Baltimore may not have received the federal funds it was seeking for two large transportation projects, but Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did get to award $110,000 today for art projects in five different city neighborhoods.
The projects are 2016 winners of the PNC Transformative Art Prize, which provides grants of up to $30,000 to city neighborhoods to support efforts to enliven public spaces through high impact public art projects.
The mayor announced the awards at Neil’s Garden, a new garden and public art project in Coldstream Homestead Montebello that won a 2014 PNC award. The garden is named after Neil Abraham, a community activist who died earlier this year.
“I believe in the power of art,” Rawlings-Blake said. “I love that we have so many people that believe in the power of art and are working to transform our communities one neighborhood at a time.”
The funds that didn’t come through were $76 million to rebuild the offramps from Interstate 95 to serve Port Covington and $155 million to alter the Howard Street tunnel so it can accommodate trains with double-stacked shipping containers. The applicants have indicated they will apply again.
Administered by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, the PNC Transformative Art Prize is made possible through a partnership between PNC Bank and the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development.
The 2016 winners include:
A Step Forward, Inc. – $20,000
Harlem Park West– Making the Invisible…Visible
Location: 800 and 746 N Fulton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217
Working directly with residents of Harlem Park West, artist Ali Duggan will create a series of murals representing the struggles and successes of the people in and around the community. The murals, located at multiple complementary locations along North Fulton Avenue, will be complemented by a future community garden.
Creative Alliance – $15,000
Piñatas Navideñas y Posada
Location: 3134 Eastern Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224 and procession through Highlandtown
As part of its Piñata Entrepreneurship Program, the Creative Alliance will conduct professional development training for local piñata artisans and engage them to conduct piñata-making workshops at schools and perform a traditional Mexican Posada, thereby bringing this rich evangelist-turned-theatrical tradition to new audiences. The procession will feature young adults in biblically inspired costumes, live music, and will culminate in a party featuring homemade food and, of course, piñata breaking.
Patterson Park Neighborhood Association – $25,000
Fayette Corridor Alive, Chesapeake Bay Scene
Location: 156 N Milton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21224
Mural artists Shawn James and Charles Lawrence will work with sculptors Tim Scofield and Kyle Miller (creators of the popular Peacock at Light City) to create a Chesapeake Bay-themed mural and sculptural bus bench at the intersection of East Fayette Street and North Milton Avenue. The newly transformed intersection will feature custom built planters filled with native plants and trees creating an oasis for the dozens of MTA bus riders who utilize this stop daily.
Morgan State University – $30,000
Walk-Through Community Theater
Location: 1835 W Lanvale St, Baltimore, MD 21217
Working in partnership with A New Day, Morgan State University’s School of Community Health and Policy Department of Behavioral Health Sciences will convert the vacant lot located at 1835 W Lanvale into an outdoor community theater and rotating gallery utilizing projections. Youth and adults alike will take workshops on building digital cameras and working with artists Ashley Milburn and Johnnie Jackson, they will utilize their handcrafted digital cameras to photograph and document their community for the grant opening exhibition of the walk-through community theater.
Youth Resiliency Institute – $20,000
The Cherry Hill Intergenerational Choir
Location: Cherry Hill Homes Recreation Center: 2700 Spelman Road, Baltimore, MD 21225 and touring various locations throughout the city
Led by internationally recognized singer, songwriter and activist Navasha Daya, the Youth Resiliency Institute and the Cherry Hill Homes Tenants Council will form the Cherry Hill Intergenerational Choir. The choir will team up with visual artists Jackie Mayo and Dirk Joseph as well as drummer Mosiah Saleem to create a touring performance and visual artist hybrid project comprised of Cherry Hill voices of all ages.
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