As I traveled across the state in December I had multiple experiences of community-based art.
When arts experiences respond to communities the creative energy has a profound impact because it is fueled by authentically connecting people to ideas that disrupt their routines. Chestertown’s A DICKENS OF A CHRISTMAS allowed residents to walk through a Victorian holiday as musicians, storytellers and other artisans brought High Street to life; in Annapolis, the Ballet Theatre of Maryland performed a colorful NUTCRACKER for students who had never before seen professional dance; Maryland Art Place held an UNDER $500 SALE that buzzed with urgent holiday shopping as purchased art work was snatched off the walls; and the Maryland Department of Transportation enchanted subway commuters by placing a spinet piano and pianist (Isaiah Wheatley) in the Baltimore Street station (the piano will remain in the station for any commuter to play!). None of these opportunities would exist without the fundamental understanding that the arts are meant to disrupt our routines and elevate how we see the world. I wish you a New Year filled with creative disruptions!
Ken Skrzesz, Executive Director, Maryland State Arts Council