Musings of a Project Coordinator, Episode I

Greetings!  I’m Kalima Young, the project coordinator for the Baltimore Art + Justice Project. I’m a Baltimore native, a researcher, an activist, a lecturer and a filmmaker. I love discovering this city’s community assets and resources. I enjoy bringing people together to work toward strengthening Baltimore, and I’m excited about my role in melding transformative art with ongoing community work toward solidarity and equality.

I’ve spent the last six months meeting a wide variety of artists and designers who work across the spectrum of social justice issues. I’ve assembled an advisory group of artists, funders, researchers, activists and advocates to help guide me through the life of this project.   As a result of my outreach, I have discovered the following:

1) Baltimore has as much beauty, energy and innovation as it has poverty, public health crises and crime.

2) COMMUNITY is a word that is overused and misused by people who do not:
a. clearly understand what it is, and/or
b. really believe in it.

3) Everyone disagrees about what makes an artist a ‘Community Artist’.

4) There is an awful lot of talking about the challenges in Baltimore but we all find it hard to figure out concrete solutions.

5) There are many amazing artistic endeavors happening across this city but people have trouble leaving their own neighborhoods and “communities” to see them all.

Can we harness the energy of this vibrant, quirky, eclectic artist/designer landscape to empower this city?

Can we acknowledge racial and class barriers in Baltimore’s arts world so we can start creating real solutions?

Can we more deeply engage advocates in their understanding of art as a tool for justice?

Let’s answer these questions together.

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