Rawlings-Blake Review: Celebrating Our Innovation and Creativity

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Ready by 21

Your weekly update from Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

ISSUE #292

April 1, 2016

Light City Baltimore has created a sense of wonder and imagination in Baltimore that is the combination of innovation, light, music and artistic expression. When I was approached about the concept a little over a year ago I was thrilled with the idea we could bring a week-long night festival to life. Perhaps more important, was embracing the passionate vision of co-founders Brooke Hall and Justin Allen and expanding it into our neighborhoods. The idea of having communities work with artists to illuminate their streets was a special addition, and one I hope everyone will take time to explore.


We often hear reports about the amount of hard work that goes into making platforms like Light City Baltimore a success, but we seldom hear enough about the driving forces behind these events. In the case of Light City, numerous city agencies and departments have been working tirelessly to keep it running smoothly. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of the behind-the-scenes efforts from police to fire, department of public works and transportation, Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, and so many others. Their passion to make this global festival a success is evident in every installation, performance, and educational event.


As I walked through the festival the past several days I was happy to see people from our neighborhoods, young, old, families and couples, along with people from all over coming together. There were numerous languages being spoken. And throughout, Baltimoreans were helping our visitors take pictures, providing directions, making restaurant recommendations, and I know new friendships were formed.


Light City Baltimore has unlocked forward thinking ideas and tools to positively impact and grow healthy and sustainable communities in a way that we’ve never experienced before. The impressive line-up of workshops, art and entertainment has brought together diverse groups of designers, makers, artists, entrepreneurs, futurists, storytellers, and big thinkers to explore how emerging creative practices will shape our world.


As I introduced the Arts and Society panel at the Light City U Innovation Conference, that featured Marin Alsop, Director and Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Kwame Kwei-Armah, Creative Director at CenterStage; and Samuel Hoi, President of MICA; they, much like many of the other speakers, discussed how their respective passions led them to their higher purpose, which, in their case, is using the arts to transform lives and communities. Baltimore’s cultural institutions are blessed to have such extraordinary minds at the helm.


Light City Baltimore festivities continue through this weekend, ending  Sunday, April 3rd. I encourage our youngest residents to attend the Bright Lights Youth Festival which is specifically designed to engage middle and high school students around art and innovation. There are many fun panels planned along with leadership-building activities such as debate, poetry, dance, robotics, design and music. All events are free and open to the public. This 2-day youth festival kicks off today and ends tomorrow, Saturday, April 2nd.


I also want to emphasize the culinary talents of Baltimore chefs and encourage everyone to support our local restaurants and bars when exploring Light City Baltimore. There are hundreds of options.


As a final note, I would love to see everyone posting their pictures on #LightCityBaltimore. There have been some wonderful and amazing posts and I know your contribution will make it even more special.


stephanie rawlings-blake signature


Stephanie Rawlings-Blake


City of Baltimore

Fire Ceremony

Rawlings-Blake's final budget would prevent school funding drop, increase parking tax

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has proposed a $2.6 billion city budget that would prevent a drop in funding for schools, raise the tax people pay to park in public garages and reduce property taxes for owner-occupied homes. (BALTIMORE SUN)




State lawmakers approve hundreds of millions in aid for Baltimore, await Hogan's possible veto

The General Assembly agreed Thursday to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to spark a renaissance in Baltimore. Mentorship programs would be created for children from low-income families who hope to attend college, after-school programs would be expanded, blocks of vacant housing would be demolished, rundown areas would be redeveloped and six city parks would be improved under bills guided through the legislature by leading Democrats(BALTIMORE SUN)


Light City Baltimore a boon for the local economy

What's quiet during the day comes alive at night, and just a few days into its inaugural run, organizers said Light City Baltimore is exceeding expectations. Baltimore tourism officials said the Inner Harbor has been packed every night of the festival, and area bars, restaurants and hotels seem to be doing quite well. (WBAL 11)


Baltimore At Forefront Of $1B Plan To Fight Drug Abuse

It’s a threat the president says is on par with terrorism–America’s growing battle with painkiller addiction. Now the feds are seeking more than $1 billion to try to save lives. A prominent Baltimore health official is at the forefront. (WJZ 13)




Mayor Rawlings-Blake presented a proclimation to Dr. Gary Goldstein, President of Kennedy Krieger Institute, in recognition of their commitment to autism research and treatment. April is Autism Awareness Month and tonight, Baltimore City Hall will take part in Light It Up Blue to recognize the millions of families facing the challenges of autism which affects as many as 1 in 68 children in the U.S. and 1 in 60 children in Maryland.


On Thursday, Mayor Rawlings-Blake participated in the Ready by 21 plenary panel discussion where she discussed aligning policies for children and youth across federal, state and local lines; joining 450 public service leaders committed to improving  youth readiness for college, work and positive life outcomes.


