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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 3, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 33
Mayor O'Malley Officially Launches Creative Baltimore at Peabody Event

Martin O'Malley

By Kirsten Lavin
Peabody Institute

Peabody 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 incentives.


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