As we close out 2017 I’m thankful for the numerous neighbors, leaders, artists, and organizations I have had the honor of working with to Make Place Happen in Baltimore and beyond. From championing pedestrian accessibility around Druid Hill Park, to exploring the robust and emerging civic spaces and public art of Arlington County, to colorfully reconfiguring concrete paving for playful action, place is truly what we made of it. Public space is not just constructed out of tactile materials like pavement, landscaping, and benches, but also the intangible – knowledge, organizing, and programming. Through New Public Sites walking tours we poetically re-experienced everyday public spaces while learning from community leaders and civil servants how to affect change at the block level. Artscape showed that streets and bridges don’t have to be just for cars, but can also be spaces for ecstatic pedestrian interactions. Workshops like the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Visioning Home created spaces for inclusively mapping out creative futures for the city. I am inspired by my collaborators who believe that we can expand such temporary zones of autonomy into lasting places of accessibility, well-being, joy, and freedom.
The Necessity of Tomorrow(s): Mark Bradford—Making a Path + FutureSite Mapping
How do you make a path to power where none exists? How do you assess a community’s needs and create access for a community to self-determine?
Back in September I had the honor of collaborating with the Baltimore Museum of Art on creating and leading an interactive mapping activity for the “Visioning Home” workshop. Participants challenged the entrenched narratives about Baltimore neighborhoods and envisioned possible futures through group discussions, exploring the museum’s collection, and posting their ideas as signs on a colorful floor map. Now we are about to do it again – this time as part of the BMA’s new series, The Necessity of Tomorrow(s), featuring luminary artist Mark Bradford. Bradford will be in conversation with BMA Director Christopher Bedford exploring how the artist grapples with “making a path,” and other key questions in his artistic practice and community-based work. Afterwards, I will be leading FutureSite – a collaborative activity to map the future of Baltimore City.
Free. Click here to learn more and reserve your spot: http://bmatomorrows.org
Threading History in Place: Bromo District Walking Tour
You are invited to the final walking tour of my 2017 season: Threading History in Place.
Explore invisible public spaces and storied buildings that reflect the history of Baltimore’s fashion industry, department stores and garment district and learn about past and present efforts that shape the neighborhoods contained within the Bromo Arts and Entertainment District. Tour begins and ends at Everyman Theatre, where attendees may stay for the 2pm performance at an exclusive discounted rate. Produced in partnership with Everyman Theatre, Bromo Arts and Entertainment District, and Market Center Merchants’ Association.
Click here to purchase tickets: http://everymantheatre.org/bromo-district-walking-tour
As part of 12th annual Free Fall Baltimore, New Public Sites is offering three exciting tours – Mondawmin Crossings, Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift, and Druid Hill Reservoir Interchange. The fall 2017 New Public Sites walking tours series focuses on a combination of interlocking issues: pedestrian safety, the state of Baltimore’s water infrastructure, and access to public space.
These tours are made possible with support from Free Fall Baltimore and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Free Fall Baltimore is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) and presented by BGE with additional support from The Abell Foundation, Atapco Properties, Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
October 14, 3-4:30pm Click here to learn more and register
Greater Mondawmin is a collection of strong neighborhoods sharing an array of educational, recreational, and shopping opportunities. Unfortunately, residents are unable to safely walk or bike to our local amenities due to streetscape barriers like the dangerous highways that ring Druid Hill Park and Mondawmin Mall. Mondawmin Crossings will be an interactive walking tour exploring opportunities for improving how local residents connect with our many valuable community places.
October 21, 2-3:30pm Click here to learn more and register
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a celebrated success of waterfront redevelopment, but its spectacular looks disguise a contested past and challenging present. Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift tour participants will discover the real stories of how powerful people, visionary plans, and community movements are still transforming the former industrial wharf into a premiere public space for all.
[Rescheduled] Nov 4, 2-4pm Click here to learn more and register
Druid Hill Reservoir Construction Interchange will explore the overlapping embankments and sidewalks to nowhere between the Jones Falls Expressway and the Druid Hill Park Reservoir. The tour will focus on the history of the the park and surrounding highways, and details about the current reservoir construction project. Along the way, we will also share about the community movement afoot supporting pedestrian safety improvements around the park.
FGLA’s Interactive Periscope Public Art for Central Avenue approved by Baltimore City
The Baltimore City Public Art Commission approved FGLA’s public art concept for an interactive Periscope tower and plaza at the intersection of Central Avenue and Pratt Street. This work is the percent-for-art commission part of the Central Avenue streetscape project. The Periscope’s angled mirrors will make it possible for people walking by to see elevated views of the neighborhood. Its color, form, and integrated plaza are inspired by local waterways, including City Springs, Harford Run, and the Patapsco River. The 25’ tall Periscope will be constructed of cast-in-place concrete, colored plexiglass supported by a welded frame, and surrounded by a plaza of integral color concrete. Inscribed on the obelisk pedestal will be the names of the three local water bodies that makeup the watershed where the Periscope stands.
