The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) today announced their participation in For Freedoms, a national platform for creative civic engagement discourse, and direct action. Through its 50 State Initiative, For Freedoms is bringing together a multiplicity of voices to spark a national dialogue about art, education, commerce, and politics. Members of the public are invited to join in the conversation during a reception and artist talk with For Freedoms co-founder Hank Willis Thomas (left) on Wednesday, October 17, 5–7:30 p.m. at MICA’s Falvey Hall.
In conjunction with the program, MICA announced the appointment of Thomas as its first Creative Citizenship Fellow. In spring 2018, MICA, along with the California College of the Arts (CCA) worked with For Freedoms (www.forfreedoms.org) to establish the For Freedoms Residency in Creative Citizenship. At its core, this joint residency is an artistic and organizational strategy for the two colleges to build frameworks for democratic participation on their respective campuses and in their local communities, and to extend this work to other colleges, universities, and arts organizations at a national level.
Since fall 2017, the BMA has been encouraging communities throughout Baltimore to come together for creative conversations by hosting The Necessity of Tomorrow(s), public event series on art, race, and social justice and imagining the future. The October 17 reception and artist talk with Thomas is the third event in the series.
These initiatives reflect the commitments of the BMA and MICA to programs and initiatives that take community-based and publicly engaged approaches to art, contemporary discourse, and art and design education.
Hank Willis Thomas will be an artist in residence at MICA October 17–19. His multi-event engagement includes:
● For Freedoms Town Hall: The Role of Institutions in Civil Society – Wednesday, October 17, 3–5 p.m. at MICA’s Falvey Hall, co-sponsored and co-organized with the BMA. In addition to Hank Willis Thomas, speakers include: Samuel Hoi (MICA), Peter Zellner (Free School of Architecture), Christopher Bedford (BMA), Melani Douglas (National Museum of Women in the Arts), Heidi Daniel (Enoch Pratt Free Library) and Jenny Ferretti (MICA), who will discuss the role of institutions in contemporary civil society. The panel discussion is open to invited guests only.
● The Necessity of Tomorrow(s): Reception & Artist Talk with Hank Willis Thomas – Wednesday, October 17, 5–7:30 p.m. at MICA’s Falvey Hall, co-sponsored and co-organized with the BMA. Thomas will discuss the relationship of his artistic practice, civic engagement, community building and the role of the creative community in fostering a more civil society during the talk at 6 p.m. The reception begins at 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited, and is available on a first come, first served basis.
● For Freedoms Exhibitions – Thomas will collaborate with MICA’s Curatorial Practice graduate students on Thursday, October 18, to develop exhibitions related to For Freedoms that will be on display January–March 2019. Thomas’s second visit to MICA for the closing of the exhibition in March 2019, includes a panel discussion with José Ruiz, Director of the MFA program in Curatorial Practice; Gerald Ross, Director of Exhibitions; and one Curatorial Practice student about the exhibition.
● For Freedoms Billboards – Two billboards designed by artist and BMA Trustee Adam Pendleton and artist Steve Locke respectively will be installed in two locations in Baltimore City: on Erdman Avenue, north of North Point Boulevard, and on North Avenue, east of Howard Street.
● For Freedoms Curriculum – MICA is developing a curriculum that will reside on the For Freedoms Web Platform that includes workshops, assignments, and other resources that will be available, open-source, to anyone interested.
● For Freedoms AICAD Panel Discussion & Luncheon – MICA, CCA, and For Freedoms will hold a panel discussion on Artists, Designers, Citizens and luncheon at the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) Symposium in Chicago on November 9, 2018. The purpose of these presentations will be to engage other art and design institutions and organizations in this initiative.