Congratulations to Kimi Hanuer and Press Press for “Best Press,” to Shannon Wallace for “Best Solo Show,” to Baltimore Youth Arts for “Best Artists,” and to the Baltimore Brew and BmoreArt for “Best Local Blog” from the Reader’s Poll in this year’s City Paper Best of Baltimore Issue. We are so proud of your accomplishments!
Interdisciplinary publishing collective Press Press has been at it for a few years but became a tad more official this year with the launch of a studio/library space downtown. Through its work with the Refugee Youth Project, a library full of art books and poetry and radical texts (periodically featuring curated selections by artists, writers, curators, collectives, and more), zine-making equipment, and workshops, Press Press sees publishing as a way to engage and activate the public.
This past February at Platform Gallery, Shannon Wallace (2016’s Best Photographer), aka SHAN, put up a moving solo show of her candid portraits of young black women, older black women, and little black girls living their lives and doing their thing. Like everything she does, Wallace had the community in mind, organizing a series of panel talks and healing circles, all with the intention of moving black women “from margin to center,” with a nod to Sojourner Truth’s pivotal 1851 speech demanding the same.
Baltimore Youth Arts
The most radical arts collective in the city right now is Baltimore Youth Arts, an after-school, artist-led program where young people between the ages of 12 and 22 paint, screen print, write, and design clothes and accessories—and learn a few things about the business of selling their work, too. The program focuses on youth involved in the juvenile justice system, and in a city with limited resources and spaces for youth, grassroots projects like BYA are a helping hand. The stuff they create is among the most honest and inventive artwork you’ll see anywhere. And now that the BYA studio has moved into Platform Arts Center and is taking over its gallery space, there are even more exciting things to come for this year’s best artists.