By SARAH SCHRIEB Arts & Entertainment Editor
On Oct. 20, The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) announced that it had received a $3 million gift, one of its largest ever, from Patricia and Mark Joseph to construct a new educational center named after the couple. Patricia Joseph was a museum docent for 10 years and served on the museum’s Board of Trustees for nine years. Both have been major donors to the BMA in the past.
In addition to their involvement with the BMA and artistic outreach programs, the Josephs are also committed to creating housing for families in the Baltimore community. Mark Joseph is the founding chairman of The Shelter Group, a program that began constructing multi-family housing in 1975.
The Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center, which will open this Sunday, Oct. 25 after years of construction, will focus on creating an interactive, hands-on learning experience for students in the Baltimore area. It will also include a section that displays creative works from the Baltimore community.
The Joseph’s recent gift of $3 million will be divided in half, with $1.5 million going to the construction and installation of the Joseph Education Center and $1.5 million going to the creation of the Patricia and Mark Joseph Education Center Endowment, which will contribute to programs within the Center. This will also ensure financial stability for BMA educational outreach programs for years to come.
Another part of the Center will include the BMA Outpost, a traveling public exhibit that displays replicas of works from actual BMA collections.
There will be a free inaugural exhibition within the center on Oct. 25 entitled “Imagining Home Opening Celebration.” This exhibit will be a day-long festival at which families can participate in a series of hands-on crafts and activities including miniature home sculptures, quilt squares and dance activities. There will be local food from Carma’s Café and other vendors as well as an opportunity to interact with artists and musicians.
The BMA currently offers a variety of programming for children, including an interactive Henri Matisse-themed computer game available on the museum’s website and “Free Family Sundays” which give kids the opportunity to participate in hands-on art activities.
The BMA is seeking to engage children more in the study and creation of art through family art classes for members.
This November, the museum will host a member-only class called “Giving Thanks Through Art” — a Thanksgiving-themed class that will provide an opportunity for children to experiment with a variety of art materials and develop their artistic skills while learning how to give thanks through art.