To be able to express oneself freely is one of the most important ways of staying sane and living a productive life. I learned this lesson early on and I did it through writing in a personal journal. It was – and still is — therapeutic and has helped me deal with major and minor challenges throughout my life.
One of my favorite authors, the late Graham Greene, put it this way. “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.
Today, our community is facing a horrific pandemic that has turned our world upside down. We are hurting in every imaginable and unimaginable way. And throughout history, those who have helped us the most to cope through crises are the writers – storytellers — artists, singers, painters, sculptors, composers, musicians, videographers, film directors, dancers et al. And I would add many, but not all, in public positions who really understand the importance of music, art, drama, etc.
When my youngest child, Ashley, moved to Baltimore seven years ago, I visited her regularly and each time she would take me to art museums, galleries, music festivals, book fairs, and numerous community events that demonstrated the rich, diverse culture of Baltimore. And when I moved here, I continued to be exposed to an arts community that had deeper roots than many of the arts communities I’ve seen in many other cities in the United States.
Living in Baltimore, I’ve seen and have appreciated the artwork of artists and musicians and writers et al that reflect the diverse culture of the city. And more and more, I’ve seen how artists have tackled the issues of Baltimore and how artists who’ve visited Baltimore and shown their work have inspired Baltimore’s artists. I think of Mark Bradford, the LA-based artist whose “Tomorrow is Another Day” exhibit last year at the Baltimore Museum of Art tackles tough subjects.
If elected, I will push hard and use every opportunity afforded me through the bully pulpit to support the arts in every form from the grassroots level – schools, communities, diverse organizations – the museum level. As a community, we need to engage and support the thousands who are involved in the arts as well as the Baltimore community at large. We can’t get through this tough period if we don’t support the vibrant arts community that gives Baltimore its signature strength – resilience.