The triangle crossing at Pratt Street offers a unique opportunity for a truly public, plaza-like place along Central Avenue. The angled intersection provides panoramic views of Baltimore’s diverse pasts and futures. From this vantage one can see historical rowhomes, public housing in transition, public art, and ongoing development up and down Central Avenue. The view facing east frames City Springs school, which takes its name from a spring that once existed where its athletic field now lays. Synthesizing these views, Periscope will stand as an obelisk-like monument to water in place and pedestrian oversight. Inverting the hierarchy of Baltimore’s omnipresent blue surveillance lights, the tower will empower pedestrians with elevated views of their surroundings while colorfully evoking the water cycle of precipitation, collection, and flow.
Periscope will be fabricated and installed in 2019.
Periscope nighttime view facing southeast.
Periscope street view perspective featuring periscopic mirrors reflecting a nearby building.
Periscope plan feature blue integral color concrete plaza.
Come down to the Artscape Charles Street Trail this weekend, July 21-23, to explore Dancing Forest, a kinetic environment of inflatable trees emblazoned with trail markers identifying Baltimore’s many classic places, features, and customs. Participants are encouraged to walk among and explore the the animated trees as they undulate in the sky. Up close, one will find an array of urban trail symbols, such as benches, snowballs, bikers, and buildings. Internal LED illumination of the sculptures allows nighttime exploration. Combining spectacular movement with urban wayfinding symbols, Dancing Forest creates an exciting, playful environment meant to inspire participants continue exploring Baltimore’s many intriguing places.
The Charles Street Trail is located on Charles Street between Penn Station and Lanvale Street.
Click here to learn more about Dancing Forest and its trail markers. Post your pictures to social media using the hashtag #DancingForest @grahamprojects for likes and retweets!
The Baltimore Greenway Trail Network is an exciting vision for connecting our amazing urban trails and park system into a 35-mile loop around the city. I support this vision and have been working with Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and Bikemore to communicate the many exciting traffic calming and public health benefits of the proposal. With their support, last fall I was able to collaborate with neighbors on creating a demonstration public art crosswalk at Gwynns Falls Parkway and Auchentoroly Terrace that called attention to the need for such safety and connectivity improvements.
Rails-to-Trails and the city have begun a long process of engagement to design the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. Last night I attended the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition public meeting regarding their proposal for a multi use path down the middle of 33rd Street. Below are the concerns I heard, plus some facts.
- Concern: No one tried to inform neighbors about the Greenway Trail Network plan. Fact: Rails-to-Trails has been reaching out to community associations for at least year now. I first heard about the plan in February 2016. Several meetings have been held for both 33rd Street and Gwynns Falls Parkway communities, including last night’s gathering. This is the beginning of the planning process, not the end. Nothing is approved or fully designed. Lets keep on participating!
- Concern: A median trail will destroy the historic Olmsted plan for boulevards connecting Baltimore’s parks. Fact: over 100 years ago, the Olmsteds’ designed numerous multi-use, tree-lined paths for cities across the country. The Baltimore plan for boulevards connecting parks was never fully realized and quickly compromised by increased car traffic choking off the median green spaces from people who would like to use them. A median trail will in fact help properly realize the Olmsteds’ historic vision for Baltimore.
- Concern: A median trail will kill trees. Fact: there are numerous examples of historic and modern trails that do not kill trees. The city’s arborist must approve any such design, and the proposal is for a pervious trail surface that will allow the trees to continue to thrive.
- Concern: The trail will take away green space used by kids for playing. Fact: I lived on 33rd Street for five years with a bedroom overlooking the median. I never saw kids playing because the median is locked off from pedestrians by curbs and dangerous traffic. A median trail will make the space safe and accessible for kids learning to ride bikes, people traveling in wheelchairs, walkers, runners, and cyclists.
- Concern: The trail will cause an increase in car traffic. Fact: the trail’s many bumpouts and crosswalks will help slow the dangerous traffic on 33rd while giving people more options for commuting without needing a car, thereby reducing traffic.
From 2008-2013 I lived on 33rd Street and wished we could add a path down the middle and calm traffic. In 2013 I moved to Auchentoroly Terrace and now hold similar pedestrian safety and connectivity hopes for our community. Many of my neighbors and I are excited to help support the median trail proposal for the Olmsted-designed Gwynns Falls Parkway. A multi use, center-running trail will help calm traffic and enable our many differently abled neighbors to connect with Druid Hill and Leakin Parks. I’m excited to share this vision with my friends and former neighbors along 33rd Street
— Graham (a guy who likes to hang out on median strips)
Read about the trail network from Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: https://www.railstotrails.org/our…/trail-projects/baltimore/
More facts from BikeMore: https://www.bikemore.net/news/fact-check-the-greenways-trail-network-plan-is-awesome-support-it
Get ready for an exciting spring of New Public Sites radical walking tours in Baltimore City and Arlington, Virginia. Mark your calendars to get lost on foot:
New Public Sites & Baltimore Heritage
I am jazzed to be offering my two most popular Baltimore tours in partnership with Baltimore Heritage. Half of all proceeds from my next Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift and Crossing the Highway to Nowhere tours will go to supporting Baltimore Heritage’s important work preserving our city’s divers built history.
