This is a story of six amazing women, two amazing university's, and a talented son, all of whom are important parts of my Baltimore.
Some people use the phrase "worlds colliding" when what seem to be differently compartmentalized parts of their lives intersect. For my Baltimore, I like to use the phrase "many Baltimores blending together." In part, because I find the image of blending more appealing than the image of colliding. In part, because I truly think that in my Baltimore it is more of a blending than a collision. My city is a wonderful mixture of different elements that sometimes are far apart but other times are brought together. And in my existence they are all there and mixed together in a way that makes an incredible whole. It is easy to imagine different ingredients in a mixing bowl that come together and end up as an amazing and integrated whole as the hypothetical electric mixer turns them all together.
My middle son is about to graduate from the Baltimore School for the Arts. Yesterday was the third annual Courting Art event at which art from students at the city's high schools was on display in the lobby of the Eastside Courthouse. The art that was there yesterday plus some other pieces were on display at a local community college some time ago. The pieces on display yesterday were finalists.
The Eastside Courthouse is a building that I have driven past for years but never been inside. Yesterday's trip inside was interesting as I learned the interesting fact that all the civil and criminal domestic violence cases are heard there. I heard from speakers including the CEO of Baltimore City Schools (i.e., superintendent), Judge Weinstein and Chief Judge Barbera.
I have seen each of these three powerful women speak before. The Superintendent had spoken at a local networking breakfast. She presents an amazingly hopeful and powerful image of public education in Baltimore City. She apologized for having to leave early for an event for her own children. I am glad to know that she is grounded in her own family-based reality.
Judge Weinstein is an amazing woman. I'd also seen her speak at a networking event and know of her ties to and dedication to finding ways to guide local veterans when they have to interact with the legal system. I had no idea of her interest in art and local public education. In retrospect, it is no surprise that she has an interest in those areas--it is reflective of her overall interest in and investment in Baltimore as a community with amazing potential. It turns out that she was also the supervisor for the colleague closest to me on the organizational chart at the Carey Business School right now when my colleague was interning during the completion of her law studies. Judge Weinstein also mentioned that the Courting Art idea had come from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, close to where I'd grown up.
Chief Judge Barbera is the chief judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals (what my state calls its state level Supreme Court). I had seen her speak when my closest mentee and running partner was sworn into the Maryland State Bar in 2016. She was one of several judges who spoke about the importance of art in students' training and the importance of art in the courtroom. She, as with others, noted the strong emotions with which people come to a courthouse. She noted the calming effect of giving people something to look at and ponder other than the bare walls of the courthouse. I would have heard all the same words she spoke whether I'd seen her before or not. For me, however, somehow it seemed to make a difference in how I heard her knowing what her position was and what that position means. More than anything else, knowing that she chose to invest some of her time in this effort in light of all the other things she has to do was impressive.
Finally, I met one of my son's teachers with whom I had not crossed paths in some time. She is a wonderful and energetic teacher who was clearly connected with the other city art teachers who were at the event. And she commented on the fact that I had a light blue rose brooch. She asked if there was some significance. I told her that it was just my way of trying to add some flare to otherwise conservative business attire and that I was fortunate to work with a local tailor whose shop carried an array of colors of rose brooches.
So, in one evening I heard from three amazing women who represent crossing paths with two other amazing women (my colleague and mentee). I met a fourth amazing women who was fascinated by a fashion choice that is a function of advice given to me by my boss and opportunities presented by my tailor. And all of this is because of the investment in my son's art that another amazing woman (my wife) and I have been willing to make over time and that Baltimore City provides opportunities for within the public school system.
In conclusion, while my son's art was not chosen among the top five, the top two received not only scholarship money but access to a summer program at MICA. My son will be attending MICA as a student starting this fall and the business school at which I am vice dean for education partners with MICA to offer a design leadership program. It is wonderful seeing the local art college making an investment in the city's public education as well.