By Judith Levine
On February 13, 2020, John MacArthur and I attended Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis. Sponsored by Maryland Citizens for the Arts, the event was attended by people from all over the state. Many were organizers and administrators; fewer were artists. We split up and began speaking with fellow attendees and came home with a lot of new contacts. All were united in the need to see an increase in funding for the arts, gratitude for the current Maryland administration’s support and concern for lack of Federal support.
There was a slew of legislators speaking as expected, many who have been strong backers of funding for the arts, especially in education. The speakers who most impressed the audience though were Yumi Hogan and Joyce J. Scott. Yes, Hogan as in Larry. Yumi Hogan (shown at right) is the wife of the current governor and an exceptionally talented painter. She spoke most eloquently about the need for education AND support for working artists.
Then came Joyce Scott (who I'm shown with in the photo below). Scott’s work speaks for itself over her long and well-known career. But many don’t know that Scott is also a very gifted—and funny—verbal storyteller. She left all of us rolling on the floor with her stories, but then she had us feeling tears as she spoke of her ancestors who were slaves. This multi-talented artist used her time to take us through her personal story and that of her family, many of whom are just as talented.
After the formal speeches, we split up to meet with our legislators. Montgomery County has its own chamber, and we heard from our State Senator Nancy King. She has personally gotten many arts funding bills written and passed. I was invited to contact her office to continue our conversation. I also had the opportunity to touch base with legislator Kirill Reznik. Kirill is an immigrant, born in Ukraine; Nancy happens to be part of the LGBT+ community. Both understand what it means to be part of groups with specific needs and concerns.
John--who sketched the proceedings, shown below--and I hope to use the contacts we made to help the Montgomery Art Association grow and contribute to our goals of supporting each other as artists. I do urge our members to think about having MAA join this vigorous supporter of the arts in Maryland. Wheaton Arts Parade, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and BlackRock Center for the Arts are just three among many county groups who are members. And I personally look forward to getting to represent us again next year.