Baltimore foundation pledges $1 million to the arts

December 01, 1992|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,Staff Writer

The Baltimore Community Foundation will provide $1 million to strengthen arts and cultural programs in Greater Baltimore, it announced yesterday at Center Stage to a gathering of corporate, political, education and arts leaders.

The foundation's pledge is based upon the findings of a report on the state of local arts: "Building Community: The Arts & Baltimore Together," which was commissioned from Ernest L. Boyer, president of The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The two-year study looks at how arts and culture improve and invigorate communities through such events as Artscape and such institutions as the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Concluding that the spirit of the community can be sustained best through "the universal language of the arts," the report calls for a regional effort, supported by civic leaders, to advance arts and cultural institutions despite the current economic difficulties.

"We live by symbols," Dr. Boyer said at a news conference preceding the report's formal presentation. "At a time where there's a tug of war of priorities, we need something about the role of the arts defined clearly and affirmed."

In general, the report calls for improving arts education in schools; for increasing public and private funding of the arts with special attention to emerging institutions; for expanding collaboration between arts institutions; and for increasing the community's commitment to cultural diversity in the arts.

Specific recommendations include:

* Creation of a Greater Baltimore Cultural Forum to coordinate and reinforce the efforts of all art and cultural institutions throughout the region.

* Introducing a community arts service program in schools which gives credit for apprenticeships at arts or cultural institutions.

* Organizing an experimental "United Way" shared fund-raising program for emerging arts institutions.

* Expanding the duties of The Mayors Advisory Committee on Art and Culture to include organizing local leaders to hold Artscape-type festivals around the city.

After discussing the report's recommendations with local arts and cultural leaders, the Baltimore Community Foundation will set up programs to begin awarding grants to qualified organizations some time next year.

Half of the program's money will come from the Community Foundation and the remainder from the Helen P. Denit Charitable Trust, a private foundation established with the assets of the late Montgomery County resident and administered by Security Trust.

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