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hoffberger-rebecca-albanRebecca Alban Hoffberger

Founder, Director
American Visionary Art Museum

Rebecca Alban Hoffberger was accepted into college at the age of 15. But instead of attending, the precocious Hoffberger chose to become the first American apprentice of mime legend Marcel Marceau.

It’s one among many creative career choices Hoffberger has made, including founding and then directing the American Visionary Art Museum for 25 years.

She’s won honorary doctorate degrees from a host of colleges, including the Maryland Institute College of Art, Stevenson University and McDaniel College, as well as numerous awards, such as the 2011 Katherine Coffey Award by the Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums.

At the museum, Hoffberger leads a team of what she describes as “triage miracle workers” on the smallest annual budget of Maryland’s 12 major cultural institutions.

Up until the pandemic hit, she said the museum averaged more than 100 weddings and corporate rental events per year. Most meaningfully to her, the museum has become a one-of-a-kind national museum and education center that won the coveted Urban Land Institute’s National Award for Excellence.

Popular museum events include its annual land/sea Kinetic Sculpture Race, its free Hughes Family Theater “Flicks from The Hill” movies under the stars, and its Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Dare to Dream event that attracts upwards of 5,000 attendees.

The museum has become “Mothership to fresh thinkers and innovators in science, engineering, medicine, humor, philosophy and especially compassionate justice activists.”

Making positive social change requires the fiercest creativity and care, she said. Hoffberger advised young leaders to remember that loving kindness, enthusiasm, being on time and gratitude are essential traits to possess.

“Baltimore, long infamous for its dark underbelly, should be a showcase for ‘what can and should be,’ as well as its remarkable and real strengths — a concept we have enshrined in our Jim Rouse Visionary Center whose wisdom and love for people and cities we champion,” she said.

Baltimore, long infamous for its dark underbelly, should be a showcase for ‘what can and should be,’ as well as its remarkable and real strengths — a concept we have enshrined in our Jim Rouse Visionary Center whose wisdom and love for people and cities we champion.”

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Icon Honors awards.

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