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Event Recap February 3, 2019

BDS Participated in a Gathering of Greenmount West Institutions at the Baltimore Museum of Art

The purpose of the gathering was for institutions to learn more about each other and determine how we can consistently & effectively work together for a stronger community.

Kisha L. Webster, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Greenmount West Community Center Foundation pulled GMW stakeholders together to discuss a process for moving forward.  The purpose of the gathering was for institutions to learn more about each other and determine how we can consistently and effectively work together for a stronger community. The meeting was hosted by the Baltimore Museum of Art educator and expert on effective community engagement. The BMA is committed to being a resource for enriching our communities and finding common ground for communication and expression.  Their passion and dedication were evident by the well-organized, stimulating, positive and integrative platform they created.

Each institution had five minutes to share who they are, what they offer, and what they need. We heard from 11 AMAZING businesses/organizations/services that operate right in our little stamp on the map. Organizations like Open Works, Baltimore Montessori, Station North Tool Library, BYKE Collective, Area 405 Gallery, City Arts and the CA Gallery, the Greenmount West Association and the GMW Community Center were represented.  The impactful work that these organizations are doing is stunning. We were excited to share the mission of the Baltimore Design School and discussed our needs, including professional engagement, off-site opportunities and internships for our students.

We took a gallery walk through two installations.  The first, ‘Sore Foot’ by Artist Mark Bradford (part of his exhibit ‘Tomorrow is Another Day’ – thru March 3) . We also considered Tomás Saraceno’s  ‘Entangled Orbits‘ which is displayed above the main staircase at the museum’s entrance.  The group participated in conversation with an expert on effective community engagement and discussed what impact the art had on each of us and why.  This demonstrated how we can all be looking at the same thing, or going through the same exercise and have completely different experiences or perspectives.

We were also worked in teams to create a front page newspaper with pictures and headlines that we would love to see about the Greenmount West community 30 years from now.  Groups all seemed to have agreed they’d like to see more green space, eliminate the food desert, wider exposure for the rich art and diverse businesses, affordable housing and balance between the existing community and gentrification.

Finally, Towson University’s Dr. Samuel Collins and Dr Matthew Durington presented on their work with the Sharp- Leadenhall community. They were joined by Mrs. Betty Bland-Thomas – community leader in discussing problems that community faced with gentrification, illegal and/or thoughtless development.  Here’s an article on some of the issues the Sharp Leadenhall community worked through.  The presenters discussed how the community was able to  overcome communication barriers to be able to come together to advocate for themselves. This was an inspiring story, and one we hope to bring to our Architecture students soon.

The meeting was captured graphically by Lucinda Levine of Inkquiry Visuals.  By the end of the four hours, we had a stunning visual of the discussion. Her work was brilliant and a genius idea by the BMA to capture the room of art-focused organizations in the community. (Click for video shot of Lucinda in action)

Principal Valentine and staff have already started talking with folks about ways to engage with our students and are excited to get to work.