Conceptual rendering of new interactive gallery in BMA's Joseph Education Center. Courtesy of Quinn Evans
Conceptual rendering of new interactive gallery in BMA's Joseph Education Center. Courtesy of Quinn Evans

Internationally acclaimed artists Derrick Adams, Mary Flanagan, and Pablo Helguera selected to create immersive experiences

BALTIMORE, MD (December 19, 2022)—The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) today announced it is embarking on a major renovation and reconceptualization of the Joseph Education Center that will introduce more opportunities for dynamic, hands-on engagement when it reopens in fall 2023. A significant focal point will be the creation of a larger interactive gallery within the 5,625 square-foot center that features new site-specific installations that encourage direct visitor engagement, especially among children, made by internationally acclaimed artists Derrick Adams, Mary Flanagan, and Pablo Helguera. Other elements of the renovation include the development and refurbishment of classrooms that expand available space for art-making and the reimagining of the school tour entrance with an interactive Wall of Wonder that captures the vision and unites the architecture of the center.

The renovation is being supported by Baltimore philanthropists Patricia and Mark Joseph, who have been major donors to the BMA for three decades. They established the center in 2015 with a $3 million gift and are now contributing $2.5 million toward its reconceptualization. The transformation of the Joseph Education Center recognizes the evolving ways people learn, creates new opportunities to incorporate and use new technologies, and establishes more unified areas for intergenerational learning through playful interactions that prompt surprise, socialization, creativity, and further artistic inquiry. Quinn Evans will serve as the project architect and Whiting Turner as the contractor.

“Enhancing the ways in which our visitors experience, learn about, and relate to art is of high priority. We are delighted to have the opportunity to expand the functionality and possibilities of the Joseph Education Center with artist interventions, new technologies, and environments dedicated to making for students of all ages,” said Asma Naeem, BMA Interim Co-Director and Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator. “We are grateful to Patricia and Mark Joseph for their generosity and vision in helping us make the education center an even more vital and exciting space within the museum.”

More information about renovation components follows:

  • Interactive Gallery: The architectural build-out of the Joseph Education Center will enlarge the footprint of the interactive gallery by 625 sq. ft., connecting it directly to the East Lobby, the museum’s primary entrance. The transformed gallery will create opportunities for visitors to engage with abstract concepts in tangible ways and supports multiple learning styles, especially tactile learning. Hands-on exhibits created by artists Derrick Adams, Mary Flanagan, and Pablo Helguera will be primarily geared toward children, but the environment will allow for adults to engage in playful activities as well. These works will be on view for approximately three years.
  • Dry Media Classroom: This room adds a much-needed second classroom that will substantially expand the museum’s ability to host school and other tour groups and deepen our commitment to engaging visitors in artmaking. The room will also host a space for evaluation, visitor response, and dialogue, allowing us to continue learning from and with our visitors. Additional improvements to the wet media studio/classroom will also be made.
  • Wet Media Studio: The most flexible space for artmaking and one of the most popular areas of the first iteration of the Joseph Education Center, this classroom will be reconceptualized so that it can be programmed for lightly facilitated drop-in art experiences during regular hours.
  • Wall of Wonder and School Entrance: The Wall of Wonder is a key architectural element that physically and conceptually unifies the center. It will house bespoke storage for school tours, making the arrival for groups smoother and more welcoming. A display of monitors, touchable drawers, material samples, and other interactive elements will encourage visitors to consider how artists play and the materials with which they play.

“Patricia and I are pleased to support the new experiences and technologies which will be unveiled next fall,” said Mark Joseph. “We look forward to school students and visitors of all ages experiencing the new center.”

