The Creative Alliance is pleased to announce exciting changes in its organization and program. Founding Executive Director, Margaret Footner, after leading the organization for 23 years, will now guide the development of its new Creativity Center. Located across Eastern Avenue from The Patterson, the new 12,000-sq.ft. facility will expand the number of youth and families the Creative Alliance serves and increase the impact of its innovative youth education and cross-cultural community programs. Deputy Director Gina Caruso, who has worked at the organization for the past five years, will become the Executive Director effective March 1, 2018. Ms. Footner and Ms. Caruso have worked together building stability and creating confidence for a successful transition of executive director responsibilities.
“The Creative Alliance has never been stronger,” noted Board President Cheryl Casciani. “Thanks to Margaret’s extraordinary leadership and our incredibly talented staff, the organization is poised for a major expansion with the new Creativity Center. We are thrilled that we have such a talented leader poised to take over the reins from her.”
As the Creative Alliance’s co-founder and Executive Director, Ms. Footner led the organization from a small volunteer group to a $2.3-million cultural force, spearheading its redevelopment of the vacant Patterson movie theater into Baltimore’s premier multi-arts center. “For nearly a quarter of a century, from my perspective as Director of the Walters Art Museum,” said Creative Alliance Trustee Gary Vikan, “I watched Margaret Footner and the Creative Alliance with admiration bordering on awe. Who else in Baltimore has so brilliantly created community through art, where everyone can participate, excellence is celebrated, and the tough issues shaping our lives are tackled head on?”
Gina Caruso brings great experience to her new leadership role. Prior to working at the Creative Alliance, she was Director and Film Curator at the Honolulu Museum’s Doris Duke Theatre, served as Manager of Public Programs at the Walters, and worked as an editor and writer for The Washington Post Magazine. Devoted to arts integration, she was also a poet-in-residence at schools in New York City and a teacher at the Waldorf School of Baltimore. “Margaret Footner’s entrepreneurial spirit, vision, and social values have propelled the Creative Alliance’s mission and programs, which I cherish and believe in,” she said. “Innovative collaborations have and will always drive our success. I am incredibly honored and excited to lead this amazing organization forward.”
“As a founder, it is truly rewarding to have a successor who will continue to build a progressive future for creativity in Baltimore. Since joining the Creative Alliance in 2012, Gina Caruso has been instrumental in our growth and success. She shares our vision for artistic excellence, cultural bridge-building, and equity,” said Ms. Footner.
ABOUT THE CREATIVE ALLIANCE
The Creative Alliance, founded in 1994, and at its current location since 2003, plays a critical cultural role locally, regionally, and nationally. As its Mission states: “The Creative Alliance builds communities by bringing together artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds to experience spectacular arts and education programs and engage in the creative process. We provide support to area artists, promote Baltimore as a center for creative production, act as a positive force in our community, and advocate for cultural expression rooted in a sense of place.”
Baltimore’s leading interdisciplinary arts organization and anchor for the Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District, the Creative Alliance operates The Patterson, a transformed 22,000sq.-ft. historic movie theater housing eight artists’ live/work spaces, two major galleries, a 200-seat performance space, and classroom. The Creative Alliance promotes the careers of Baltimore artists as creatives, entrepreneurs, educators, and community activists working to build the city’s future. A dynamic cultural engine, it annually produces more than 400 exhibitions, performances, workshops, films, classes, and community events engaging 38,000 diverse, regional audiences. The organization partners with schools, libraries and community organizations to strengthen East and Southeast Baltimore neighborhoods with youth education programs and transformative community arts events like the beloved Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival.
The Creative Alliance works to bridge social barriers as an innovative arts incubator and showcase for the expression of creative ideas and contemporary issues through performance, film, visual arts, classes, and community events. It is located in Southeast Baltimore whose diverse residents include families of Eastern and Southern European descent, immigrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East, Latin and South America; African Americans, Native Americans and Caucasians, artists, and young professionals.