About The Library

By Brittney Baltimore

This Saturday, November 3rd from 1-5 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Poe Room, sophiajacob, a contemporary art space dedicated to a continuous program of exhibitions by emerging and established artists, will present its fall symposium. Currently in its second season, the sophiajacob lecture series brings together artists, curators, and thinkers to present on a number of contemporary topics and issues.

sophiajacob's lecture symposium welcomes four local and national speakers:

  • Christine Armacost, a PhD candidate in American Literature at Fordham University.
  • Lisa Dillin, a Baltimore-based artist most recently exhibited in Future Daze at Open Space Gallery, The Alternate Present at Flashpoint in Washington, DC and as a Sondheim Finalist at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
  • Brian Garner, a Printmaker/Artist who has been based in Baltimore since 1985, and has taught art and printmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Davidson College, Towson University, and University of Maryland, College Park.
  • Maiza Hixson, the Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and the founder of the SHAFT Space with Lauren Ruth.

Founded in 2012, sophiajacob, located in walking distance to the Central Library at 501 W. Franklin St., is directed by Baltimore based artists David Armacost, Jordan Bernier, and Steven Riddle.

I had the opportunity to ask Armacost, Bernier, and Riddle four questions about the upcoming lecture, and the role of the Library in Baltimore’s art community:

Why did sophiajacob choose the Pratt Library as the location for your second lecture series?
The Enoch Pratt Free Library has a long history of cultural endeavors in Baltimore City. They support a wide range of art, film, and music events as well as readings and lectures. In addition, the Library is an institution that relies very heavily on the patronage and input of the community. The free, democratic nature of our public library made the decision very clear. It's somewhat strange that such a centrally located, free, open, and vast resource is not talked about and utilized more often within the local artist community.

Also, the Poe Room is most appropriate for our series. It is intimate, comfortable, and accessible; a prerequisite for our programming. This event is something of an experiment for us; lots of people have been asking us about the event and we hope for it to be a great success.

How did sophiajacob choose the four speakers?
We chose the speakers from a curated list developed months in advance. Generally speaking, each presenter is someone whose work or research we admire, yet we may not know much about their process or concepts.

Did sophiajacob have any re-occurring topics or themes in mind when choosing the speakers?
Each lecture date is a curated event, and while symposiums are generally organized around a single topic, sophiajacob attempted to find breadth in its curation of a symposium via the medium, concept, history, and location of its speakers.

What do you think the Enoch Pratt Free Library has to offer local artist?
The Enoch Pratt Free Library is one of the most exciting, democratic, cultural institutions in Baltimore. It's quite reasonable to book an event at the Central Library, and every occasion is free and open to the public as a rule. I think that makes the Enoch Pratt Free Library an indispensable public institution. I think that as artists we often forget about libraries as friends just like galleries, museums, conservatories, universities, and other cultural institutions. The Library is a resource that is dedicated to the idea of free information which is essential to a functioning democracy. Every living artist today has a responsibility to those ideas.

The sophiajacob lecture symposium is this Saturday, November 3rd from 1-5 at the Enoch Pratt Free Library Poe Room. You can find more information about the symposium on the gallery’s website.