Arts & Culture

DeRay Mckesson
Mar 28, 2016 · 3 min read

Baltimore is Charm City, a city with a rich culture. Art makes our lives better, as it is a reflection of our reality, our homes, and our dreams. Investing in art and culture is an investment in the creativity of the city itself.

“Arts and culture contribute to the social, physical, intellectual, and economic life of a city.”

Baltimore residents have access to vibrant arts and cultural activities

Together we can:

1. Establish the Mayor’s Office of Culture and Arts to inform decisions about local development at all levels and by all sectors, based on an understanding of cultural — not just economic and environmental — impact. This office would implement the following strategies:

  • Develop a City-wide Cultural Plan and Policy that recognizes and embraces arts and culture widely — including both fine artists and local craftsmen, museums and local businesses, public art exhibits and neighborhood gatherings — and performs intentional outreach to traditionally underrepresented artist communities.
  • Prioritize investment in Community-Based Arts and artists representing marginalized populations, providing dedicated funding and resources to expand opportunity and transform shared spaces into vibrant and nurturing communities, for example in West Baltimore (Model:Tucson Pima Arts Council PLACE (People, Land, Arts, Culture, and Engagement) Initiative).
  • Connect local artists to funding opportunities through dedicated staff responsible for engaging the arts community, sharing resources and opportunities for funding, mentorship, and access to facilities. The City will host a series of art fairs to showcase and direct funding to local artists and expand the Open Walls Initiative to hire local artists to beautify the City (i.e. painting murals, etc.) (Model: Baltimore Open Walls Initiative, San Francisco).
  • Create a Coordinated Arts Education Initiative to ensure that every child receives high quality arts and cultural education. The City will collaborate with Baltimore schools, artists, businesses, cultural organizations, faith- and community-based groups, youth and families to ensure all students have access to arts education and enhanced out-of-school time arts learning opportunities in parks, libraries and other neighborhood facilities (Model: Dallas’ Thriving Minds).

2. Boost investment from 1% to 2% of capital construction costs for public art and arts enrichment programming. The City will also update the ordinance to give preference to local artists and arts and culture organizations and to require private developers building on land acquired or assembled using public resources to participate in the Percent-for-Art ordinance (Model: City and County of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco Arts Commission collaboration).

3. Ensure artists have access to facilities by making vacant and underutilized commercial buildings available to be used for arts purposes and make the permitting process easier for artists to access spaces needed to display/ promote their work. (Model: Tilsner Artists’ Co-op and Northern Warehouse in Lowertown St. Paul)

4. Expand opportunities for artists to live in the city through affordable “artist housing” and homeownership assistance.


Authorized by Citizens for DeRay McKesson — Nakeia Drummond, Treasurer

DeRay for Mayor

Supporting DeRay McKesson for Mayor of Baltimore

DeRay Mckesson

Written by

I will never betray my heart. Curator, connector. TFA. Educator. Bowdoin alum. Protestor. Snapchat: derayderay. IG: iamderay. deray@thisisthemovement.org

DeRay for Mayor

Supporting DeRay McKesson for Mayor of Baltimore