MargaretDeManArmstrong

Margaret Armstong celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family. (Courtesy Photo)

Margaret DeMan Armstrong, a founder of the Baltimore School for the Arts celebrated her 100th birthday Jan. 30 with loved ones honoring her and her accomplishments. The event took place at Brookdale Towson, a senior living center located in Baltimore, and in addition to words from her family Armstrong received letters and commendations from President Barack Obama, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Gov. Larry Hogan, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski.

Armstrong paved the way for what is considered to be one of the best art schools in the city. The Baltimore School for the Arts is a public high school that has produced opera singers, actors, designers and artists.

“There were children that were ready to be different and that’s how we began thinking about the school” said Armstrong in an interview posted on the Baltimore of the Arts website entitled “The Founders.”

Considered by many to be the mother of the Baltimore School for the Arts, Armstrong strove to bring the performing arts to Baltimore schools and attract as many children possible.

With Title I funding she, and others, were able to create a cultural enrichment program that would expose city students to professional artistic performance. In 1971 Armstrong was authorized by then school superintendent Dr. Roland Patterson to form a committee that would work towards building a performing arts school, according to the school’s web site.

Among the committee board were people from all different professional backgrounds, civic, business and artistic leaders came together to work on making sure that they would succeed in their goals.

Following several ups and downs the school opened first as part-time, afterschool program before later becoming a full-time school in 1979.

Through the years of striving for success in the Baltimore School for the Arts Margaret, and all the other founders continue to strive for the students in helping them reach what they want to achieve and who they want to be.