For anyone who worked at, frequented, or even regularly walked past Load of Fun in Staton North, Friday’s Sun article “Motor House to Offer Space for Artists in Station North” was pretty eerie. The article spoke of an historic building at 120 W. North Ave., which opened as a Ford dealership in 1914, became “Lombardo Office Equipment [sic]” in the ’70s, and is “now soon to become an arts center in the Station North neighborhood” called Motor House.
Funny thing, it actually was something of an arts center, called Load of Fun, from 2005 to 2012. The building housed performances and gallery shows, as well as several studio spaces. And it’s not like it didn’t leave an impression. In fact, its presence helped to kickstart North Avenue’s current cultural renaissance, a big part of the Station North “transformation [he’s] been watching for the past few years.”
Load of Fun’s absence from the article is strangely conspicuous. Single Carrot Theatre, a Load of Fun tenant, gets a mention, as does the electrical violation that partly precipitated the building’s closing in 2012. But then we get: “[Baltimore Arts Realty Corp.] envisions the building as an arts hub for Station North.” No mention of the strong precedent that vision has. Kelly even writes that the building “languished undisturbed for decades.”
City Paper was quick to point out the omission and yesterday published a response from Load of Fun’s former owner, Sherwin Mark. In it Mark credited the building’s 2012 closing (from an inspection prompted by an anonymous 311 call) to “whatever nefarious reason” and called Kelly’s column an “attempt at perpetrating social amnesia.”