On March 27th, the Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, Maryland will have a very special exhibit to share with the public: Guarding the Art. The BMA invited their guards to curate an exhibition and get paid for it. The guards have been working with professional curators and other staffers to prepare for their big day. Of the 45 guards working there, 17 applied. They picked artwork from the museum to display in their exhibit that had personal meaning for them. Kelle Johnson, a BMA guard for 9 years and a vocal student let his passion for music make his choice. "I asked myself, 'if these paintings could sing, what would they sound like?'" Artist Hale Woodruff's Normandy Landscape sang Mozart to him. Veteran guard since 2006, Traci Archable-Frederick, after a stint at the Department of Homeland Security at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport chose to address the ongoing protests and racial tensions in the U.S. through artist Mickalene Thomas' Resist #2. Elise Tensley chose Winter's End by Jane Frank wanting women's art taken more seriously. BMA Director Christopher Bedford has observed that guards spend more time with these works than anyone else in the museum. Chief Curator Asma Naeem, one of the people who came up with the idea of security/curators, says they pick up lots of insights, and pass them along to visitors. When Art Historian and curator Lowery Stokes Sims sat in meetings where the BMA guards pitched their picks she said, "I was so energized and enthused to hear these extraordinary personal reactions to art."

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