Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA)

Funding Received: 2013
Baltimore, MD
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
January 21, 2014

In December, community members and visitors to Highlandtown A&E District enjoyed a month of fun, free events. Santa waved from his Santa House and took pictures with visitors while children and families walked through Candy Cane Lane on their way to explore the Highlandtown Train Garden at the local firehouse. Overall, 4000 people visited Highlandtown! We have also begun work to create a sidewalk seating area next to High Grounds Coffee on Eastern Avenue. We also installed new lighting that illuminates the seating area, nearby bus stop, and future mural site from above, which has received excellent feedback from the community.

 Highlandtown 2

Additional projects will be happening through spring 2014, including permanent outdoor seating, completion of a new mural, and improved lighting to Conkling Plaza.

It has been a good month for us: We installed 6 new gooseneck lights, and the mural artist was selected for the mural at East & Eastern Avenues. We discovered that even the simplest projects make a big difference. When planning the mural/lighting/seating area at East Ave & Eastern Ave, the most practical part of the project was the lighting. We didn't realize the impact it would have on the space—especially since the other components weren't completed yet—but the community has really taken notice and given the property owner and us many positive compliments. Since, the owner of High Grounds Coffee submitted a grant application to fix up the façade of his building. We can't wait to see the completed project later this spring!

The Bromo Tower A&E District has received a lot of press coverage on the artistic crosswalk installations that were created last month and described in more detail in our blog post from November 2013.  Read more about it here:

-- Baltimore’s Got Some Playful New ‘Hopscotch Crosswalks’

-- Baltimore’s Hopscotch Crosswalk Colossus

-- Hop, Skip, And Jump Across The Street With New Artist-Designed Crosswalks

Moreover, the grant process has been so helpful in allowing the Bromo Tower A&E District to identify and continue to refine its desired outcomes—and also the incredible potential—of this project. Additionally, bringing our arts advisory committee together to discuss the value we hope to derive from this project has been a very important exercise and community-building activity that facilitates a sense of ownership for each group over the outcome of the project.

Preparations are well underway for the spring TRANSIT project at Penn Station Plaza in the Station North A&E District. Though things may seem quiet, there is a flurry of work in the Station North offices as they work on a communications and marketing plan to maximize the project’s reach, order paint for test sampling, work through the many practical logistics of the project, and lay the groundwork for our community outreach strategy once the residency begins in full. We are very much looking forward to officially announcing the project in the coming weeks . . . stay tuned!

We are very fortunate to have a number of partners that support the work at Penn Station Plaza. Representing a range of sectors and interests, these partners have lent their professional expertise and resources to the project as planning gears up and we prepare for implementation. These partnerships will help extend the impact of the project, and we are confident they will aid us in engaging new audiences in Station North, and strengthening the bonds with our existing audiences.