Arts & Culture

Where to Walk With Little Amal During Her Baltimore Visit

The towering puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee is coming in September as part of a walk across the U.S. to spread human rights awareness.

So far, she’s logged about 6,000 miles and passed through 15 countries searching for her mother. An ironically 12-foot-tall puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee child, Little Amal was created in 2021 by The Walk Productions—a nonprofit organization known for its large-scale public art—to raise awareness of the hardships faced by migrants, immigrants, and refugee children.

From The Vatican in Rome, Italy, where she was greeted by Pope Francis, to the Grand Théâtre de Genève in Geneva Switzerland, where she was honored with a public mini concert, Amal, whose name translates to “hope” in Arabic, has worked to spread her message of tenacity and unity. Throughout September and October, the puppet’s mission will continue with a tour of the United States, which includes a two-day stop in Charm City.

Little Amal will be welcomed in Baltimore September 15-16, with a lineup of four events planned by organizations including Creative Alliance, Black Arts District, Baltimore Center Stage, Waterfront Partnership, the Love Groove Festival, and CHEER (Community Health and Empowerment through Education). To show their solidarity, Baltimoreans are encouraged to join Little Amal on short walks at each event.

“How could we not come to Baltimore?” says David Lan, one of Little Amal’s founders and producers, emphasizing the city’s migrant and immigrant history. “It’s a famous city with a fantastically interesting history that has been involved in so many of the great movements that have made American culture. It’s very special, with characteristics of a seaport city, a big working class population, and big migrant and immigrant populations.”

Lan hopes that—like any child or refugee who needs help—Amal will be met with open arms when she arrives here. 

“The theme of the whole journey is welcome,” he says. “There’s a refugee child who’s going to come to your city. She’s going to be tired, she’s going to be hungry, she’s going to need money, and she’s probably frightened. What will you do? We know people’s lives are complicated. Nothing is easy. But to be able to welcome vulnerable people into your family, into your community, into your society—even into your theater—is a powerful thing.”

Below, see where Little Amal can be found when she lands in Charm City.

Sept. 15: Baltimore City Hall
The first stop on the puppet’s local journey will be a big Baltimore welcome bash at City Hall. Thanks to the Mayor’s Office, along with organizations such as American Library Association, Bloomberg, Faith in Action, and National Wildlife Federation, Amal will have the chance to walk with Mayor Brandon Scott and other city officials before heading to her second destination. 100 Holliday St. 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 16: Rash Field
Next, Amal heads to Rash Field, where locals are invited to join her for a walk around the Inner Harbor to the National Aquarium. Co-organizers with Waterfront Partnership want Amal’s creators to get the full experience of hanging around downtown’s crown jewel, taking in sights like street performers, skateboarders, and kids playing at Rash Field Park. “Your typical day at the harbor in Baltimore is really not so typical,” says Waterfront Partnership’s director of events and programs Leanna Wetmore. “You might see someone on a unicycle, and then see an organized walk supporting a mission like sickle cell anemia. It’s so random, yet perfectly orchestrated.” The highlight of this particular visit will be a four-foot-tall, community-created ice cream cone made special for Amal. There will plenty of ice cream for attendees, too, thanks to David Alima of The Charmery—who will be scooping his Lemon Stick flavor as a way “to highlight how wonderful Baltimore is” for the international visitors. 501 E Pratt St. 11 a.m.

September 16: Patterson Park
Planned in conjunction with Creative Alliance’s recurring Latin American market and festival, Tianquiztli, Little Amal’s afternoon visit to Patterson Park will feature an appearance by Lele—a traditional Mexican doll who has also been separated from her family. While mariachi music plays, locals are encouraged to walk with the sculptures from the park’s entrance at Curly and East Pratt streets to the Creative Alliance on Eastern Avenue. At the Highlandtown arts hub, attendees will be able to enjoy performances by the Jóvenes en Acción dance group, shop for traditional Latin American gifts made by its Artesanas, and learn about Dio de las Muertos symbols. Patterson Park. 2 p.m. 

September 16: Robert C. Marshall Park
It just so happens that Little Amal’s visit overlaps with the Love Groove Festival—a music, art, and film showcase highlighting up-and-coming talent, which will take place at the historic Royal Theater on Pennsylvania Avenue this year. Along with Baltimore Center Stage, the Black Arts District, and the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Love Groove founder John Tyler wants to introduce Amal and her creators to “the rich history of Pennsylvania Avenue and The Royal Theatre, what’s happened over the years, and how it became what it was through local Black artists and entertainers.” The walk at Robert C. Marshall Park will also highlight sets spun by Bmore Club music legend DJ Mighty Mark. 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue. 4:30 p.m.