Baltimore City has a relatively new area under development, which has come to be known as Station North. It is an arts district, located in close proximity to the downtown area and the Maryland Institute College of Art.
So, for two days, October 25-26, 2013, approximately thirty artists from various backgrounds, ethnicities, interests and walks of life assembled in the rear of The Seventh Baptist Church to discuss how they could align themselves with and tap into the city's focus.
The development of Station North, the arts district, is unprecedented in the city and across the country. The development promises to bring resources for networking, performances and paid opportunities as Baltimore officials continue to develop this part of the city, thereby empowering artists..
The workshop, entitled Artists U, was the brainchild of Andrew Simonet, who, using social media, put out the call for participants. Before long, there was a waiting list of performing, visual and literary artists hoping for an opportunity to be a part of this endeavor.
Artists U gave participants the opportunity to network and find out about resources available in the pursuit of the arts. There were discussions about opportunities, funding, and other incentives available in the arts. Some challenges in the pursuit of the arts were noted and addressed as each participant brought their own level of expertise to share. There was advice given as well as success stories shared.
On one side of the room were large sheets of chart paper, used to reinforce information and to aid the visual learner.
Participants shared their goals and aspirations for their various parts in the arts as many of them transition from student status to "non-starving" artists in the nine to five world. There were recommendations and networking information given, depending upon the extent of the artist's exposure in the art world. Several of the workshop participants shared their line of work and the lessons they had learned along the way.
The focus was not totally upon the mental aspect of the arts, but there was also emphasis upon connecting with the spiritual/emotional realm as one participant spoke passionately about an emotional freeing technique, designed to address blocks in the creative flow process.
The ultimate goal appears to be in having the participants of Artists U to become empowered by becoming independent and accountable contractors in the area of the arts.
Additional partners in the development of the arts district and the workshop are the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council, the latter both of which provide funding to further artistic endeavors.
For further information, Andrew Simonet can be reached at AndrewSimonet@gmail.com.