Agreement for ReOpening of Baltimore Clayworks Announced Today
For the first time in many months, the news about Baltimore Clayworks is good. The Clayworks Community LLC has reached an agreement with the Board of Trustees for the continuation of Baltimore Clayworks, Inc.
Details will be announced upon the effective date, expected to be early next week. The agreement includes the immediate appointment of 10 individuals to the Board, and simultaneous resignation of the remaining Trustees. The parties also agreed to use of funds contributed through the Clayworks Community Campaign to be used to address immediate financial issues and enable the resumption of operations.
Contributions and pledges raised from hundreds of Baltimore Clayworks supporters will enable the organization to begin to resolve pressing financial issues and to restart programs in the Mount Washington studios and at satellite locations. The programs were suspended in mid-July due to insufficient working capital, and the Board at that time contemplated bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy papers were not filed, and the negotiations resulted in the agreement announced today.
Details as to the resumption of programs, return of artists and staff, class schedules and other operations will be made public in coming weeks. Volunteers have been gathering in small groups during the recent months to plan for the “ReOpening” to happen as soon as prudent and practical.
The Clayworks Community Campaign, which organized the fund-raising effort and campaigned to “ReOpen Baltimore Clayworks” expressed gratitude that this resolution was achieved. “No one benefited while the organization struggled, and none of us wanted to see a bankruptcy filing which might have closed the doors for good,” said Marsha Smelkinson, spokesperson for the campaign. “Everyone can rejoice at the news that the ‘end’ is not in sight, and the work of this worthy and beloved arts organization will continue.”
Members of the Campaign Steering Committee who directed the campaign and participated in the negotiations leading to this agreement are Ronni Aronin, Deb Bedwell, Pat Halle, Susan Patz, Rima Semaan, and Marsha Smelkinson. The new Board of Trustees will be announced on the effective date, and will include experienced arts leaders and business professionals as well as members of the Clayworks Community.
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