In Baltimore, Bedford has been instrumental in launching the careers of such local artists as Stephen Towns, whose solo show ran at the BMA in 2018, and Jerrell Gibbs, who was selected to paint the portrait of the late Congressman Elijah Cummings that hangs in the U.S. Capitol.
“My show at the BMA was the first major platform I was offered in Baltimore,” Towns said earlier this year.
“I had been trying to get my work shown, and it took a very long time for me to do that. Chris helped to elevate my work and helped to elevate my status as an artist and open my work to collections nationally and internationally.”
Bedford said that when he first arrived in Baltimore, the quality of the art he saw was eye-opening.
“It is unusually good and unusually relevant,” he said. “That came as a surprise. And not only is the quality high, but the sociopolitical tone is pitch-perfect for this moment.”
If Baltimore has more creativity per square mile than other cities of its size, Bedford thinks that’s because this metropolis of eccentrics scoots over on its stoop to make room for other people who think outside the box.
“Baltimore is a place that expects you to be bold and brave and to make moves,” he said. “It isn’t afraid of making mistakes. I don’t know that you could say that about every city.”