Michel Anderson from Blue Water Baltimore and Artist Phaan Howng.
Michel Anderson from Blue Water Baltimore and Artist Phaan Howng.

BALTIMORE, MD (May 1, 2017)—The Baltimore Museum of Art announced today that Baltimore-based artist Phaan Howng and Blue Water Baltimore have been selected as the next artist/non-profit team to take over the Commons in the BMA’s Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center. Beginning November 2017, the team will unveil a colorful art installation that encompasses the entire gallery and present a series of public programs that explore the effects of environmental issues on community and home. This is the third year of the Commons Collaboration project, which seeks to engage audiences through innovative art and programs inspired by the adjacent Imagining Home exhibition.

“We were fortunate this year to have a very competitive group of applicants, with a lot of passion, commitment, and great ideas. Making a choice was extremely difficult,” said BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director Christopher Bedford. “We are excited about working with Phaan and seeing how her installation will spark conversations about the fragility and resilience of our physical environment, especially in connection to how we think about our shared home.”

Through the use of intense and unnatural colors, Howng will create environments that disguise themselves in order to immerse and disorient viewers. By doing so, the artist aims to generate dialogue about current ecological crises brought on by the Anthropocene (human-influenced) age. The installation and accompanying programs with Blue Water Baltimore will bring awareness to the protection and restoration of Baltimore’s waterways and their important role in public health and civic life.

Howng was selected from an impressive short-list of artists and nonprofit teams including Amber Eve Anderson with Baltimore Node, Colette Veasey-Cullors with Waxter Senior Center, and Melani Douglass with New Lens. The artist/non-profit team was selected by BMA staff with an advisory panel including Lee Heinemann, education director of The Contemporary, and Stephen Towns, artist and program coordinator of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Office of Community Engagement.

Phaan Howng
Phaan Howng (American, b. 1982) is a painter, sculptor, installation, and performance artist based in Baltimore. She received an MFA in multidisciplinary art from the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she is faculty language learning instructor. The multidisciplinary artist has been awarded residences at Windy Mowing, Halifax, VT (2015); Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia (2012); and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT (2005). Howng has also received honors for her recent work and has given artist talks regionally. Her latest solo and group exhibitions include Biological Controls: If It Bleeds We Can Kill It at School 33 Art Center, Baltimore; Strange Genitals, Art F City, Brooklyn; Satellite Art Show, Miami Beach; and Instigate. Activate: No Place, No You or Me, Arlington Arts Center.

Blue Water Baltimore
Blue Water Baltimore’s purpose is to use community based restoration, education, and advocacy to achieve clean water in Baltimore’s rivers, streams and harbor, so that citizens of the Baltimore Region will enjoy a vibrant natural environment, livable neighborhoods, and a healthy, thriving Inner Harbor and Chesapeake Bay. Blue Water Baltimore fills a unique role in the Baltimore area as a not-for-profit organization that uses a holistic set of programs to meet the great challenges of improving water quality. From arts and education, to storm water management projects, to legal and legislative advocacy, they effect change on the ground. In addition to restoration activities, they involve citizens in the passage of strong legislative and regulatory policies that result in long-lasting, sustainable outcomes.

The inaugural exhibition for the BMA’s Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center brings together more than 30 works from across the BMA’s collection to explore the universal theme of home. Visitors will discover paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, textiles, and works on paper from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, as well as four miniature
rooms, plus a variety of interactive features presented in three thematic areas: Façades & Thresholds; Domestic Interiors; and Arrivals & Departures. Interactive features include Home Stories videos that reveal an individual’s or family’s experience living with a reproduction of a work of art for a month. Another group of artworks has Soundscapes that immerse visitors in the place where the object was made through authentic audio recordings. The BMA’s Go Mobile smartphone guide has been expanded with 40 new stops with original content for artworks in Imagining Home.

The Commons reflects the voices and creativity of Baltimore. Adjacent to the gallery in the Education Center, the Commons features a year-long Commons Collaboration inspired by the theme of home featuring artwork by an artist/artist team working in conjunction with a non-profit organization. In this space, visitors can also fill out Postcards from Home with their responses to questions posed in the exhibition. Then postcards will be mailed to another visitor whom they’ve never met. They may write their own address on a return label to receive a postcard as well. Select postcards are featured on the BMA’s blog. The Commons also hosts Open Hours on the third Saturday of the month. These events are organized by anyone who wants to propose an activity connected to the theme of home that promotes a sense of sharing and exchange.

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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