Tom, a cartoonist and illustrator by profession, is a family-man who enjoys
Baltimore’s diverse history, interesting weirdness, and unique music scene.

Email Tom: tomchalkley[at]gmail[dot]com
How interesting!: Tom plays harmonica and writes songs as one of the three Patapsco Delta Boys!

What brought you to Baltimore?
I moved to Baltimore in 1979 to be in a rock and roll band. Then, I got involved with grassroots organizing from 1981-1987, and again from 1993-1995 working on community reinvestment. My wife, Ruth, and I married in 1988, and we’ve been parents since 1995. I lived in Belvedere, then Charles Village, then Waverly, and we bought our house in Arcadia in 1993. Arcadia is a terrific neighborhood of active citizens and community-based businesses.

What’s your connection to Baltimore?
I was a freelance columnist and illustrator for the City Paper for 30 years, from 1978-2008. I’ve been a cartooning teacher at Johns Hopkins since 1990; I’ve been a cartoonist and illustrator for all my adult life. Currently, I’ve gotten involved with part of the anarchic collective that produces the North by Northeast Baltimore Roots Music Series. It is such a joy to collaborate with my wife and with several of my best friends and favorite musicians; we’ve created a place where people have fun and discover wonderful and unique local music.

What do you like about Baltimore?
I love the fascinating history of Baltimore, especially African-American history, and the homegrown music scene! Baltimore has an endless supply of interesting, talented, engaged people of all kinds. I admire the dedication of the city’s nonprofit organizations, and the brave people who work every day to preserve their neighborhoods and neighbors. I love the city’s weird lore and idiosyncrasies and architecture. Since I moved here, I’ve watched Baltimore become more and more aware of its own uniqueness, and its own sense of humor.

New Baltimoreans should definitely check out:
The North by Northeast Baltimore Roots Music Series: In 2015 my wife and I joined several other music-loving people to start a community-based music series featuring local bands and singer-songwriters. The North by Northeast Baltimore Roots Music Series puts on a concert once a month, usually in November, December, January, March, April, and May. The series is held at the Church of the Messiah in Hamilton. It’s BYOB, cheap, family-friendly, and features homemade desserts and a laid-back community atmosphere. We’re focused on music and fun; we’re not focused on being hip or fashionable!

Connect with The North by Northeast Baltimore Roots Music Series online:

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