The Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts is working with the city to finalize their contract ahead of BOPA’s flagship event later this summer.

Interim board chair Andrew Chaveas said during a special board meeting that due to prolonged negotiations with the city, BOPA missed a deadline to submit its contract to the city’s spending board, which has to approve it. He said the organization is working with the city to see if officials can add the new agreement as a “walk-on” item before BOPA’s contract with the city expires on June 30.

The contract would run for one year, Chaveas told board members; for the last few years, the city has elected to renew its contract with the organization instead of renegotiating a new one.

BOPA board members approved the contract Thursday night. A spokesman for the Baltimore City Comptroller’s Office, which oversees the Board of Estimates, said, “The Administration had shared their intention to walk this on, since the scheduled meeting of BOPA’s board did not allow for the contract to be submitted in a timely fashion.”

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Rachel D. Graham, BOPA’s CEO, said Thursday night that she isn’t concerned about the possible lapse in funding, citing confidence in the city’s commitment to “doing what’s best” for city artists.

Artscape, the city’s annual, free arts festival, is among Baltimore’s highest-profile events, drawing thousands of people downtown for a weekend. This year — Artscape’s 40th — is scheduled to be held from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4.

It will the first Artscape staged under new management. In February, BOPA named Graham, the former director of external relations for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, as its new CEO following more than a year of tumult. The agency, which contracts with the city to host large events and act as a liaison for film productions, also manages culturally significant landmarks, including the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, and oversees grant programs with local artists.

The group faced hardship during the coronavirus pandemic as public events scaled back and its staff numbers dwindled. Budget records, though, show BOPA is steadily regaining financial footing: In fiscal year 2020, BOPA saw a $36 return on investment for every city dollar spent, according to city budget records. During fiscal year 2023, it saw a return on investment of $78.

In January 2023, the arts organization parted ways with its leader, Donna Drew Sawyer, following a public spat with the city over its failure to produce its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. Later that year, the city’s Law Department revealed that BOPA attempted to trademark Artscape — even hiring outside counsel to do so — in direct violation of its contract.

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The city later allocated money to BOPA in installments to ensure the organization could get back on track. After an initial approval for a quarter of the organization’s annual funding at the start of the 2024 fiscal year, the city approved three supplemental appropriations over the remainder of the year.

Earlier this week, City Council members approved a more than $4 billion budget for fiscal year 2025 that includes a more than $2.7 million allocation for BOPA, according to budget documents, a slight increase over the prior two years. The city has set a target for BOPA to generate $256 million in economic impact for the city over the next fiscal year, the budget records show. In fiscal year 2023, it generated $158 million in economic impact to the city, falling short of a goal of $198 million.

At a public budget hearing late last month, Graham said the nonprofit organization had made strides but still had more work to do to regain the trust of the city and its local arts community. City Council members praised her for taking the reins of the organization and providing a steady hand as it attempts to recover lost ground.

This story has been updated.