I am an extrovert and I like parties. Alone time is a necessity for any sort of creative production, but too many hours in a quiet house makes me blue. I can get stuck in a reticent state for days only to emerge, stunted and addled, wincing in the too-bright light of rapid-fire conversation. It takes time to get back into the swing of interacting with other people, but this transition from solitude to activation is sunlight for me. The energy of other humans, of trading ideas, of laughing and drinking coffee and arguing, inflates me like a sail. Meeting new folks and realizing connections between conversations, and finding opportunities for in-depth exchanges about things I actually care about, this is the stuff of life.
Equally great is existing in a space radiant with positive energy and buzzing with smart and beautiful people. I come away from a positive collective experience feeling whole and larger in this connection to others. This is why we choose to live in a city, to learn from other people and enjoy their company within an environment designed with these goals in mind.
Just as great art requires meeting it in the flesh, there is no substitute for encountering humans in person and gathering together, in large and small groups, around a common purpose. I do love my iPhone and would consider marrying it if my current marriage does not work out, but the truth is the world is diminished and artificially safe from inside the phone’s electric glow. Our devices are designed to separate us and keep us at home. A screen cannot ever be as piquant and ravishing and odd as taking your physical self to a well designed event with different people than usual and allowing your lives to meld unexpectedly. Physical proximity is a grounding sort of experience too, when you realize your own smug values and experiential knowledge is incomplete and, instead of posting a snarky comment, you look into another human’s eyes and realize how complicated everything is.
In modern life there are so few opportunities to meet new people and try new things in a safe place—taking a risk with your time, an increasingly precious commodity, and how do you know it’s a good investment? On the daily, I take my child to school, visit one of several grocery stores, and hang out at my house, with much of my time mediated through some sort of screen. In my work, though, I get to really see and hear people in person—in studios, galleries, college classrooms, and museums. I get to ask them questions and form my own opinions and sentences inspired by them and ask photographers to take their photo here, and with this lighting, and it’s the best thing I can think of. Through this work, I have made dear friends and collected innumerable stories from the place where I live, and these stories have also become dear friends. And I get to craft these stories with the smart, funny, and kind people I work with and our work together feels important.
BmoreArt’s magazine release parties capture the ethos of the publication. From the first one hosted at Maryland Art Place in November 2015, there was a sense of collective momentum, of sharing space together under beautiful silver balloon clouds made by René Treviño, eating tacos made by Katie Boyts from a taco stand made by Chris Attenborough, drinking Union Craft Beer, and dancing to music selected by DJ Michael Farley’s drag persona Ellen Degenerate.
It was a night that surprised and changed me, and I feel this way about each of our magazine release parties. They’re not about wealth or money or power, although they are a little bit about style and looking camera-ready; these parties mirror those presented in the magazine and are a microcosm of Baltimore’s creative communities. We hope that our representation lets the artists and inventive people making Baltimore into an exceptional place to live feel seen and heard and generates opportunities for those who don’t normally socialize together to realize how much they like each other.
Kelvin Bulluck, Cara Ober, Christine Ferrera, and Michael Anthony Farley
It’s hard for me to comprehend that we are about to release Issue 08 of our print magazine. Sometimes I can hardly believe we made even one issue, although lifting those heavy-ass boxes full of expensive paper immediately brings me back to reality. Every issue is a question, a love letter, an epiphany, a Sisyphean struggle, a magical yearbook, and Issue 08: Archive is no exception. Our team, which includes our immediate BmoreArt staff, as well as an expanding group of freelance writers, photographers, artists, and designers, decided on the theme of “Archive” last summer, and like all of our other issues I was completely intimidated by the hugeness of the concept. How can you tackle archive as a practice and a concept in 84 pages? It seems absurd and impossible, but that makes it worth doing.
In our archive issue, our writers explored the raw material of history as it becomes unearthed and accessible to more individuals, and the way that artists and culture producers transform historic evidence into the compelling stories of our time. We feature the Arch Social Club, Derrick Adams, UMBC’s Special Collections, the I. Henry Photo Project, Phylicia and Edward Ghee, Faidley’s Seafood at Lexington Market, the Afro-American Newspaper’s archives, the Spectrum of Fashion exhibition at the Maryland Historical Society, and the home and art collection of legendary Baltimore art power couple Richard Cleaver, an internationally known sculptor, and George Ciscle, founder of The Contemporary and MICA’s MFA in Curatorial Practice program. There’s so much more, but you’ll have to get the new issue to see it all.
We have worked so hard and with so much love and now it’s time to celebrate (insert champagne emoji here). Thank you to our collaborators and sponsors for your generous support, including Harriet Dopkin and Classic Catering, Chris Attenborough and Union Craft Brewing, Carlyn Thomas and La Cuchara, Arch Watkins and Old Line Spirits Company, Patrick Rife and Pixilated, and Abbey Parrish and QWRK. Thank you to the Enoch Pratt Free Library, to Jane Brown and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, and to all of our advertising partners who make it possible for this publication to exist. Baltimore City fuels our creative work and we strive to depict it in a way that reflects its unique character.
I look forward to seeing everyone at our next release party this Thursday, November 7. It’s important, now that this issue is complete, to come together and combine our separate energies into something much larger. This is the key to a great party: coming away feeling better, stronger, smarter, and happier than when you came in. And yes, having had your picture taken in that great dress with a handsome stranger is pretty fantastic too.
That said, please enjoy a set of previously unreleased polaroids from our last magazine party in May 2019 at the Parkway Theater by Jill Fannon! I love how the polaroid film makes it feel like Studio 54. Baltimore, I’m not sure you realize just how cool you are, and that’s just fine. We see you.
Photo Essay in Polaroids by Jill Fannon from Issue 07: Body Magazine Release at The Parkway