When asked to name local neighborhoods, Baltimore Highlands and Coldstream Homestead Montebello may not spring to mind.
But that could change as these ’hoods—and others—harness the power of public art to both brand and beautify. There’s the just-completed 30-foot-tall aluminum “R” sculpture in Remington by artist (and resident) Dominic Terlizzi. Or, in Baltimore Highlands, an East Baltimore neighborhood with a large Latino population, there’s the bus stop shelter with a giant red pushpin sculpture piercing the roof and the Spanish phrase “estamos aquí” (“we are here”) emblazoned across it.
And in Coldstream Homestead Montebello, near Lake Montebello, an installation of whimsical windmills designed by local artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, and fabricated by Michael Hart, is generating excitement.
“It’s a boon to us to be able to reach individuals who may have otherwise just overlooked the community,” says the community organization’s executive director, Mark Washington.
Steven Gondol, executive director of Live Baltimore, a nonprofit that facilitates home buying in the city, agrees, saying such projects are both savvy and inspiring.
“When a neighborhood welcomes you with art, it shows that the community is organized and that residents care about their surroundings,” he notes. “In many ways, that’s the most beautiful part.”