Maryland Nonprofits Inc. (formerly “MANO”) will facilitate meetings between the Baltimore Clayworks Board of Trustees and the Clayworks Community Campaign.

The facilitation was proposed by Delegate Sandy Rosenberg, at a Capital Budget Subcommittee hearing on Baltimore Clayworks, called by Delegate Maggie McIntosh and Delegate Adrienne Jones and held in Annapolis on May 2.

In a message from Paddy Morton, General Counsel of Maryland Nonprofits, we were informed, “Baltimore Clayworks has decided to engage Maryland Nonprofits to assist with a facilitated dialogue with the Community Campaign.  To that end, we would like to invite you, and two other members of the Steering Committee, to meet next Wednesday, May 17.  [We] want to hear your concerns, and make sure your questions and objectives are clearly understood.  After meeting with you, we will schedule a time to meet with members of Baltimore Clayworks’ leadership.”

Susan Patz, representing the Campaign Steering Committee said, “This is exciting news. We have been working for the opportunity to have open conversation about the financial pressures and direction of Baltimore Clayworks. Our goal is broad agreement of the best options and steps to take to resolve issues and implement a shared vision.”

In our Petition, prompted by the Board’s February 3 email and February 8 presentation that one or both of Clayworks’ buildings would be sold, the Campaign had pressed for a delay of the sale plans to allow for more study and collaboration:

“I support allowing time for a more careful and extensive consideration of alternatives for near-term and long-term financing. Concurrently, a new Strategic and Business Plan may be researched, drafted, endorsed by the consensus of the Community, adopted and published.”

The Petition, now signed by 829 individuals, went on to declare objections to the proposal to sell both Mount Washington buildings and relocate:

“[W]ithout a credible analysis of the risks, costs and benefits, relocation of Baltimore Clayworks outside of Mount Washington at this time is a drastic and unnecessary step, and the risk of failure is probable. … [T]he overwhelming majority of loyal students, donors, artists, neighbors and other stakeholders are not ready to support a relocated operation at this time. It is essential that the Board of Trustees rebuild the community’s trust in Clayworks’ ability to thrive, and in leadership’s ability to guide the organization to a stable future.”

The Board revealed in April that a “letter of intent” had been executed with a potential buyer to purchase both buildings. Evidently the proposed sale would require Baltimore Clayworks to relocate by early in 2018.

At a Briefing in Annapolis before the Capital Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, held on May 2, Delegate Rosenberg asked Mary Blair, vice-president of the Board of Trustees, if Baltimore Clayworks would be willing to engage the services of Maryland Nonprofits, Inc. to help resolve the conflict before a sale contract is entered.

Three individuals representing Baltimore Clayworks (Ms. Blair, Warren Anderson, and Interim Executive Director Devon Powell) met on May 10 with Ms. Morton and Wendy Wolff (Director of Maryland Nonprofits Consulting Group). Subsequently the Campaign was informed of the plan and asked to attend a preparatory meeting on May 17.

“We are grateful to the Board for agreeing to this plan, and are looking forward to having productive dialogues and positive results,” said Ms. Patz.

Additional information will be published online at clayworkscommunity.com and on the Save Baltimore Clayworks Facebook page (facebook.com/saveclayworks). A video stream of the May 2 Capital Budget Subcommittee meeting is available online at:

http://mgahouse.maryland.gov/mga/play/8d257676-123a-406b-90f7-e83fa080c76b/?catalog/03e481c7-8a42-4438-a7da-93ff74bdaa4c

 

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