When the MICA Jewelry Center closed in early 2014, Baltimore jewelry makers were without a location to create and learn.
That is, until the Baltimore Jewelry Center opened its new location at The Centre in 2015. The East North Avenue space, started by teachers and students from MICA’s old center, now serves as the city’s jewelry hub.
Last fall, Baltimore’s own Betty Cooke, Joyce J. Scott, and Shana Kroiz were featured in the inaugural exhibition, “Passing from One Hand.” Program director Shane Prada says opening night saw nearly 250 attendees and many more visited throughout the exhibit’s run. Some who passed through even had old ties with the artists.
“We had a couple people come by who were students of Betty’s when she taught at MICA in the ’50s, which was really special,” Prada says.
The center’s January exhibition, “Co:Operation: Garnish,” features collaborative pieces each made by two different artists of different disciplines and creative processes. Aside from exhibitions, the center features four to six artists’ talks a year and a variety of classes, where novices and old hands alike can learn how to set stones, craft necklaces, create flatware, and more. (Kroiz herself teaches electroforming, anodizing, and soldering classes.) Class lengths vary from a single day to a full 12 weeks. Skilled makers who simply want a convenient space in which to work can rent a bench without being enrolled.
Kroiz hopes that the center will breed change in the way Baltimore views jewelry. And Joyce Scott encourages people to look past the center’s North Avenue address.
“Do not be frightened by the supposed problems that will happen in this neighborhood,” she says. “If you support endeavors like this jewelry center, then this whole area—the entire city—will be able to gain from it.”