Biden, Bloomberg announce $125M gift for new cancer institute at Hopkins

President Joe Biden joined former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Tuesday to announce a $125 million gift to create an institute at Johns Hopkins Medicine focused solely on promising immunotherapy research to cure cancer. (BALTIMORE SUN)



Keeping zebra mussels at bay, officials work to prevent invasive species from entering reservoirs

Zebra mussels are an invasive species spreading throughout Maryland’s waterways and are moving closer to the city's reservoirs. With the beginning of boating season at Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy Reservoirs, officials are posting warning signs and handing out flyers to alert boaters to the big threat that comes in a small size. (WMAR 2)



Kids in West Baltimore spend spring break at drone camp

Ten-year-old Eric Morris had already sent a 4-inch drone into the air in a West Baltimore park Monday morning when instructor Austin Brown asked the students if anyone wanted to take the controls of a much larger aircraft. Eric wasted no time. His hand shot into the air. (BALTIMORE SUN)




Millennials find Baltimore a ‘compelling place’

When we talk about social inequality, economic hardship and crime in Baltimore, the conversation at some point turns to “and that’s why no one wants to move here” or “and that’s why it’s so hard to attract new businesses.” (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL) 



Light City

Special Notice: Tax Sale Prevention Services


Baltimore City Housing’s Division of Green Healthy and Sustainable Homes is collaborating with other agencies to prevent Baltimore homeowners from losing their homes during the annual tax sale process. If you are behind on your property taxes or your water bill, legal help is available from the Pro-Bono Resource Center of Maryland. Clinics will be held on the following dates and locations:


Saturday, April 2

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

1400 W. Cold Spring Lane

Wednesday, April 6                                                         

3 p.m. – 7 p.m.                                                                  

Southeast Anchor Branch Library                             

3601 Eastern Avenue                                                  

Wednesday, April 20

1:30 – 5:30 p.m.

Zeta Center

4501 Reisterstown Road

For more information, contact Ken Gelula, Tax Sale Services Coordinator 410-396-3553 or Kenneth.gelula@baltimorecity.gov. 

Light City Baltimore

March 28 - April 3 (9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.)

Baltimore Inner Harbor

Various Locations

Light City Events

The inaugural Light City Baltimore features the 1.5 mile BGE Light Art Walk with 50 attractions including illuminated visual artworks, street theater, musical performances and concerts. The original artworks are by local, regional, national and international artists selected by a jury through a call of entry held in the spring of 2015. Daytime programming features Light City U, four ticketed innovation conferences dedicated to powering social change. The festival is FREE and open to the public.



Money Power Day 2016

April 2 (9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.)

Poly-Western High School

1400 West Coldspring Lane


Money Power Day® is the region's largest, free financial services fair, targeting Baltimore City and County residents. Money Power Day® is an opportunity for a broad set of partners to come together and provide financial services in an easily accessible location.



The Neighborhood Grow Center Opening Party

April 2 (12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.)

Baltimore Community Tool Bank

1224 Wicomico Street


Grow Center


This April, the Office of Sustainability in partnership with the Department of Public Works, Baltimore Community Tool Bank, and Details Deconstruction present The Neighborhood Grow Center, a 'greening resource hub' located at the Baltimore Community ToolBank, where Baltimore City residents can access free and low-cost materials and education to make Baltimore a greener place to live. Community workshops begin, Saturday, April 2nd.



Alvin Ailey Master Class for Youth Dancers

Deadline: April 4



Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake welcomes youth dancers (ages 8-18) who attend Baltimore City Public Schools to apply to participate in a special workshop with the renowned Alvin Ailey Dance Company when their tour stops in Baltimore April 26 through April 27. The top 30 finalists will be invited to participate in an exclusive workshop taught by its world-class company dancers. Applications are due April 4th and winners will be announced April 18th.


Francis Asbury: The Great Awakening of American Methodism

April 8 (12:00 p.m. -1:00 p.m.)

Baltimore City Hall

100 Holliday Street


Even 200 years after his death, the achievements of Bishop Francis Asbury are felt in the Methodist Church. Asbury became bishop at the 1784 Christmas Conference at Lovely Lane Chapel in Baltimore, by which the Methodist Societies became a denomination, declaring their independence from the Church of England. Archivist Robert Shindle of the Museum at Lovely Lane Church will speak on Asbury’s life and work on this bicentennial of his death, followed by a Q&A session. 


Call for 2016 Academic Scholarship Applications

Deadline: May 2


The Visit Baltimore Foundation's 2016 Academic Scholarship program is now open and accepting applications. Designed to help local students pursue a career in the hospitality, meetings and tourism industry, the program offers up to $5,000 in 2016-17 tuition support as well as access to a variety of valuable industry networking and mentorship opportunities through the Visit Baltimore organization. 


Save the Date: The African American Festival

July 2-3 (Schedule Coming Soon)

Camden Yards Sports Complex

1101 Russell Street




Celebrate 40 Years of Baltimore's legendary African American Festival. This family-oriented event is filled with celebrity artists and entertainers, children’s activities, arts, history, education, financial literacy, health & wellness and more. Admission is free and open to the public.