Baltimore: Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Social Cohesion

The Baltimore Strategy Group was convened in partnership with the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and was held on their campus. The vision for its goal was perhaps best articulated by MICA president, Samuel Hoi:

Leveraging and amplifying our many native assets and possibilities with tenacious determination in a holistic and systemic way, Baltimore evolves into a socially cohesive, economically vibrant, and culturally rich and innovative city that has prevailed over a history of racially segregating policies, broken social structures, vicious cycles of poverty, and a culture of fragmentation.

The diversity in our creative capital and the fundamental equity of our creative economy are defining aspects of the city’s renaissance. Community and citizenry empowerment through creative engagement of our people, as well as artistic excellence as formally assessed in professional practices, are equally valued.

There is strong and decisive public leadership supported by private sector partnerships to position the whole city across its geography and constituencies of all background for opportunities and advancement. For both creative and social achievements, especially for cross-sector coalition efforts, Baltimore is a model for other urban cities dealing with similar sets of assets and challenges.

In addition to the meeting, Strategy Group participants were treated to a series of site visits to witness firsthand the inspiring work going on throughout the city. A bus tour of the Station North Arts & Entertainment District showed a neighborhood undergoing a radical transformation thanks to developments such as the Baltimore Design School, all new artist spaces, rehabbed theaters, and an array of public murals and sculpture. They were also taken to the southern neighborhood of Cherry Hill, where the Youth Resiliency Institute is strengthening links between generations with arts classes and performance programs for participants of all ages. Lastly, they went to Lockerman Bundy Elementary School, where the OrchKids program, run by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, is remodeling the after-school lives of over a thousand children through an immersive music experience.

Read more: Gathering Gold Against the Gloom