Eight walls in the Waverly and Reservoir Hill neighborhoods will soon be getting a major facelift.
Starting next week, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts’ “Art @ Work” program will bring together professional artists and dozens of YouthWorks participants, ranging from ages 14 to 21, to transform neighborhoods with vibrant murals. Now in its third year, the program has produced 19 indoor and outdoor public art projects in West Baltimore’s Upton and Sandtown-Winchester neighborhoods, employing 150 YouthWorks participants in the process.
This summer, community-based programs Jubilee Arts and 901 Arts will assist with eight projects – four in each neighborhood — from June 26 to July 28. Each project team will have one lead artist, an artist intern and 10 participants from YouthWorks. During those five weeks, they’ll solicit input from community members on mural designs, assemble presentations, plan and paint the projects and unveil them in a celebratory tour.
Local artist Iandry Randriamandroso has led Art @ Work teams since the program began. He joined BOPA in the effort a year after he completed his striking five-part B’MORE Birds mural series along the York Road corridor.
In 2015, his team transformed a pool house wall at Sandtown-Winchester’s William McAbee Pool. Throughout the process, he noticed the project’s uplifting effect on both neighborhood dwellers and his team of young artists.
“For the people to see that young people are working — that’s the praise that I always heard from community members when they passed by,” he said. “It’s great to see them achieving something that is bigger. Some of them have never done anything with art, but they’re part of this project, and they think about the social impact of what they’re doing.”
It’s also an enriching experience for a working artist, he said. “This challenges you, because you work with a group of young people to beautify the neighborhood, but also teach them to be professional.”
Randriamandroso will be back with Art @ Work this summer, joining lead artists Julie Horton, Megan Lewis, Gary Mullen, Latoya Peoples, S. Rasheem, Ernest Shaw and Mike Thomas.
In addition to making murals, YouthWorks participants will attend skill-building workshops over the course of the five-week program, according to BOPA. Examples include lessons in financial literacy from the Baltimore CASH Campaign, professional development from HIBRED Workforce Solutions and spoken word from Dew More Baltimore.
Community members in Reservoir Hill and Waverly will have a chance to review the mural designs before they appear on their neighborhood walls. The Art @ Work teams will present them in meetings at Beth Am Synagogue and St. John’s Epsicopal Church on July 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.
The painting is scheduled to take place from July 10 to 27 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and noon. The finished murals will be unveiled at community celebrations on July 28 from 6 to 9 p.m.