Regional Report: Mid-Atlantic

AICA-USA's regional representatives report on the state of the arts and art criticism in their area in order to bring wider awareness of important exhibitions, events, and the accomplishments of art critics throughout the country. The following notes were compiled and by Elaine A. King, AICA-USA's regional representative for the mid-Atlantic.

Best Wishes for a better and healthier 2021 and may some form of “normalcy return.”

The upheaval triggered by COVID-19 continues to create museum and gallery shutdowns across the arts in this region. If planning a visit please check the website institution's website in advance.

  1. According to new guidance by the DC government, museums in DC will be suspended starting December 23 and running through January 15, 2021. The museums that have previously reopened are already suspended, including eight Smithsonian museums, The Zoo, the National Gallery of Art and the Holocaust Museum, which have temporarily closed.
  2. The Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art remain temporarily closed until mid-January.

Events and resources are available to assist artists and institutions during this critical time.

  1. Virginia Commission for the Arts to hosted a Virtual Application Assistance Workshop December 15, 2020 from 2-3:30 PM. This virtual workshop provided an overview of the State of the Arts, VCA's grant programs, information about Foundation (an online grant application system), updates to the Guidelines for Funding, and general tips on preparing competitive applications for consideration in FY22 (2021-2022).

  2. Resources for Artists and Organizations Navigating COVID-19: YouTube channel WEBINAR: Coping with Covid: Strategies for Mid-Atlantic Artists will take you to MAAF’s YouTube channel. Click on the three dots next to “SAVE” below the video to open the closed captioning transcript. This webinar, features Elaine Luttrull of Minerva Financial Arts, walking artists and gig workers in the region through some of the resources and opportunities available during this challenging time. The webinar highlights unemployment assistance in states and territories served by MAAF, emergency assistance opportunities provided by regional partners and the Small Business Administration (SBA), and reviewed financial planning tips for individuals to use as they navigate this crisis.
  3. The Bridge Fund: Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development launched the Bridge Fund, a $100 million investment in businesses and workers grappling with the COVID-19 public health emergency in the hospitality, entertainment, and retail sectors. Through the Bridge Fund, the District will strategically invest to sustain the hospitality, entertainment, and retail industries to help mitigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on workers and businesses.

  4. SBA (US Small Business Administration) Loan Program Resources for Artists and Arts Organizations
    - Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofits, foundations, has compiled a comprehensive guide to the CARES Act: How to Apply for Nonprofit Relief Funds.
    - TSNE Mission Works, a nonprofit advisory firm, is another source of practical guidance for preparing an SBA loan application. See its Urgent Information for Nonprofits Applying for the CARES Act.
    - Americans for the Arts has compiled a comprehensive table of Federal Arts Funding Opportunities for Nonprofit and Commercial Arts Organizations and Individual Artists.

Mid-Atlantic AICA members

Colin Edgington: contributed an essay to the catalogue for Brian Scott Cambell’s recent show at Arts & Leisure. The catalogue should be out very soon. He also contributed to the June critics’ section of the Brooklyn Rail.

Elaine A. King
’s review of Kim Levin’s book Elsewhere: The Tainted Garden and Other Essays on Art, Life, and the Anthropocene, appeared in Sculpture Magazine, October 9, 2020. King wrote the following essays for Artes Magazine: Jak Katalan: Painting in a Time of Corona; Julia Arriola, in Conversation with Elaine A. King; Tucson Museum of Art-Southwest Rising: Contemporary Art and the Legacy of Elaine Horwitch and a review of “Transparent, Translucent, Reflective, Refractive,” at Tucson’s Yun Gee Park Gallery.

Critic’s Seminar in the Region
: It has been brought to my attention that several members would like to engage in a dialogue about the shifting focus of museum exhibitions, and issues of controversial deaccessioning prompted by the Baltimore Museum of Art’s director Christopher Bedford who wanted to auction off $65 million in art including Andy Warhol’s silkscreen resembling Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper and abstractions by Clyfford Still and Brice Marden. The Bedford’s objective was to correct a balance of representation in the BMA’s collection. If Mid-Atlantic members have an interest in having a one-day seminar held in Washington, DC, in the fall of 2021 please contact me at eaking13@yahoo.com.

I welcome hearing from all Mid-Atlantic AICA Representatives in the future with news about all activities in your region.

Ever Onward,

Elaine A. King

Independent Art Critic/Curator
Professor Emerita, History of Art, Criticism & Museum Studies
Carnegie Mellon University

AICA supports art writers around the world through public programs and membership that includes free access to museums across the globe. Since its formation in 1950, AICA has been committed to elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.
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AICA supports arts writers around the world through public programs and membership that offers free access to museums across the globe. AICA-USA represents the largest national section of AICA International with over 450 distinguished critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States. As part of the international organization, we benefit from a global reach in presence. AICA-USA is intent on international communication, elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.

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AICA's membership card is recognized for entrance to museums around the world. Members are invited to attend the annual AICA International Congress, hosted each year by a different member nation, and the AICA-USA annual meeting, which is held every year in May.

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Organized in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, this program matches emerging critics with experienced AICA-USA members who guide them through the process of writing a catalogue essay.

A partnership between The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and AICA-USA that gives art writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics.

Every fall, in cooperation with the New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics, AICA-USA presents a Distinguished Critic Lecture.

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