September 27, 2017 ———- Baltimore Clayworks, Inc. today announced its new Board of Trustees and confirmed that the Mount Washington-based non-profit organization will reopen its doors and resume operations in October.
Following an eight-month grassroots campaign to “Save Baltimore Clayworks” organized by students, artists, teachers and donors, the Agreement for the Continuation of Baltimore Clayworks was signed last week. Effective yesterday, the previous Board has resigned, and leadership of the organization is now in the hands of an all-new Board of Trustees. Keys to the two historic buildings on Smith Avenue were transferred to the new leadership, and the business of reopening officially begun.
“This year was an arduous and often painful journey for all who care about Clayworks,” said Susan Patz, one of the campaign organizers and a member of the new Board. “Today we are in position to welcome back the large community, and to assure everyone that Baltimore Clayworks has turned the page and is indeed alive again.”
In addition to Ms. Patz, the new Trustees named in the Agreement are Bilal Ali, George Ciscle, Alan Cooper, Pat Halle, Mary Jo Kirschman, Mary Ann Mears, Larry Sandler, Rima Semaan, Leathia West. The Board immediately voted to add additional Trustees: Ronni Aronin, Deborah Bedwell, Marsha Smelkinson, and John K. Smith. (See additional information here.)
The first official meeting of the new Board will be next week. The Board will address pressing issues and confirm plans that have been actively developed by community members over the past months. In mid-July the arts programming of Baltimore Clayworks was suspended, all staff laid off, and the doors closed in Mount Washington. Since that time community members have met in small groups to maintain their connections and plan for the resumption of operations they hoped would occur.
Included in the initial Board actions will be:
- Search for a new Executive Director;
- Election of corporate officers and identification of Board roles and responsibilities;
- Immediate re-employment of Facilities Manager Sam Wallace to coordinate necessary work to prepare the studios, classrooms, equipment and offices to re-open for operations;
- Immediate re-employment of Education Coordinator Matt Hyleck to develop schedules for classes and education programs;
- Coordination with artists to return to studios and resume the Resident Artists programs;
- Addressing the financial obligations, accounting needs, and legal requirements for the 501(c)3 non-profit institution; communication with all creditors and vendors to enable resolution of outstanding accounts and resumption of services;
- Fund-raising and development activities for the rest of 2017;
- Assignments for planning the resumption of Exhibitions and Gallery sales programs, and Community Arts programs;
- Addressing long-term Strategic Planning, real estate assets, governance, ByLaws, membership and policy changes.
Beginning next week, the phones will be answered, and other communication vehicles gradually restored. Volunteer teams will be working inside each of the buildings on Smith Avenue. Announcements of progress, public opening dates, and schedules of programs will be publicized in coming days.
To answer questions and introduce members of the new Board to the community, Baltimore Clayworks has scheduled a Community Meeting for Wednesday, October 11, from 6-8pm, to be held at the Parish Hall at the Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St. Map: https://goo.gl/maps/AYW2Z2ziPmC2.
A celebration event for the “Grand ReOpening of Baltimore Clayworks” will happen later this Fall.
To contact Baltimore Clayworks this week, persons are asked to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.