“Our Hollins Market community sits between Baltimore’s two negative stories: The Corner and The Wire,” said Troy Staton, owner of the New Beginnings Barbershop located in Baltimore City. “We’re so much more than those two stories.”
Troy Staton’s business, with its great unisex haircuts, the “luvsartproject art gallery,” on-site Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States health screening mobile van and community outreach efforts, offers a window into how Baltimore’s “community connectors” play a special role in helping Baltimore to thrive.
Museum Art With Your Haircut
You may have heard about Staton’s New Beginnings Barbershop recently on NBC News, or you may have read the Baltimore Sun’s recent front-page story. Together with Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States, the New Beginnings Barbershop has been hosting a Kaiser mobile doctor’s office in front of the shop.
A Baltimore City native, Troy Staton is an art collector and also a master barber. “I noticed that art classes were being cut out of the schools. I wanted to share my personal art and also share museum-quality works of art with our community,” said Staton.
The New Beginnings Unisex Barbershop is a community barbershop and an art gallery. “I primarily display fine art from artists whose work has been showcased in museums,” he said. “We want to bring art to people in the inner city communities that aren’t regularly exposed to this type of art. I also display local and upcoming artists’ work.”
Health Care and Hair Care Come Together
Barbershops can be community hubs for support, information and inspiration. The New Beginnings Barbershop definitely falls in that category. “A neighborhood is about four blocks by four blocks. We realized that if our clients are consistently coming in for haircuts and hair care, why don’t we bring the doctors down to the people?” he said. “Many people in our community don’t have paid sick time off, so Kaiser’s medical van may be their best option.”
Since Dec. 2, 2016, a fully staffed Kaiser Permanente medical facility on wheels has been parked outside the barbershop offering free health screening visits. With two more weeks to go, all are welcome, including Kaiser Permanente clients. Staffed with a physician, nurse and lab tech, the Kaiser mobile health screening program offers flu shots, HIV tests, blood sugar screening, blood pressure tests and many other health services.
The clinic will be open on Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., on Feb. 17-18 and Feb. 24-25.
Through signage, fliers distributed to homes and word-of-mouth, news has gotten out that the doctor is waiting to see them. But the the best nudge to help people “get serious and see the doctor” may be Staton’s own awesome Facebook video posts.
You don’t need to look far in Baltimore City for other community advocates also leading the effort to help their neighborhoods reach their full potential. Part of Baltimoreans’ outreach strategy is to ensure every community rises up though a network of support from community advocates like Troy Staton.
The New Beginnings Barbershop is located at 1047 Hollins Street, Baltimore, 21223.