“Cultural Arts Family Reunion”: A Gathering to Rediscover and Rebuild Community at the Cherry Hill Arts and Music Waterfront Festival

The Johns Hopkins University and University of Baltimore’s Cultural Arts Legacy Project will be hosting free cultural arts activities at the Cherry Hill Arts and Music Waterfront Festival on July 4, 2022, at the festival grounds from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The day will start with the naming of the 2022 Griot of the City, in honor of Mary Carter Smith. The community gathering will feature an interactive archival image exhibit with archive materials from the Eubie Blake Center Archives and the Robert Breck Chapman collection here at the RLB Library’s Special Collections and Archive.

A Oral History Humanities Truck will be there, so participants can record living history on the spot.

No family reunion would be complete without music and side-stage performances featuring Cultural Arts alumni and legacy organizations, including Christopher Funn and the Dunbar Jazz Band, dancers, and a drum circle will round out the affair.

The Baltimore Cultural Arts Legacy Project is the brainchild of University of Baltimore, RLB Library’s Outreach and Engagement Librarian Angela Koukoui,  with the guidance from an advisory group of veteran arts practitioners and advocates with ties to the city’s signature Cultural Arts programs.

History of the Baltimore Cultural Arts:

The Baltimore Cultural Arts Project was created by the Model Cities Program in the late 1960s in order to provide creative programs, events, and instruction in theater, dance, music, art, and more. Born out of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty and the Model Cities legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in 1966, the Model Cities Program in Baltimore (and throughout cities in the U.S.) provided federal funds as an anti-poverty program in Johnson’s Great Society Campaign. Later in 1974, the Urban Services Agency of Baltimore City ran the Cultural Arts Project in addition to education, employment, housing, and other programs and services for low-income families until 1993.Free and widely available dance, performance and visual arts education for three generations of Baltimoreans are some of the longest standing legacies of the Cultural Arts Project. CAP also led to the founding of several key arts initiatives and institutions in the city, including AFRAM, Arena Players, Eubie Blake Cultural Center, and Baltimore Dance Theater.

This project is made possible with the generous support of our volunteers, in-kind donations from the Eubie Blake Cultural Center, and The Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts (BHCLA) Inheritance Baltimore grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


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