washington, D.C. this May.    

The free event will also feature a performance by Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter, ellen cherry.  

After successful pilot programs in Washington, DC, and Chicago, Poetry Out Loud was launched in high schools nationwide in 2006 and now involves more than 365,000 students annually. This year, Poetry Out Loud in Maryland reached more than 15,000 students, grades 9-12, in 17 counties and 500 schools across the state.  

Maryland State Poetry Out Loud Finals

1:00 p.m., Saturday, March 3, 2012

Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Auditorium,   

Baltimore Museum of Art