Growth in the arts

MICA, Peabody: Additions show optimism in Baltimore's central role in arts training in America.

September 29, 2001

TODAY'S "virtual groundbreaking" for the Brown Center at the Maryland Institute College of Art will punctuate the college's yearlong celebration of its evolution. It was founded 175 years ago as the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts.

Famed for its ingenuity at recycling valuable old buildings, MICA this time is giving Baltimore a signature modernist glass edifice in which its students will advance the digital arts of the new century. The building is the gift of Eddie C. and Sylvia Brown.

While growing from a respected regional art school into a national leader in the past quarter century, the Maryland Institute has also grown into a real college campus straddling Mount Royal Avenue. It has strengthened the Bolton Hill residential community as well as the Mount Royal Cultural District.

This dedication catches up with the actual groundbreaking Sept. 19 at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University at Mount Vernon Place. Phased construction over the next two years will add performing and practice space for the next generation of musicians. It will also link the existing buildings on the block in an internal campus for all seasons that will improve the amenities of students when they are not in their practice rooms, and give a grander experience to audiences at Peabody performances.

The Peabody Institute, like the Maryland Institute, contributes nationally in its field while strengthening a Baltimore neighborhood, the Mount Vernon Cultural District. After hunkering down in security for the past generation as crime reached the neighborhood after dark, the renovations will open up the Peabody invitingly to the city once again.

The strength of both the Maryland Institute and the Peabody Institute in their respective arts contributes to Baltimore's wealth as a city, economically, educationally and spiritually.

The bolstering of two distinct and valuable neighborhoods is an added plus.

In a time of pessimism and challenged spirits, these two groundbreakings are a dose of just what the nation needs.

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