Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA)

Funding Received: 2013
Baltimore, MD
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 12, 2014

By Diana Zhang

At the end of May, Station North Arts and Entertainment Inc. celebrated the successful conclusion of Open Walls Baltimore 2 (click here to read more about the party). Open Walls Baltimore 2 finished with more than 15 completed murals by outstanding artists from Baltimore, New York, Europe and South America. Halfway into Open Walls Baltimore 2, the project went viral on Instagram featuring among others, the mural of a monumental yellow smiley titled looks much better now by Spanish artist ESCIF. Next to the official murals, OWB2 also featured a series of OWBx projects such as “STOP TELLING WOMEN TO SMILE” by street artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, “LAB Studios” by Jaimes Mayhew and Marian Glebes, “Play the Plaza” by Urban Playground Team, “Free Yoga Fridays” by Charm City Yoga and Station North’s History by Baltimore Heritage.

Meanwhile, the Bromo Art District hosted its first successful “Block Hop” at the beginning of May. The event featured pop-up art galleries, live music and free food, drawing visitors to the northern stretch of the Bromo Howard Street corridor. In the same month, Bromo hosted a welcome dinner for the missing things at Current Space to introduce Bromo’s Austrian TRANSIT artist-in-residence Barbara Holub and her team to the different stakeholders in Bromo. Then in the beginning of June, Barbara and her collaborators successfully hosted the “first world congress of the missing things” an open roundtable discussion event in the Lexington metro station. Over a week-end, the team encouraged the people of Baltimore to voice their “missing things”. Then, the results were handed to Mayor Rawlings-Blake.

Photo from the "first world congress of the missing things" Photo from the "first world congress of the missing things"[/caption]

In June, TRANSIT, the intercultural program between Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts and the European Union National Institutes of Culture, came to an end. The project was partially funded by BOPA’s ArtPlace grant which helped establish artist residencies such as Station North ’s “Play the Plaza” with the UK parcours collective Urban Playground, Bromo’s “first world congress of the missing things” with Austrian artist Barbara Holub, and Highlandtown’s “BUS” with Spanish art collective mmmm… .

Next to the practical art projects, TRANSIT also hosted a symposium in creative urban resilience on the last weekend of May with selected participants from Europe, Baltimore, similar US cities and renowned national organizations for creative placemaking, ArtPlace included. The goal of the symposium was to share successful curatorial and artistic programs in the realm of creative placemaking as well as discuss the purposes, goals and limits of creative placemaking. The intimate discussion between the 30-something practitioners and specialists were fruitful and allowed each participant to leave the symposium with a fresh outlook on the practice of creative placemaking.