Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA)

Funding Received: 2013
Baltimore, MD
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
July 25, 2013

At a press event on April 5, 2013 Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that Baltimore City’s three Arts & Entertainment Districts had received a $200,000 grant from ArtPlace America, at our statewide meeting for Art & Entertainment District managers. Our grant which funds Transit, a project which brings together European and Baltimore artists, arts organizations, city planners and transportation officials to strategically transform transit environments within the Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District, the Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District and the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

“We are thrilled that the city’s three Arts & Entertainment Districts have this opportunity to collaborate for the first time on such a unique and meaningful project,” said Bill Gilmore, executive director of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts. “The Transit project will address transportation related placemaking challenges in each of the districts by using art and design.”

It all started in the spring of 2012, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and The Arts was approached by the Goethe Institut – Washington (organizes and supports cultural events that present German culture abroad and that further intercultural exchange) and EUNIC (European Union National Institutes of Culture -the network of the international cultural relations institutes from the member states of the European Union), to partner with them in their Getting to Know Europe grant program.

Working together, the partners submitted a project that includes professional development, creative placemaking in Baltimore’s three Arts & Entertainment Districts with a focus on transit hubs, and public programming that aligns with the programs and events that BOPA produces. Happily our proposal was accepted!

Though the Bromo Tower, Highlandtown and Station North, each represent diverse and distinct communities in particular geographic areas, all are similarly impacted by the presence of large transportation hubs. We see the reimagining of these hubs, (how they are used by riders, how they integrate into the community, and how they are viewed by community residents and businesses) as an opportunity to mobilize urban planners, architects and artists and engage community residents and businesses, to strategically transform the transit environment in each District.

The program, Transit – Creative Placemaking in Baltimore, will bring together EU and local artists through engagement with the community to explore: how theses hubs are used by riders and provide access to creative placemaking; how they are integrated into the community, and how they are viewed by community residents.

Highlights of the program include:

A study trip to Europe - Completed in March 10-20, 2013, the trip included a representative from each Arts & Entertainment Disrtict (3), Baltimore Office of Promoation & The Arts (1), Maryland Institute College of Art (1), and the city’s Department of Transportation (1).

A public forum – On April 23, 2013 the travel group convened a meeting at Maryland Institute College of Art to announce the project partnership, discuss the results of the study trip, and reveal projects planned for each District.

An artists’ residency period beginning in January 2014, will further the opportunity to exchange ideas. Fellows from EU member states will be selected through a juried application process, to work locally on placemaking projects within each A&E District.

And ongoing cultural activities (performing arts, film series, exhibitions) conducted over an 18-month period within each A&E District.