Captain Isaac Emerson, the inventor of the Bromo-Seltzer headache remedy and builder of the iconic Bromo Seltzer Tower on Baltimore’s west side, was said to “interest himself thoroughly in everything tending to advance our city, and [be] a patron of all worthy enterprises seeking to push Baltimore to the front.” So I bet he would approve of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts’s push to make his horizontally-challenged building the centerpiece of what would be Baltimore’s third arts and entertainment district.
The Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District would cover 117 acres on the west side between Park Avenue and Paca, bounded by Read Street on the north and Lombard on the south. Within the district qualified artists as well as building owners could apply for tax breaks.
Currently known as the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, the structure has already been repurposed. Artists rent out studios on several of the Tower’s 15 small floors and show their work in a monthly open house. The Tower is also home to the monthly poetry reading, Benevolent Armchair.
Now, arts and nightlife are probably not enough on their own to save a struggling city, but it’s certainly more pleasant than some other remedies. And it would be nice to see some support for the Hippodrome and Bromo Seltzer.
Maryland economic development officials should make a decision on the neighborhood’s arts and entertainment designation by June 1.