The Art of Business: Creativity Exchange at the BMA The free, innovative event will take place Feb. 11.


On Saturday, February 11th, the Baltimore Museum of Art will present “Creativity Exchange: Intersections Between Black Artists and Black-Owned Business.” Perfect for those who are looking to expand their business knowledge in a creative way, the afternoon will include a vendor fair, storytelling workshop, panel discussion and reception catered by Dovecote Cafe.  Panelists include black artists Myrtis Bedolla, the founding director of Galerie Myrtis, Pierre and Jamyla Bennu of Exit the Apple and Oyin Handmade  and Jay Jacksonrao, the CEO of The Next Phase Studios.

The idea for the Creativity Exchange stemmed from the BMA’s online exhibition, “Questioning the Canon,” which featured contemporary works by African-American artists. The BMA decided that they wanted to create an event that was not simply a traditional Black History Month event, but rather one that is both positive and productive for the black community of Baltimore. The staff had noticed that there was a sizable emergence of artists that were working on their creative skills as well as entrepreneurship, and they wanted to build upon that with unique programming. As Gamynne Guillotte, the Director of Interpretation and Public Engagement , said, “Wouldn’t it be great to do this as a teach-in?”

The event allows people at different stages in their careers to learn from others who have been there, done that.

“I’m really excited to be able to use the museum space as a platform for these kind of conversations, and to become a space to really activate Baltimore’s Artists’ community,” Guillotte says.

While learning and networking at the vendor fair, participants will have the opportunity to explore and purchase products such as Afro-Punk Jewelry by Sarah Juanita, dresses by Keisha Ransom, bath and body products by Pierre and Jamyla Bennu, woodwork by Darryl Patterson, and apparel by Andrea Tomlin.

The fair will provide an opportunity for participants to both expand their art collections and chat with fellow artists, giving  local craftsmen and women a chance to find inspiration and community in Baltimore’s black arts scene.

One such artist, Darryl Patterson of D. Patterson Design Studio, will present his work at the vendor fair. After first using woodworking as a form of rehabilitation to heal from an injury, Patterson realized the potential of his artwork and expanded his practice into a successful business.

“I appreciate any opportunity I can to not only promote or display my craftsmanship, but to promote the whole idea that no matter what color you are, you have the ability to create quality craftsmanship,” Patterson says.

Beginning at 12:30pm, writers and thinkers are invited to the “Finding Your Niche: Storytelling Workshop,” co-sponsored by Maryland Institute College of Art and their Business of Art and Design program. Lead by Heather Bradbury, the Director of MICA Open Studies’ Master of Professional Studies Program, the program is designed to help participants develop and communicate an authentic message for their business, learning to create genuine, personal and business-smart stories for their brands.

Later in the afternoon, everyone will have the opportunity to listen to a panel of successful artists and entrepreneurs. The panelists will share previous experiences and creative advice, all aimed at helping artists and businesspeople from all walks of life to exchange ideas, connect with the Baltimore audience and celebrate Black History together with the artistic community.
 “The idea of bringing black creatives together and melding that with black entrepreneurs is incredibly interesting to me,” says Jay Jacksonrao, CEO of Baltimore podcasting firm The Next Phase Studios. “It’s a world that I live in and enjoy. I’m excited to speak with a lot of people with very creative thought processes, who are able to try and answer open ended questions and solve problems that are seemingly impossible.”
Free. 12-5pm at BMA.


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