(This letter was sent May 31st, 2019 to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan)
Dear Governor Hogan,
I just learned the orchestra has been shut down for the summer and am writing to request that you approve the $3.2 million dollars in fiscal funding already earmarked to support the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra over the next two years. This “fenced off” money needs to be released or we will continue to contribute to the financial and moral collapse of our city.
As a resident of Mount Vernon, a professor at the University of Baltimore, and former corporate executive who lived in Manhattan and central Paris, I know the value of the symphony for the neighborhood and the city more broadly. When we deplete the arts, we create a vacuum which is often filled with more of what we don’t want and less of what we do. This neighborhood, anchored by the train station, the University of Baltimore, Peabody Music School, the Lyric Theatre and MICA is an artistic and energetic center of the city.
While planned the revitalization of the Amtrak station offers great promise, fewer businesses will be attracted if we show no respect for our musicians and what they offer the city and our civilization more broadly. Many local businesses will suffer if we allow this to happen this summer. I suspect a number could close as a result.
The Mount Vernon neighborhood delivers a pulse to the rest of the city. If you allow the orchestra to fall, you’ve let Maryland fall off the map as an artistic center of the eastern corridor, travelers will more readily skip Baltimore to visit Philadelphia and Washington D.C.
You probably have not had too much time to play video games, but if you ever played with the game “CIVILIZATION” you will know that you lose the game if you only have military/police force and financial wealth. You cannot win the game without having the arts. While just a game, I believe the game designers recognized something quite significant. Under Armour and a police force does not a thriving municipality make. We are a wealthy state, so please take down the fence holding back the funding and support for the orchestra.
The prosperity of our city is in your hands.
Sarah Federman, PhD
Assistant Professor, University of Baltimore
Negotiations and Conflict Management