I’m honored and excited to acknowledge my role helping to co-organize the art voting initiative Citizen Artist Baltimore along with my friend and fellow arts and equity advocate Rebecca Chan. Citizen Artist Baltimore is a non-partisan advocacy effort that is helping to mobilize the creative community in Baltimore City, by providing the opportunity for mayoral candidates to outline their positions and goals related to arts, culture and humanities. The effort serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations, and institutions to work together to advance inclusion of these issues in the April 2016 Primary Mayoral Election and beyond. The initiative also encourages voter registration and long-term engagement in the democratic process. We are collecting the top priorities of people who care about the arts through a citywide series of six facilitated listening sessions in January 2016. Input gathered from these listening sessions will be used to inform a questionnaire that will be sent to mayoral candidates in February. All candidate responses will be made public, and will culminate in a March candidate forum leading up to the April 26, 2016 Primary Election.
As all of my public art projects, I’m operating in a few different ways to to amplify our message and mobilize participants. As the initiative’s Creative Director, I designed the the #CitizenArtistBmore visual identity above, built the website, assisted with co-writing all of the copy featured, am designing all of the print collateral (such as these fun buttons), and am documenting events and pushing a multimedia story out across our facebook and twitter pages. As a co-organizer, I’ve been working closely with Rebecca, GBCA, MCA and our diverse steering committee members to host our series of six listening sessions across the city. We talking with anyone who benefits from arts and culture about their top priorities with it come to the arts, Baltimore City, and our next mayor. From block parties and creative upstarts to public art and marching band performances, the arts have for decades been making a tremendous social and economic impact in Baltimore. We all know this and want to make sure that the next mayor includes arts and culture in their vision for healing and strengthening an already vibrant and unparalleled cultural epicenter: Baltimore, the Greatest City in America.