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PRODUCTION HISTORY

HISTORY

ArtsCentric is a color-conscious organization committed to reexamining traditional roles in the arts, advancing original stories of specific cultures, and fostering educational advancement to strengthen the community through the power of theatre.

ArtsCentric, Inc  is an African-American arts organization; a color-conscious performing arts and arts services company committed to reexamining traditional roles in the arts; advancing original stories of specific cultures not represented in mainstream arts; and fostering educational advancement to strengthen the community through the power of theater by primarily serving members of the Black, African-American, and BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) communities. ArtsCentric's color-conscious approach to creating community-oriented and enriched educational and artistic programs in the arts asks every constituent to consider the whole person that is being presented: honoring and respectfully highlighting a multitude of diverse identifiers with great detail and intentionality.

 

ArtsCentric is on the cusp of becoming a national player and influencer in the trajectory of the performing arts community, based on recent responses to our production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. The organization as a whole, and particularly ArtsCentric’s production company, practices “color-consciousness” which engages the organization in thinking about how to frame art and business from our shared cultural perspectives. This is a long-standing practice embedded in ArtsCentric’s core. As for Cinderella, the production was set and produced in a pan-African style and thus the music, costumes, scenic designs, props, and every element of the production was transformed to represent the vast cultural groups on the African continent. As a result, the production drew a diverse audience and expanded the reach for our mainstream artistic partners. To achieve this auspicious goal, the artistic team, (which doubles as the administrative team, and triples as line managers during productions) worked diligently on researching and finding the path that best represented the shared values of their communities and shared histories. This practice is also engrained in the fiber of ArtsCentric. “Belonging” is the first experience people from all identities and communities that experience working for or working with ArtsCentric often recounts. We achieve a mutual sense of belonging by celebrating diversity, practicing inclusion and mindfully checking the equity in all of our practices and endeavors. 

 

Emerging as a non-profit in 2016, the ArtsCentric dream that began twenty years ago continues to create performance opportunities for Baltimore artists, and specifically redesigning leading roles with Black,  African-American and BIPOC culture and perspectives at the center of the artistic work. A shared dream slowly morphed into an experiment: a core group of young artists armed with talent and fresh ideas, committed to producing, performing and trailblazing into the 21st century. The core group set out to build performance and arts administrative experiences for rising Black artists in Baltimore. Thus, the ArtsCentric experiment began: creating works for the performing arts that center each person's culture, heritage, and perspectives in all aspects of the production. 

 

Boldy charging forward with our “color-conscious” mindset, and with an invigorated drive to build a new arts company, ArtsCentric found notable impacts and results. These results are specifically noted when referencing past productions like Kander & Ebbs’ Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors (a ‘70s funk version), Crowns and most recently, Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Our goal was to retell these classic tales centering the culture, practices, and life experiences of the all African-American casts. The resulting productions were both inspiring and life-changing for the audiences as well as for every person working on the production. 

 

Over the years ArtsCentric’s partnerships, programs, and projects have forged deep relationships with the Baltimore/D.C. community and has paved the way for advancing BIPOC artistry in theater. ArtsCentric is, has been, and will continue to be the primary training ground for Black artists in the greater Baltimore / Washington corridor. The fiber of ArtsCentric’s mission and model of casting and training up to 60% of every cast is a strong step in continuing the work of enrichment, education and entertainment that is also color-conscious, community-oriented, and absolutely exhilarating! The company aims to produce three productions of traditional, contemporary and original staged-shows per season. In addition to our mainstage productions, ArtsCentric holds a summer institute for young artists (ArtsCentric Summer Institute) and offers arts training via ArtsCentric Academy through distance learning and traditional in-person classrooms. Ultimately, ArtsCentric strives to positively impact a broad and diverse audience base, and uphold high standards of quality arts entertainment, while using the arts to inform, change, and enhance lives, one audience at a time. 

 

ArtsCentric's mission and core activities address three problems: 1) racial inequity in the performing arts; 2) a lack of opportunities for low-to-moderate-income artists of all ages to receive professional training for performance, education, and administrative careers in the arts; 3) affordable access to the arts and cultural enrichment activities.

Production History

Putting It Together (2004)

2005

Ain't Misbehavin'

Night of January 16th 

2006

Songs For A New World

Dreamgirls

Into The Woods

2007

Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida

2008

The Children's Hour

2011

Black Nativity: Live in Concert

2012

Next to Normal

2013

For Colored Girls...

2014

Sincerely, Me!

Jesus Christ Superstar

The Color Purple

2015

Sincerely, MeN!

Snapshots

2016

Dreamgirls

Sincerely, Holidays!

2017

Chicago

Memphis

Sister Act

2018

Smokey Joe's Cafe

Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida 

La Cage Aux Folles

Black Nativity

2019

Little Shop of Horrors

The Wiz

2020

We Are Proud to Present A Play...

2021 
Dream Girls

2022

RENT

2023

Crowns

Once On This Island

Cinderella

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