City seeks Eubie Blake Center sponsor

February 20, 1993|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

The city is seeking to privatize, or find another organization to assume responsibility for, the Eubie Blake Cultural Center, a multipurpose arts facility at 409 N. Charles St.

Dorothy Jordan, director of public information for the Urban Services Agency, which runs the center, said yesterday that talks have begun with Coppin State College about taking over the center. "But no decisions have been made," she said.

The center could also move to the Brokerage, near the Inner Harbor inwhich the city plans to open a children's museum. But that's up in the air, too, Ms. Jordan said.

If Coppin doesn't take over the center, the city will explore that idea with other organizations, Ms. Jordan said.

"I can't say right now" whether the center would be closed if no other organization is found, she said. "But we're very optimistic that we can find someone. It would be a pity to close it; it's a good program."

Ms. Jordan said there could be a decision on "possibly by the end of the fiscal year, June 30."

The city is seeking to shift responsibility for its cultural program, of which the center is a part, run under a $365,885 Federal Community Development Block Grant, in order to put the grant to other use. Asked what that might be, Ms. Jordan said that decision would be up to the Urban Services Commission.

Opened in 1978 as Gallery 409, (it got its current name in 1983) the center's activities include art shows, a recital hall, and the Eubie Blake Museum, dedicated to the Baltimore-born black composer, says its director Norman Ross. It also sponsors the annual African American Arts and Heritage Festival.

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