Arts Community Loses a Visionary Leader

On December 2, hundreds of artists, leaders of arts organization, arts advocates, patrons and friends gathered at the Baltimore Museum of Art to celebrate the amazing life of Nancy Haragan, whose unforgettable and irreplaceable performances on this planet ended too soon on November 27th.

I  first worked with Nancy when MICA President, Fred Lazarus,  introduced us in connection with an effort to re-launch the Maryland Lawyers for the Arts.  I had approached Fred about helping  secure a broader base of support from Baltimore arts institutions.  Fred immediately identified the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and its co-founder and then-Director Nancy Haragan as the organization and person with whom we ought to engage to  incubate the MLA re-launch . True to Fred’s prediction,  Nancy displayed an amazing ability to forge alliances and see the big picture benefits of having a  volunteer lawyers for the arts organization in Maryland. . It is fair to say that without Nancy’s help there might not be an MLA today.

 I had the good fortune of serving with Nancy for several years on the Maryland  State Arts Council where we worked closely on the Council’s 5-year strategic plan and  on the Cultural Data Project, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trust that Nancy’s GBCA had championed,   making  Maryland an early adopter. The Cultural Data Project resulted in a fundamental change in the way that arts and cultural institutions gather and analyze data, which  streamlined the grants application process for Maryland’s arts organizations.

 Nancy was  smart,  funny, and relentless in her pursuit of transformative ideas that resulted in significant positive developments for the artists and arts communities in Baltimore and Maryland. Nancy was an irresistible force of nature, a good friend,  and I will miss her very much.