Maryland Art Place heading back home

Returning to former location after decade in Inner Harbor

September 29, 2010|By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland Art Place (MAP), founded nearly three decades ago to promote contemporary art, will move back to its former home in the developing Westside Arts District, after a decade in the Inner Harbor area.

"I think we can make a real difference on the west side, not that we didn't contribute down there," said Cathy Byrd, executive director of MAP.

In 1988, MAP purchased a five-story, 20,000-square-foot building on West Saratoga Street, where the organization was based until relocating the headquarters and main gallery space to Power Plant Live in 2001. The organization rented out space at the Saratoga Street site, where the 14 Karat Cabaret, one of MAP's projects, is located in the basement.

"The board voted unanimously for the move," Byrd said. "It's a question of renting 2,700-square feet vs. using a 20,000-square feet building we own. And we have an opportunity to grow an even greater constituency there. Being there every day, we're going to be a change agent for the community. We are planning to have a synergistic relationship with the other visual artists and theaters in the area."

The Westside Arts District will encompass the Hippodrome and the soon-to-open new location of Everyman Theatre, as well as various visual arts enterprises. MAP plans to offer artist studios, classrooms and gallery spaces in the Saratoga building, where a fundraiser will be held Nov. 12. The first exhibition is scheduled for early February.

"The opportunity is there just waiting," Byrd said, "and we're going to run with it."

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