Home News Art project aims to shed new light on Maryland history

Art project aims to shed new light on Maryland history

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Some Baltimore actors are turning tragedy into triumph in a new project focused on Maryland history.Baltimore City has become a stage, of sorts, for actors with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. The theater on Wednesday debuted what it calls “The Monument Project,” which features Black actors adding an artistic spin on Maryland history.”I think we have to acknowledge the history as it was — the real history, not the perceived history, but the real history,” said Gerrad Taylor, the company’s associate artistic director.Taylor said the history — the plight of Black voices and people — will shine in photos taken in November that feature actors wearing Shakespearean costume who posed atop the pedestals of what once were Confederate monuments.”It’s time for Black artists and Black people to take back their voice, take back their agency in these stories, in this history, in this culture,” Taylor said. “It is a part of us. We have to acknowledge it. We have to love it. We have to appreciate it.”The timing is critical for the actors as the spotlight on the arts wanes due to the coronavirus pandemic canceling shows.”In this year of so much turmoil, certainly elevating them to these greater heights is just crucial,” said Lesley Malin, the company’s managing director.”And how can we use these experiences, these experiences of history, to drive us into the future?” Taylor said. “We can’t ignore the pedestals. We can’t ignore any of it.”Poster-sized copies of the photos are on sale for about $60 each. The money will go toward funding education programs for students across Maryland.

Some Baltimore actors are turning tragedy into triumph in a new project focused on Maryland history.

Baltimore City has become a stage, of sorts, for actors with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. The theater on Wednesday debuted what it calls “The Monument Project,” which features Black actors adding an artistic spin on Maryland history.

“I think we have to acknowledge the history as it was — the real history, not the perceived history, but the real history,” said Gerrad Taylor, the company’s associate artistic director.

Taylor said the history — the plight of Black voices and people — will shine in photos taken in November that feature actors wearing Shakespearean costume who posed atop the pedestals of what once were Confederate monuments.

“It’s time for Black artists and Black people to take back their voice, take back their agency in these stories, in this history, in this culture,” Taylor said. “It is a part of us. We have to acknowledge it. We have to love it. We have to appreciate it.”

The timing is critical for the actors as the spotlight on the arts wanes due to the coronavirus pandemic canceling shows.

“In this year of so much turmoil, certainly elevating them to these greater heights is just crucial,” said Lesley Malin, the company’s managing director.

“And how can we use these experiences, these experiences of history, to drive us into the future?” Taylor said. “We can’t ignore the pedestals. We can’t ignore any of it.”

Poster-sized copies of the photos are on sale for about $60 each. The money will go toward funding education programs for students across Maryland.