Street Art Seen As a Ticket to Revitalization in Baltimore

Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson reports on Open Walls Baltimore, the city’s first officially sanctioned street art exhibition, which seeks to bring new life to a transitional neighborhood, and presents a dilemma for its curator.

Running through the end of May on twenty walls throughout Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District, the murals appearing during Open Walls are being curated by the artist Gaia.

Dickinson profiles the "museum for street art" being created to help revitalize a community that suffers from high vacancy, empty lots, low incomes, and crime, and the growing global trend in which "Cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, London, Barcelona, and others have appropriated what was once an illegal art form for economic revitalization purposes."

While Open Walls aims to draw new people into a district in which other investment is driving a slow, but sure, turnaround, Dickinson examines the delicate balance the project entails for participating artists, many of whose work focuses on drawing "attention to injustice or imbalance in the ecosystem of the city."

"Much of Gaia's street art in Baltimore offers a critique of a capitalistic society built on private property and the disinvestment in the American city. With Open Walls, he and his contemporaries are embracing official events that could, if successful, raise property values and price out existing residents.

Gaia recognizes this. 'If this results in the neighborhood flipping, it will be a tremendous failure and I will feel really guilty,' he says."

Full Story: Gallery walls: Cities embrace street art as a ticket to success

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95