The Creative Alliance, that vital cynosure of all things arts, is about to turn 15 years old. We sat down with co-founder and program director Megan Hamilton, who always manages to make us smile.
What book or film most changed your life? On the Road by Jack Kerouac. In '07, I drove 11,407 miles looking for the soul of that book.
Who is your favorite Baltimorean, living or dead? George Peabody, who co-founded modern philanthropy and talked Johns Hopkins, Henry Walters, Enoch Pratt, and the gang into getting with the program.
What is the best advice you ever got? An old Mainer told me "Pay cash, save 10%, and take your lead from the weather."
What is the biggest mistake you've ever made? Watching our bartender serve a liquor board inspector a beer in our old venue when I had failed to get our one day license for the night.
What is the bravest thing you've ever done? I've lived clean and sober for 17 years.
What is the greatest problem facing Baltimore today? Not sure. Been kinda wrapped up with the fun stuff.
Tell the uninitiated what the Creative Alliance is all about. Creative Alliance is a hyper-prolific volcano of invigorating arts programming—exhibitions! performances! classes! more! Here, you can have a beer and a blast getting close to the heart of Baltimore's mega-fun art scene.
How much has CA grown in its 15 years of operation? Our first budget in 1995 was $800 raised from a benefit with Homicide actors. Our staff worked for espresso brownies. Now, we have a dozen full-time employees, have exhibited thousands of artists, and educate well over a thousand kids annually in free art classes.
It's hard, but name some of your favorite CA moments. Miss Astrid emceeing Trixie & Monkey's '08 Holiday Spectac-U-Thon. Vince Peranio's astonishing set production exhibition. Maryland's Chief Sewell Winterhawk Fitzhugh accepting a gift from Macario Carrillo of the Huicholes of Nayarit, Mexico, after our Songs on the Wind program. Kids lighting up—thousands over the years—when you tell them they did an awesome job building their lanterns for the Great Halloween Lantern Parade.
What do you tell newcomers to the CA? The bar is open, the popcorn machine is on, and you're gonna love it!