Transformative Art for Troubled Times

Dear Reader,


A painstaking work of devotion
“Orb of the Empire,” Johann Leonhard Tauber, 1752,
Thin paper mounted on board,
The Walters Art Museum, W.728


Now on view at The Walters Art Museum is a treasure chest of an exhibit, tucked in an alcove within the Rye to Raphael Galleries, which showcases “spiritual medicine” for troubled times from the 16th century.

Uncertain Times: Martin Luther’s Remedies for the Soul, curated by Zanvyl Krieger Fellow Yu Na Han, features artifacts that illustrate Martin Luther’s teachings — including a tiny prayer book owned by Luther’s best friend, Philip Melancthon.

The 16th Century was a turbulent time in Catholic Europe. The Church was rife with corruption and sold “forgiveness” in the form of indulgences to the highest bidder. Young Martin Luther was a German monk with a big task at hand. Believing the Church had strayed too far from the Bible’s original teachings, Luther nailed Ninety-Five Theses on the door of a chapel in Wittenburg, Germany. His theses, published 500 years ago this month, became the foundation for the Protestant Reformation.

Instead of focusing on Luther’s doctrinal arguments, Uncertain Times focuses on the personal ways that Luther inspired his contemporaries. For one, he had the Bible translated from Greek, which only the elite could understand, into German, the common language of his day. He encouraged people to memorize New Testament stories as examples on how to live their lives. Illustrated allegories like the Ship of Penitence taught people right from wrong. Several of these painstakingly drawn masterpieces are on display.

Luther was also an advocate of “spiritual medicine” that could be found in the comforts of sharing a meal with friends. He emphasized that it was okay to be human — and even enjoy a few beers, as partaking in the little joys of life could help carry a person through larger travails. A stone beer tankard from the year 1600 is on display, alongside these words from Luther:

“Whenever the devil harasses you, have another drink, or joke and talk nonsense. Even sin a little to spite him. We are lost if we try too hard not to sin at all.”

One remarkable artwork inspired by Luther’s transformative teachings is a drawing of a cross made with tiny, hand-lettered prayers by Johann Leonhard Tauber in 1752. Tauber, who identified himself as a 63-year-old gravel-crusher from Nuremberg, Germany, composed this drawing by repeating lines of Biblical verse, Martin Luther’s catechism, and the Lord’s Prayer. The very act of writing became a meditative practice for the artist, as repeating the words would impress them onto his memory and bring him to a spiritual state.

The breadth of this little exhibition is astonishing. And Luther continues to inspire people – learn how he brought comfort to Curator Han in this great article by The Baltimore Sun.

Uncertain Times runs through Sunday, October 29, 2017.

The Walters Art Museum is located at 600 N. Charles Street in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. For more information, call 410-547-9000 or visit their website.


Upcoming Events In Mount Vernon


Baltimore School For the Arts

712 Cathedral Street | 443-642-5167 | Website


BSA banner

Open House/Information Day for Prospective Students
and Parents

Saturday, Oct 7 | 9 AM

Do you know a student interested in Baltimore School for the Arts? Join us at BSA for annual Open House/Information Day to learn all about the audition process and the school’s academic and arts curriculum. No reservations required, and all parents and families are welcome.

If your last name begins with A-L, please attend the morning sessions:
9 AM: Visual Arts, Vocal & Instrumental Music
10 AM: Academics
11 AM: Dance, Theatre, Theatre Production

If your last name begins with M-Z, please attend the afternoon sessions:
12 PM: Visual Arts, Vocal & Instrumental Music
1 PM: Academics
2 PM: Dance, Theatre, Theatre Production

You’ll learn about how to apply, how to prepare for the audition, how acceptance decisions are made, our college prep program, and what our alumni do. Student-guided tours follow each arts session.

All interested students must be accompanied by an adult.

Click here for more information.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
1212 Cathedral Street | 410-783-8000 | Website


Jurassic Park

Movie with Orchestra:
Jurassic Park

Saturday, Sept 30 | 8 PM
Sunday, Oct 1 | 3 PM
The Meyerhoff

Nicholas Hersh, Associate Conductor

One of the most thrilling science fiction adventures ever made, Jurassic Park transformed the movie-going experience for an entire generation. Now audiences can relive this ground-breaking film as never before – projected in HD while the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ magnificent score. “Welcome… to Jurassic Park!”

