Published: September 18, 2013
Todd Marcus is a great clarinet player, composer, and band leader, bringing joy with each show or recording. But he has been working away with equal passion on improving the Sandtown neighborhood, which was once the home to the Royal Theatre and the Sphinx Club, monuments to Baltimore’s great, historic jazz culture, with partners Elder C.W. Harris and Newborn Holistic Ministries Inc. Through the creation of green space, murals, and the renovation of half-a-dozen formerly vacant properties, they have transformed the 1900 and 2000 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, while their Jubilee Arts program offers art, dance, and writing classes to community members, and Martha’s Place offers help to women who are either homeless or struggling with addiction. Marcus’ organizing recognizes the importance of the arts for social change, and he puts his money—or rather his sweat—where his mouth is, providing exactly the kind of synthesis between cultural and social programs that the city could use more of.