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Artist Exchange


Photo of Heiplaat and Baybrook communities

HarborTraces: Brooklyn-curtis bay<> Heijplaat

Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Committee (BRSCC) is supporting an ongoing artist residency program for artists in Baltimore, Maryland and Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The HarborTraces project is designed to empower members of two marginalized harbor communities, situated in two sister cities: Heijplaat in Rotterdam and Brooklyn-Curtis Bay in Baltimore (also known as Baybrook). Both communities are culturally diverse and have suffered from a loss of industry, jobs, and prospects. Both have both been geographically cut off from the rest of the metropolitan cities by waterways and major transportation arteries.

The artists in the program focus on public art projects that actively invite communities to examine their unique histories and sense of place. An educational outreach program accompanies the projects, in an effort to allow the artist to dialogue directly with students as well as the general public.

The Baltimore-Rotterdam Sister City Comittee (BRSCC) has received several grants for this arts initiative and is soliciting funds from other sources.

Visit the HarborTraces website for more information


Building Cultural Bridges

With our art exchange programs, we are addressing issues that relate to globalization, cultural development of community, multiculturalism, and social change through community and contemporary art. Our efforts include educational programs, artist residencies, and commissioned artwork, aiming to foster dialogue between the people of these two unique yet complementary cities, and at the same time strengthen institutional partnerships.

HarborTraces artist exchange has been active since 2009 and is an outgrowth of our Reflection student postcard exchange that took place in 2006 and 2007.


Current activities

Rotterdam artist and theatre artist Kathie diStefano has done several artist residencies in Baltimore over the years, with a focus on Baltimore’s Brooklyn-Curtis Bay neighborhood, but has also conducted workshops in other areas of Baltimore. During these residencies, she has worked with students, teachers, and community residents. In April and Octover 2016, Kathie returned to Baltimore to plan upcoming pen pal exchanges between Baltimore and Rotterdam area schools, with an environmental theme. She has received a grant from the Netherlands Chapter of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to help set up the pen pal exchanges.

Kathie diStefano employs participatory techniques and theatre art to create awareness with youth and seniors about the environment through creative strategies to recycle and make smart consumer decisions in Heijplaat in Rotterdam.

More information