Derrick Adams is a Baltimore-born, Brooklyn-based artist whose work spans painting, collage, sculpture, performance, video, and sound installations. His practice engages the ways in which people become attached to specific objects and ideologies and probes the influence of popular culture on the formation of self-image and the relationship between man and monument as they coexist and embody one another. Adams is also deeply immersed in questions of how African American experiences intersect with art history, American iconography, and consumerism. Solo exhibitions include Sweet Spot at LGDR HK in Hong Kong (2022); Derrick Adams: LOOKS at the Cleveland Museum of Art (2021); Where I’m From — Derrick Adams (2019) at The Gallery in Baltimore City Hall; Derrick Adams: Sanctuary (2018) at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York; and Derrick Adams: Transmission (2018) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; as well as numerous group exhibitions. He received his MFA from Columbia University and BFA from Pratt Institute. He is an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation’s Studio Program.

Mary Flanagan has a research-based practice that investigates and exploits the seams between technology, play, and human experience, exploring how data, computing practices, errors / glitches, and games reflect human psychology and the limitations of knowledge. Her design practice is deeply informed by 20 years of game research conducted at her research laboratory Her games are innovative yet accessible to a wide audience and focus on transformative experiences for players and narrative contexts that are inclusive, diverse, and fun. Flanagan has exhibited at The Guggenheim New York, Tate Britain, Museu de Arte, Arquitectura e Tecnologia Lisbon, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing, NeMe Arts Center, Cyprus, LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Spain, Museum of Fine Arts Cologne, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She won the Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica and is the recipient of the American Council of Learned Societies Digital Innovation Fellowship, and the Thoma Foundation Arts Writing Award in Digital Art. She is the Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College and lives and works in Hanover, NH and Houston, TX.

Pablo Helguera is a Mexico-born, New York-based artist and educator whose socially engaged art and performance work focuses on a variety of topics ranging from history and pedagogy to sociolinguistics, ethnography, memory, and the absurd. His work, The School of Panamerican Unrest (2006), a nomadic think-tank that drove 20,000 miles from Anchorage, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, is considered one of the most extensive public art projects on record. He has exhibited or performed at the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; ICA Boston; RCA London; 8th Havana Biennal; Shedhalle, Zurich; MoMA P.S.1 and Brooklyn Museum, New York; IFA Galerie, Bonn; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; and Ex-Teresa Espacio Alternativo in Mexico City; among others. Helguera’s work is also presented in lectures, museum display strategies, musical performances, and written fiction. He is currently Assistant Professor of Arts and Entrepreneurship at the College of Performing Arts at the New School in New York and previously served as Director of Adult and Academic Programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and Director of Public Programs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Mark Joseph is founding chairman of The Shelter Group, which began developing multi-family housing in 1975.  Prior to founding Shelter, Mr. Joseph was a member of the Community Legal Services law reform unit, serving as co-counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court case nullifying residence requirements for public assistance. He also chaired the Executive Committee of Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, LLP and taught at the University of Maryland Law School. His leadership in Baltimore City includes serving as Deputy Housing Commissioner and its Development Coordinator, heading the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, and chairing the board of Baltimore’s Public Health Hospital. He is also a founder and lead donor of the Baltimore School for the Arts and has served on the boards of the Greater Baltimore Committee, Walters Art Museum, Associated Jewish Charities, and Board of Visitors of The University of Maryland Law School. Mr. Joseph graduated from Brown University and the Harvard Law School.  He authored the law creating the Maryland Community Development Administration.

Patricia Joseph is the current chair of the Shelter Foundation. She has served on the BMA’s Board of Trustees and numerous committees, including the Executive Committee, for many years where she was vice chair and was a museum docent for 10 years. Prior to her retirement, she was a faculty member, a division chair, and a dean at Stevenson University. She also served as special assistant to the Provost at UMBC and later was a member of the university’s Board of Visitors. She past chair of the Board of Trustees of the Baltimore School for the Arts, where she remains active as a board member, and was Chair of the Search Committee for the school’s new director. She is the past co-chair of the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle and is a trustee of the Baltimore Community Foundation. She was a member of the Steering Committee of the Art Seminar Group. Mrs. Joseph graduated from Elmira College, Cum Laude and Phi Betta Kappa and spent her junior year abroad at the London School of Economics. She has her Master of Liberals Arts from Johns Hopkins University.

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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