Arts District

Public Art Emphasizes 'Black Lives Matter'

Morgan State University Students paste portraits on Station North building.

By Gabriella Souza | June 23, 2015, 3:16 pm

-Courtesy of Christopher Metzger and Kelli Williams
Arts District

Public Art Emphasizes 'Black Lives Matter'

Morgan State University Students paste portraits on Station North building.

By Gabriella Souza | June 23, 2015, 3:16 pm

-Courtesy of Christopher Metzger and Kelli Williams

If you pass by the building at 1400 Greenmount Ave., a wall of faces greets you.

They hold various expressions, gazing out from the brick in black and white. But what is particularly eye-catching is the rod iron fencing that’s shadowed across their faces and bodies.

The fencing is meant to “symbolize the barriers African-Americans encounter in everyday life,” said Christopher Metzger, a Morgan State University professor who organized the piece. The theme of this public art is “Black Lives Matter,” and when his students chose it last spring, they had no idea just how relevant it would become.

This piece is a part of the Inside Out project, a global initiative that allows people to share their portraits and make a statement for what they stand for. Metzger had the idea for a few years, but it came to fruition when he enlisted the help of students in his computer graphics and computers in art design classes, who picked the theme.

They were working on the details when the city swirled into turmoil after the death of Freddie Gray.

“That made everyone realize how important the concept really was,” said Kelli Williams, the project’s lead artist, who has graduated and is off to graduate school in Ohio. “And it was great that we were talking as a group of artists, not just students or teachers.”

The students shot portraits of themselves and others in a studio, then created large-format prints.

Installation began last week, with Metzger and the students pasting the prints onto the building, the future home of creative hub Open Works. Tragically, the group started work the day a gunman killed nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston.

The piece has gotten plenty of attention—cars have slowed, people have snapped cell phone photos.

“You would see people stop, then come back with their family and friends,” said incoming senior Kristian Robertson. “It’s amazing.”

The piece will likely remain until construction starts on Open Works later this year.




You May Also Like


MaxSpace

Movie Review: Knives Out

Finally, something the entire family will agree on this Thanksgiving!

MaxSpace

Movie Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers is exactly what we all need right now.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: Marriage Story

All divorces are sad in different ways.


Arts District

Everyman's 'Orient Express' Experience Reaches Far Beyond the Script

On stage surprises and specialty drinks enhance the theater's holiday performance.

The Chatter

Cardinal Shehan Choir Heads Back to ‘The View’ on MLK Day

This time, the group will be joined by Krieger Schechter and sing with Billy Porter.

Arts & Culture

Grl Plz

Arts collective GRL PWR represents marginalized performers.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Four Key Updates on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Here’s what the BSO has been up to since performances resumed in September.

Will Judge Make an Example Out of Catherine Pugh?: With the former mayor’s sentencing scheduled for February, both sides get to work on their case.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Declares For Late Husband’s Seat: We break down the familiar faces in upcoming special Democratic primary.

Maryland Native Maggie Rogers Receives First Grammy Nomination: The singer-songwriter was nominated for “Best New Artist” alongside big-name acts.

Gervonta Davis Wins Another World Title Belt, Eyes ‘Big Year’ Ahead: West Baltimore’s own was bruised, but not beaten in longest fight of his pro career.