Jurassic Park is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. Licensed by Universal Studios Licensing LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | 410-332-0033 | Website


The Christians

The Christians
Sept 7 – Oct 8, 2017

By Lucas Hnath

“This nonjudgmental show, which offers a safe place for good people to disagree and even, possibly, evolve spiritually, is a tonic for tough times.”Dallas News

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE LOSE FAITH IN OUR LEADERS? Does absolute tolerance require tolerance of the intolerant? Can a divided head find a way to lead? When the stakes are eternity, what happens if your pastor is wrong? These are the questions that arise in a present-day American megachurch in The Christians, a new play about the seemingly insurmountable distance that exists when people of the same religion hold different beliefs. Stunning in its theatricality, this production will feature multiple choirs from area churches. Prescient in its investigation of the commercialization of religion, this play spotlights the sensitive and challenging obstacles of all successful organizations.

This show also features choirs from Baltimore area churches.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street | 410-396-5430 | Website


Writers LIVE: Lawrence P. Jackson
Chester B. Himes: A Biography

Wednesday, Sept 20 | 6:30 PM
Central Library, African American Department

Lawrence P. Jackson

In this definitive biography of Chester B. Himes, the African American author who had an extraordinary influence on black writers globally, Lawrence P. Jackson explores Himes’ middle-class origins and his eight years in prison. He also recounts Himes’ painful odyssey as a black World War II-era artist and his escape to Europe, where he became internationally famous for his Harlem detective series. Enhanced by friendships with Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, and Carl Van Vechten, Himes published twenty literary works over a long career, including the bestsellers If He Hollers, Let Him Go and Cotton Comes to Harlem.

Lawrence P. Jackson is Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of English and History at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Indignant Generation and other works.

Writers LIVE programs are supported in part by The Miss Howard Hubbard Adult Programming Fund.

The Ivy Bookshop will have copies of Jackson’s book for sale at a book signing following the program.

Click here for more information.

Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website



Structure and Perspective: David Brewster Explores Maryland’s Social Landscape Opening Reception
Thursday, Oct 12, 2017
6 – 8 PM

Join us for the opening reception of Structure and Perspective: David Brewster Explores Maryland’s Social Landscape. The evening will feature a guest DJ and a wine reception. Attendees will be invited to view the exhibition and participate in a ‘What’s your perspective?’ activity.

Maryland Historical Society opens its latest exhibition, Structure and Perspective: David Brewster Explores Maryland’s Social Landscape. The installation brings together commissioned works by Maryland-born artist David Brewster with objects from the MdHS collection. Brewster’s commissioned works focus on challenging and complex themes like gender, race, urban decay, suburban sprawl, environmental conditions, and the political.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Maryland Humanities
108 West Centre Street | 410-685-0095 | Website


Mt Vernon Park

Literary Mount Vernon Walking Tour
Saturday, Sept 16 | 11 AM
Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Library

Follow in the footsteps of Baltimore’s literary luminaries and discover the elegant brownstone mansions and majestic cultural institutions built by Baltimore’s successful 19th century merchants and industrialists. Learn how a neighborhood of scholars, struggling artists and authors, newspaperman, philanthropists and social reformers offered rich opportunities to discuss and debate ideas and open new literary avenues.

Advance reservations are required. Tickets are $10 per person and can be reserved online. Tours begin at 11 a.m. at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Library at 400 Cathedral Street.

Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Peabody Institute
1 East Mount Vernon Place | Phone: 410-234-4500 | Website


Joseph Young

Peabody Chamber Orchestra
Tuesday, Sept 19 | 8 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall

Joseph Young, Conductor

Antonín Dvořák: Othello Overture, Op. 93 George Frideric Handel: Concerto grosso in F major, Op. 3, No. 4 Franz Schubert: Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944

This free performance will be held in the Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall at 1 E. Mount Vernon Pl., Baltimore, MD 21202. Reservations are required.

Click here for more information or to reserve tickets.

Spotlighters Theatre
817 Saint Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website


Two Trains Running

Sept 8 – Oct 8, 2017

by August Wilson
Director: Fuzz Roark
Stage Manager: Phelix Blais-Evers

Synopsis: This is the 1960s chapter of the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright’s decade by decade saga of ordinary African Americans in this turbulent century. It takes place in Memphis Lee’s coffee shop in a Pittsburgh neighborhood that is on the brink of economic development. Focus is on the characters who hang out there: a local sage, an elderly man who imparts the secrets of life as learned from a 322 year old sage, an ex con, a numbers runner, a laconic waitress who slashed her legs to keep men away, and a mentally handicapped man who was once cheated out of a ham. With Chekhovian obliqueness, the author reveals simple truths, hopes and dreams, creating a microcosm of an era and a community on the brink of change.

Tickets: Adults $22; Seniors (60+) $20; Students & Military $18.
Ten Spot Thursday – ALL TICKETS JUST $10: Sept 14, 2017 at 8 PM (no other discounts apply). Purchase tickets by clicking here.

Post Show discussion with Cast and Director: Sunday, Sept 24, 2017 immediately following the performance.

Until next month,

Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is
A Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore

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