A Baltimore native sings her way to the top.
Monica Floyd, aka Doll Phace, grew up in West Baltimore singing in church choirs and performing in Poly Follies, the annual show put on by her high school, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. "I always participated in theater groups and on dance teams," she says. "That was a very special part of my life." Then, while at Morgan State University, Doll Phace (a nickname coined by a fellow Poly student) saw an ad in the paper for someone trying to put together an all-girl group. "I got picked and we moved to California," she says.
The new Baltimore Design School brings fashion, architecture, and graphic design to public education.
It's early on a September morning during the first week of school, and seventh-grader Deasia Holland waits in the front office to confirm her class schedule, her grandmother, Darlene Sterling, at her side. Deasia is exceptionally stylish, her outfit casual enough for a school day, yet put together in a way—with bangles at her wrists and a bow placed just so—that she looks like she walked off the styled pages of a back-to-school photo shoot. Fashion is clearly something this kid has a knack for.
From an African slave canoe to a Dale Chihuly sculpture, a local business transports priceless artifacts and great works of art.
Along a busy industrial stretch behind BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport, Scott Pittman wipes the sweat off his brow, brought on by a record-breaking Baltimore heat wave. Once inside the several storage vaults of Bonsai Fine Arts, Pittman reads the thermostat on the warehouse wall: "70 degrees with 50 percent humidity," he says, proudly pointing to the Holy Grail of art-storage climate-control.
Local artists and experts choose 37 artworks in Baltimore that you have to see, and their selections just might stir up debate about our perceptions of art and the city around us.
When we asked a group of art aficionados to identify must-see works of art, we expected to hear about pieces in The BMA, The Walters, and other museums and galleries around town. We got that, and a lot more. Our respondents cited deserving masterpieces from Baltimore's bastions of high art, and they also made less obvious choices. You might expect the Cone Collection would get mentioned—which it did—but a stretch of Loch Raven Boulevard, or a SoWeBo barbershop? They made the cut, too, and such inclusions suggest that the definition of art is increasingly elastic. And why shouldn't it be?
New artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah not only wants to transform Centerstage—he wants to redefine Baltimore.
Kwame Kwei-Armah knows Baltimore. In fact, he knows it much better than you'd expect a transplanted Brit would. In fact, Kwei-Armah, who's just starting his new gig as Centerstage artistic director, has already forged a deep connection to the city, and that connection is driving his plans for reshaping the theater.
Baltimore's most notorious graffiti artist tries to go straight, juggling family, school, sobriety, and an art world that just might embrace him.
Frank Arthur doesn't just tell stories—he acts them out. Between bites of a Reuben at an Arbutus diner, Arthur recalls creeping past the Pepsi building on a summer night in 1986 with Scrappy G, One Way, and a few other graffiti writers in tow. An assortment of construction equipment and trucks concealed them from cars whizzing past on I-83. The expressway was being widened, and Arthur and his crew had determined that an enormous pile of metal support beams would be their next urban canvas.
"We wrote our butts off," recalls Arthur.
The venerable festival enters its fourth decade brimming with populism and newfound energy, thanks to its expansion into Station North.
It's too hot, too crowded, the parking is awful, but still we go every year. Because each time we're tempted to skip Artscape, we remember something special that happened at the last one, and we find ourselves heading down to Mount Royal Avenue once again.
A local beatboxer takes his skills to new heights, and new audiences, by performing with everyone from the BSO to Ethel Ennis.
Towson University's Fine Arts Building is relatively quiet on a Tuesday afternoon. That is, until you open the door leading to the dance studios on the first floor. Immediately, booming music fills the hallway, ricochets off the cinderblock walls, and gets louder as you approach room 1004, where a few dozen dancers in leotards and shorts pirouette, bend, and leap in time to the rhythm.
Local artist launches a crusade to ease Arab-American tensions with just one word.
While working on a novel in 2007 about survivors of the Iraq War, Baltimore resident Justin Sirois posted a request on an international website for Iraqis to answer his questions about the country's culture.
Questions ranged from "Where do you shop?" to "What kind of pets do you have?" Or, for those who had fled the country, he asked, "Why did you leave?"
Henry Wong converted an empty room above his downtown CD shop into a cultural hub dedicated to jazz and classical music.
Henry Wong came to the United States from Hong Kong to finish school and study medicine, but things didn't go as planned. The lure of Western culture proved too great and pulled him away from his studies. As a result, Hopkins has one less doctor, but Baltimore gained a tireless, though unlikely, cultural advocate, who has quietly transformed the tiny space over his Mt. Vernon CD shop into one of the city's busiest concert venues.