Thirteen local art collectives that run programs, spaces, parties, and publications were awarded a total of $67,000 last week from The Contemporary's Grit Fund. The money will help some grantees fund new projects, like Balti Gurls' three-part series that provides "creative safe space" for women of color, and help others continue their regular programming—like Current Space, who are looking to purchase their existing space plus a new location (CP contributors Lawrence Burney and Abdu Ali also won). That "labor of love" principle is cute, but it's nice that The Contemporary recognizes that when it comes down to it, artists do need a little cold, hard capital to get shit done.
←→ Station North
Station North's executive director Ben Stone resigned last week to accept a job at Washington's Smart Growth America after putting in four and a half years with Maryland's first official Arts & Entertainment District. During that time, Stone had a hand in establishing Open Walls Baltimore, the Station North CSA, Bmore Seoul to Soul, and the Ynot Lot, among other projects. The group's board is now conducting a national search for Stone's replacement. This could be a critical moment for SNAE and we hope that in the search for Stone's replacement they also look locally. Whoever takes Stone's place needs to have a grasp on where Baltimore's been, not just where it's going.
Last week, the press was prohibited from attending meetings between the Baltimore Development Corporation and Sagamore Development LLC that concluded with the approval of Sagamore's request of $535 million in public financing from the city (billionaire Kevin Plank is asking for millions more from state and federal agencies) for the Port Covington real estate project. It is possible that this money would be redirected from Baltimore City Schools, potentially reducing the schools' budget by hundreds of millions, and it would make Port Covington worth about one sixth of the entirety of the city of Baltimore. Citizens rely on journalism so they can be properly informed, especially in dealings with a quasi-governmental organization with practically no oversight.
↓ Boss Hög
Last month, when Gov. Larry Hogan was asked whether or not he would support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, he sidestepped the question. But as it seems increasingly likely that Trump will be the nominee, Boss Hög finally announced that he is not a Trump fan. "It's a mess. I hate the whole thing. I don't think we have the best candidates in either party that are being put up," Hög told the AP. "I don't like the dialogue." So who will Hög support? Blob-faced war-mongering misogynistic maniac Ted Cruz? Or the work-a-day women's rights-removing Republican, John Kasich? No matter, Maryland still loses. Hogan could endorse any RNC candidate, and it would still be a bad choice.
↓ Catherine Pugh
In a neck-and-neck battle with Sheila Dixon to become Baltimore's next mayor, Pugh's campaign made two troubling disclosures last week. The first was that Pugh's cash on hand, at $371,000, trailed Dixon's $476,000. The second was most of the reason for that deficit: 11 people and pseudo-corporations that had purportedly donated $6,000 to Pugh's campaign each actually hadn't. Their checks bounced—or something (one donor told City Paper he had put a "stop payment" order on his gift). As that news broke, the campaign went into damage control mode, Pugh claiming she knows nothing about the money she raises. Not a good look for the candidate who depicts herself as above scandal.