Through partnership and collaboration, the Walters Art Museum regularly organizes and mounts exhibitions featuring the voices and perspectives of Baltimore's community. Whether exhibiting community art, inviting community members to be curators, or sharing the voices and stories of community, we use our walls and our spaces to share the stories and perspectives of the people who live, go to school, and work in Baltimore every day.
Our Newest Neighbors: Refugee and Immigrant Families Storytelling Project
The Walters teamed up with Wide Angle Youth Media (WAYM) to gather personal stories from families and children that have recently moved to Baltimore from all over the world. The Walters Art Museum worked with the families to gather written stories that described the places and journeys that families experienced before arriving to the states. Youth from WAYM followed up these written contributions by taking photographs of families at their respective community gathering sites. The photographs and audio clips were exhibited at the Walters Art Museum during International Family Day in June 2010.
Art of Purpose/Heroes in our Midst
The Walters has partnered with Baltimore arts-non profit Art on Purpose in the creation of two exhibitions featuring community created art in response to special exhibitions. Heroes in our Midst, the most recent, took place in 2009 in conjunction with the Walters exhibition Heroes, Mortals, and Myths in Ancient Greece. Heroes in our Midst was a project about modern-day Baltimore individuals who share attributes with the ancient Greek heroes featured in the Walters’ Heroes exhibition. Artists and museum educators worked with schools and community sites to share stories and recognize the parallels between ancient Greek heroes and our lives today. Two community exhibitions were mounted at the Walters as a result of the workshops. 1000 Ships, based on the heroism of Helen of Troy, celebrated 12 individuals in Baltimore public schools whose inherent charisma has had tremendous impact on school communities across the city. Twenty Years of Wandering was about the Odysseus-like heroism it takes for refugees, immigrants and the homeless to survive and thrive in Baltimore, and featured artwork created by clients of several Baltimore social service organizations that serve the homeless and refugee populations. Community partners involved in both exhibitions included: Baltimore City Public Schools, Healthcare for the Homeless, My Sister’s Place, Education Based Latino Outreach, Adelente Familia, The Jewish Community Center, The International Rescue Committee, and community members of the Ba’Hai faith.
Dawoud Bey/Portraits re-Examined
This artist-in-residence project took place in conjunction with the Contemporary Museum's exhibition Class Pictures, featuring photographs by celebrated American artist Dawoud Bey, who for the past several years has created portraits of young people challenging stereotypes about urban youth. During Bey’s artist-in-residency project, the artist collaborated with 12 teenagers from several Baltimore-area public, private, and home schools in a summer workshop that began with an exploration of how race, class and identity have been addressed in portraiture throughout art history. The Walters' collection became the basis for discussions about museum practice, its role in society and the role of contemporary art in museums with historical collections. The resulting focus exhibition Portraits Re/Examined: A Dawoud Bey Project, curated by Bey and the teens, featured 10 photographic portraits by Bey, juxtaposed with paintings, drawings and portrait miniatures from the Walters’ collection to create a unique dialogue.