Mayor O'Malley Officially Launches Creative Baltimore at
By Kirsten Lavin
Institute hosted Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York
and Martin O'Malley of Baltimore for a symposium titled
"The Role of the Arts in Urban Revitalization," on Friday,
April 23, as part of Peabody's grand reopening festival,
Music for the World.
Much as George Peabody believed the founding of the
institute in 1866 would serve as a beacon of hope and
revitalization after the devastation of the Civil War,
American cities are carefully examining investment in the
arts as a means for economic development. Mayor Bloomberg
opened the symposium, speaking about how the arts define
and bring life to the New York experience and explaining
that arts institutions are a vital city service, like roads
and electricity and clean water.
Adam Gordon, editor in chief of The Next American
City, led a panel discussion with Peabody Director Robert
Sirota; M.J. Brodie, president, Baltimore Development
Corp.; Tom Wilcox, president, Baltimore Community
Foundation; Ellen Lovell, Center for Arts and Culture; and
Randi Vega, cultural affairs director, Baltimore Office of
Promotions and the Arts.
Sirota noted that capital investment in Downtown
Baltimore in 2003 was $2.5 billion, with approximately 110
projects in various stages. The largest portion of this
$2.5 billion investment, 35 percent, was driven by
educational and cultural institutions, he said.
Influenced by Richard Florida and his book The Rise of
the Creative Class, O'Malley officially unveiled the new
Creative Baltimore initiative — a quest to attract
creative residents to Baltimore, through citywide
internships, music and art festivals, and house-buying
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