Saturday, March 18, 2-4pm – Inner Harbor w/ Baltimore Heritage
$15 tickets. Click here for more info and to register.
Saturday, April 1, 2-4pm – Crossing the Highway to Nowhere w/ Baltimore Heritage
$15 tickets. Click here for more info and to register.
If you walk halfway from the Inner Harbor to the Highway to Nowhere, you will find yourself in the Bromo District, a vibrant and ever changing arts neighborhood and employment center. As part of the Front exhibit curated by Betty Gonzales, I am leading Bromo Spectacular!, two different tours exploring invisible public spaces and artist-led development projects along Howard Street and surrounding blocks. Both Bromo Spectacular! Tours are free. Click here for details.
Saturday, April 22, 4-6pm – Bromo Spectacular – Tunneling Revival
Meet at the Metro Station entrance at 301 N Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Followed by Front opening reception 6-9pm at Le Mondo
Saturday, April 29, 2-4pm – Bromo Spectacular – Voids & Vistas
Meet in front of Current Space, 421 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21201
Now let’s say you got lost and end up walking fifty miles southwest. You would not only beat the DC gridlock, but also end up in Arlington, Virginia. Arlington is an impressively old yet historically suburban county now coursing with high-density, transit-oriented infill development. This is the wave of the future yall, so start looking forward to exploring and reimagining the urban and suburban spaces of Lee Highway, Courthouse, and Columbia Pike! Offered by Arlington Arts in partnership with Walk Arlington. Tours are free. Click here for details. Registration links below.
Since going full-time for Graham Projects I’ve had the honor of investigating, activating, and improving numerous public places in Baltimore and beyond. 2016 was a great year for making place happen with inspiring people. I am thankful.
- At the invitation of the Waterfront Partnership, Melvin Thomas and I made a 103’ long Harbor Hopscotch.
- My New Public Sites – Five Points Denver walking tours and immersive map installation went gangbusters at RedLine’s 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art Summit. Along the way, I was honored to share the megaphone and learn from half a dozen local speakers.
- With support from BikeMore and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, my home street Auchentoroly Terrace got a temporary Footprints Crosswalk to help pedestrians better connect with the Druid Hill Park Farmers Market.
- Working with an inspiring network of cultural organizers across Baltimore, I helped lead Citizen Artist Baltimore get-out-the-vote vote efforts. Bigly surprises aside, we informed local candidates of the values of our city’s diverse arts and cultural communities and educated voters on the importance of local races and ballot initiatives.
- I was honored to be invited by Baltimore Heritage to join their board of historic and cultural preservation advocates. I’m excited to be working with them on saving Baltimore’s most meaningful places.
- I had a fun time making water loop while redesigning Dance & Bmore’s website. May I do the same for you?
- The Public Art for Central Avenue Streetscape project continues. Falon Mihalic and I are busy closing in on our final design for a 25’ tall, pedestrian-empowering Periscope. Stay tuned for the full announcement and renderings…
Wandering the Pike
September 11 & 18, 2016
Columbia Pike Farmers Market
2820 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA 22204
Join public artist Graham Coreil-Allen to explore and reimagine the urban and suburban spaces of Columbia Pike in Arlington, Virginia on this alternative walking tour beginning at the Columbia Pike Farmers Market. All are invited to participate as we take turns sharing our insights into the history, design and uses of everyday public spaces. The former rural toll road served as an early economic lifeline connecting Washington DC to Virginia. Columbia Pike quickly grew into a booming stretch of motorist amenities at the expense of pedestrian safety and accessibility. Wander the Pike to experience firsthand how residents and leaders are helping to transform the suburban drag into an walkable main street for all. Click here for more details on the tours.
Free and open to the public. RSVP to Paul Shortt at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wandering the Pike is presented by Arlington Arts of Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of the Arlington County Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources, uses the power of the arts to transform lives and build community, and provides programs and services to create an environment that encourages excellence in the Arlington arts community.
Taking place within and around RedLine‘s 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art and Conversation, the New Public Sites – Five Points Denver walking tours and immersive gallery map installation provided a range of opportunities for learning about and activating the power of public space within a truly beautiful, challenging and inspirational neighborhood. New Public Sites is indebted to RedLine, participants, and all of the guest speakers who through their time, space and energies made our roving spaces of radical pedestrian action possible.
The project was informed by a range of interviewees and guest speakers. Interviewees included Tyrone Beverly, Beverly Grant, Lyz Riley, PJ DAmico, George Perez, Hadiya Evans, Julie Rubsam, Nikki Pike, and Celia Herrera. Guest speakers who generously donated time and energy sharing their Five Points experiences and projects included Centro Humanitario organizers Nancy Rosas and Judith Marquez, Blair-Caldwell Librarian Terry Nelson, long-term resident and RTD Title-VI Specialist Shontel Lewis, Five Points Fermentation owner Asia Dorsey, and The Temple Director Adam Gordon. I would also like to thank the entire RedLine staff for their hard work making these space of collective participation possible; including Louise Martorano, Libby Barbee, Whit Sibley, Geoffrey Shamos, Robin Gallite, and Misha Fraser.