Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Art
by Ann Erskine
The Fells Point Creative Alliance
The Fells Point Creative Alliance (FPCA) is a community based non-profit organization that presents and promotes the arts and humanities in Baltimore, Maryland. As a membership organization of artists, arts supporters, writers, scholars and businesses, the Creative Alliance cultivates community through collaboration.
The Fells Point Creative Alliance was founded in 1995 by Margaret Footner, Megan Hamilton and Dan Schiavone, originally conceived as a kind of artists' guild offering programs in Halcyon Gallery at Margaret's Cafe in the waterside Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. Two hundred dedicated members quickly gravitated to the organization, which hosted discussion groups, lectures, and career workshops and exhibitions.
One of the first programs to be established was the Big Show; an open members' exhibition of original artwork presented in venues such as stores, cafes and restaurants throughout Fells Point. FPCA quickly expanded, developing a performance, video, film and music series. This series was first offered at The Lodge, a former Moose Lodge in Highlandtown, Baltimore, and eventually moved to its current site, the Ground Floor at 1726 Thames Street in Fells Point. (left: Patterson drawing)
From 1995-99, FPCA organized a series of successful annual fundraisers called Homicide Live, featuring cast members from the television show "Homicide" performing improv comedy and stage routines. As it has grown, the organization has expanded its programming and membership significantly, providing not only increased support services to artists, but extensive cultural programming throughout Southeast Baltimore. These programs included community events as well as Open Minds, a free summer art education program for children based in local branches of the Enoch Pratt Free Library system.
In the summer of 1999, Jed Dodds replaced Dan Schiavone as Artistic Director, to become the first non-founder on staff. Currently, the Fells Point Creative Alliance is working with Southeast Development, Inc. to develop the Patterson Cultural Center in the former Patterson Movie Theater on Eastern Ave. in Highlandtown. The Patterson will include: a gallery, theater, cafe, FPCA offices, and 11 live-in artist studios.
Members programs provide comprehensive support services for artists, offered on an ongoing basis. They include: critiques, career seminars, studio workshops, lectures, and other special programs. Artist members also have access to the FPCA mailing list and a network of exhibition opportunities.
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