Courting Art is a program that promotes youth artwork, connects the legal community with local communities of Baltimore City, and aims to reduce stress and anxiety for litigants and visitors by beautifying local courthouses. Hosted by the District Court of Maryland and in partnership with the Baltimore Bar Foundation, Incorporated and the Bar Association of Baltimore City, the contest is open to all Baltimore City public high school students. Courting Art Baltimore also collaborates with Baltimore City Public Schools, Arts Every Day, Baltimore City Community College, and the College Bound Foundation to achieve success each year since its first contest in 2016. Courting Art Baltimore also connects Baltimore City students with a local community college and provides scholarships to the winning artists to pursue higher education after high school.
Courting Art Baltimore is modeled after a program created by the Montgomery Bar Association of Pennsylvania. The Montgomery Bar Association began its Courting Art program in 2013 with its contest focusing on artwork by local senior citizens. The Montgomery Bar Association Courting Art Project received acclaim and has been credited with saving taxpayers’ thousands of dollars in long overdue public improvements to the Montgomery County Courthouse. In addition, the contributing artists brought public attention to local landmarks and community treasures.
The specific theme of the contest for Courting Art Baltimore changes yearly, but always relates to the core mission of Courting Art. The top works are selected based on relation to the year’s theme, artistic difficulty, aesthetic beauty, and connection to the mission of Courting Art of connecting communities, reducing stress for litigants, and beautifying the courthouse.
All submissions to the contest are displayed at a public exhibition at Baltimore City Community College. At the opening night of the exhibition, approximately fifteen to twenty top works are selected to be professionally reproduced for long-term display at the Eastside District Courthouse in Baltimore City.
Following the installation of the artwork at the courthouse, an awards reception is held to reveal the top works of the entire contest. All finalists receive gift certificates for art supplies, the contest winners receive financial scholarships for post-high school education.