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art educational exchange program

The Baltimore-Rotterdam Reflection art project is an international exchange, addressing issues that relate to globalization, cultural development of community, multiculturalism, and social change through community and contemporary art.

It incorporates an educational program, artist residencies, and commissioned artwork, aiming to foster dialogue between the people of these two unique yet complementary cities, and at the same time strengthen institutional partnerships.

The project started in spring 2006, with several public schools in Baltimore and Rotterdam. Students participate in workshops creating postcards that depict their impression of life in their own cities. They collage, paint, draw on the postcards, and add their thoughts.

Student participants at Roland Park Elementary School
Some of the student participants from Roland Park Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore.
(Photo: © George Hagegeorge)

Art guidelines, a kit, and training are provided to the teachers and students. The finished artwork is exchanged in a professionally installed exhibition on the other side of the ocean. 

Recent activities

Rotterdam’s Willem de Kooning Art Academie developed a Harbor Arts curriculum. Inspired by this curriculum, Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art taught in Baltimore schools in Brooklyn-Curtis Bay neighborhood through its Masters of Arts in Teaching Program. This was became one of many community arts programs in this neighborhood, conducted by a variety of institutions including University of Maryland, Baltimore County..

Our current HarborTraces artist exchange is an outgrowth of the Reflection project. It focuses on Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and a parallel neighborhood in Rotterdam called Heijplaat.

History of Reflection

In 2006, Reflection’s inaugural exhibition was on display at the new Baltimore Visitors Center in the middle of the Inner Harbor, in conjunction with the Volvo Ocean Race and the Baltimore Waterfront Festival. A portion of the exhibit was also at Port Discovery, the Baltimore’s children museum. A gala reception, sponsored by ABN AMRO Bank, was held at the Maryland Science Center. A delegation of students and teachers from Rotterdam traveled to Baltimore to join their counterparts at the reception, and to visit schools in Baltimore.

That summer, the exhibit traveled to Rotterdam’s Villa Zebra Children’s museum and Baltimore’s Artscape festival.

In spring 2007, it was shown at Baltimore’s World Trade Center. A follow-up postcard project took place at one of the Baltimore schools.

A video documentary about the postcard project, produced by Cheryl Fair, is shown with the postcards.

Building Cultural Bridges

We are helping teachers in the Netherlands and America integrate art into their curricula, while encouraging students on both sides of the Atlantic to reflect and and actively engage in a greater understanding between the two cities and different cultures. Our long-term objective is to integrate this type of arts program into the public school curricula in Rotterdam and Baltimore.

Reflection received support from Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and Rotterdam’s Willem de Kooning Academie, both of whom have strong graduate programs in art education. It also has the support of Baltimore’s Mayor’s Office and the Baltimore City and Baltimore County Public Schools.

List of participants
Picture gallery

Artist Exchange

We have launched a new Artist Exchange program. Steve Bradley from Baltimore had a residency in Rotterdam, and is working on follow-up programs that include educational components with Baltimore area students.

About the Exchange


Participating students from Baltimore and Rotterdam walk in a parade to celebrate the inaugural Reflection exhibit, April 2006 in Baltimore.
(Photo: Max Glanville, MICA)