You’re driving down East North Avenue and just as you take the left onto Charles you look up and whoa! Huge mural. It’s a man lying on his side, fetal position, pulling off a mask that spirals away from him into a bright tangle of color and shapes. It must be 25-feet tall, and more than twice that long. All of a sudden the empty lot becomes a stage, a vantage point, somewhere to stand and take in the art. Sure it’s still dotted with empty cement buckets, and Doritos bags roll through like tumbleweed, but these things seem to matter less now.

The piece, recently completed by Argentinian artist Ever, is one of the most visible of 23 murals in Baltimore’s Open Walls project, which spans through Station North. Open Walls is an achievement in many senses – not only are the pieces artistically significant in and of themselves, they also represent a major collaboration among some of the foremost contemporary mural artists in the world, and a media success within and outside of the city. As a Baltimore native and resident, though, the most important part for me is their psychological impact, the way they transform the spaces they overlook. I wanted to see some more, so I rode around the area for a while.

Here’s some of what I found:

Side-by-side murals at the corner of Barclay and East Oliver Streets. These courtesy of Jaz, also from Argentina.

Echoes of Basquiat on Charles and Lafayette Ave, by Freddy Sam of South Africa below.

Portugese artist Vhils carved this stucco mural (below) into one side of the Bell Foundry.

On the opposite side  of the Bell Foundry, a depiction below of Baltimore burning, cupped in green hands and saved by water.  

Station North has seen street art before, but many of the older pieces are fading or defaced.

Several are still in progress, but the goal is to have all 23 murals finished by this Friday.

Come out for the Open Walls grand finale tonight, May 25th, with free performances from Dan Deacon, DJ Scottie B, and Mark Brown.