mariabroom_bless_grateful    Maria Broom, Narrator

Although nationally known as an actress for her recurring roles in HBO’s “The Wire” and “The Corner”, Maria is also a storyteller and dancer with more than forty years of performing and teaching in the US and across the globe. She is a Fulbright scholar and former news reporter for the ABC affiliates in Miami and Baltimore. Currently, she is on the theater faculty at the Baltimore School for the Arts.

A native of Baltimore, Maria has received many awards and honors including the Eubie Blake Award, the Sarah’s Circle Award and the 2004 Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist. In 2007, she was named, Artist of the Year by Young Audiences of Maryland, Inc.

In addition to her work as performer and educator, Maria is much requested as a speaker and presenter. With a background in yoga, meditation, Homa therapy and dance therapy, she conducts staff retreats, workshops and weekly classes that help people to release stress and feel at peace.

Formerly, the diversity coordinator for the Park School in Baltimore, she has been a consultant since 2006 for Maryland Public Television’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness, sponsored by Fetzer Institute.

As a recipient of an Open Society Institute community fellowship grant, Maria established a unique mentoring program in the inner city schools, and beyond, called the Dance Girls of Baltimore. It is through this vehicle that she passes on the values of self-discipline and thoughtful behavior.

In 2007, Maria worked in Poland and Czechoslovakia co-directing the independent film “Soul Immortal” to be released in 2010.  Contact:

Michael Gary Facebook photo Michael Gary, Music

Michael Gary II is a musician based in Baltimore, MD. He is a graduate of Baltimore School for the Arts and is currently a third year Jazz Guitar student at Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, where he was awarded the Charlie Byrd Memorial Endowed Scholarship for jazz guitar in the 2013-2014 school year. Michael has played and recorded live with several musicians, including  Steve McCoy, Andrea Dumas, Busy Bee, Derrick McDuffey, Tim Green, Delandria Mills, Sonnie Badu, Jonathan Nelson and Darwin Hobbs. Michael has taught guitar and electric bass at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington’s Teen Arts Performance Camp, and currently teaches guitar at Baltimore School for the Arts’ TWIGS program.

Beatriz Bufrahi 2  Beatriz Bufrahi, Editor and Director

Beatriz Bufrahi was born in Panama and raised in Germany before coming to the United States in 1992.   Beatriz received her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Imaging and Digital Arts in 2004 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.   In her artwork she is interested in narrative and community issues and often works in collaboration with organizations and individuals. In 2001 she collaborated with breast cancer survivors to create the sound installation Diagnosed that was exhibited at the Susan G. Komen Foundation conference.  Her MFA thesis exhibition Three Women employed multiple sound tracks and projected video to explore issues of assimilation and displacement among immigrant women.  For several years Beatriz developed and coordinated educational outreach programs for the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at UMBC and taught video to inner city youth for Wide Angle Youth Media.

Thomas Thomas Ventimiglia,Writer and Director

Thomas Ventimiglia was born in Queens, New York.  He graduated from New York University in 1996 and has published both fiction and nonfiction in magazines such as the Potomac ReviewBaltimore ReviewHaypenny, and Hobo Pancakes. He received his MA in Writing at the Johns Hopkins University in 2009.  Thomas teaches English at the Baltimore School for the Arts and publishes the schools art and literary magazine, Madison & Cathedral.  Contact:

Student Crew

Kwame Alston, Camera Operator and Sound

Ashley Clarke, Camera Operator

Josh Cross-Barnett, Camera Operator

Allexxus Farley-Thomas, Animations

Kennedy McDaniel, Research and Production Assistant

Aidan Spann, Camera Operator

Amelia Voos, Camera Operator and Research

Gillian Waldo, Research and Production Assistant

Liam Walsh, Camera Operator

Christian Whitten-Wilson, Animations


For nearly thirty-five years, the Baltimore School for the Arts has remained a beloved and respected institution.  Since its charter in 1979, BSA has not only been one of the leading pre-professional art schools in the country, but also a second home to the students of Baltimore City. Despite the ever- changing landscape of public education, the school has held fast to its mission: to provide young people who aspire to a career in the arts with intensive, pre-professional training in the arts combined with a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum.

How this school came to be and the extraordinary people who contributed to its making is the subject of this story. BSA was built by many hands. But a special few of these “founders” were central to the schools development. They were teachers, business leaders, lawyers, artists and politicians. They saw the school develop from its earliest stages and helped it grow into something wonderful. And all of them were motivated by a singular vision: to build a place for the young people of Baltimore to thrive.

To this end, a reminder of how this school came to be is the goal of The Founders.  It will serve as an origin tale for students, teachers, administrators, and citizens of Baltimore City.  It will also try to answer the perennial question of how to create educational institutions that thrive.

Finally, The Founders seeks to retell this tale in the best way possible— as a partnership between BSA’s talented students and dedicated teachers.

We hope you will enjoy our film!


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