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Sarah Tooley

MA Community Arts

Class of 2010

I believe 901 Arts is one of MICA’s greatest success stories in connecting with community. 

Sarah Tooley '10 isn't a stranger to community engagement. She currently serves as director of 901 Arts, an organization that was found upon a successful partnership between MICA and Baltimore community leaders that provides free after-school programs in art and music to children of the Better Waverly neighborhood. "I believe 901 Arts is one of MICA's greatest success stories in connecting with community," said Tooley, who received an MA in Community Arts in 2010. Among the projects 901 Arts has completed with community youth is the Sea Creature Storm Drain project, an effort in which young people had painted sidewalk murals of sea life around the neighborhood's storm drains. The designs brought attention to what happens to underwater life when street trash and litter are dumped illegally in storm drains or streets since that trash eventually drains into the Inner Harbor.

A recipient of a $49,000 Open Society Institute Baltimore Community Fellowship, Tooley had used the money to further her work at 901 Arts. "The point of my fellowship was to create a more sustainable infrastructure for the program," Tooley said. Among the changes Tooley has managed to implement: "We'd created a summer employment program to hire high school teens from the neighborhood."