Arches & Access Unites People & Park

Arches & Access
Arches & Access parade kick off

Showcasing the cherished connections between Druid Hill Park and surrounding neighborhoods, the Arches & Access project illuminated and activated the historic Druid Hill Park Gate at Madison Avenue, Druid Hill Park, and the Rawlings Conservatory with colorful lights, a community parade, and a public party. On the evening of November 3rd, 2019, over three hundred residents, artists, and performers transformed Madison Avenue at Druid Park Lake Drive into a spectacular, roving block party. Neighbors collectively created a place to march, dance, and perform in celebration of our West Baltimore communities united in green space and creating safe streets for people.

Arches & Access light art

Arches & Access was a Neighborhood Lights Project presented as part of the Brilliant Baltimore / Light City festival of light and literature. The event was led by Reservoir Hill artist Jessy DeSantis, Reservoir Hill advocate Courtney Bettle, and Auchentoroly Terrace public artist Graham Coreil-Allen with major support from the Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, a grant from Baltimore Heritage, and volunteers from Beth Am Synagogue’s IFO organization. The Reservoir Hill mothers Bettle and DeSantis took inspiration from DeSantis’ colorful painting of the Arches when they came up with the idea of creating a light art project in early 2019. Later the two reached out to Coreil-Allen of Graham Projects to help realize the light art. Collectively they expanded the vision to include solar powered lights leading into the park, activated by a joyful community parade showing what life could be like without highways hindering pedestrian access to Druid Hill Park.

Arches & Access sidewalk lights
Arches & Access Catrin & Catrina parade puppets
Arches & Access Twilighters Marching Band at Rawlings Conservatory
Arches & Access dance party

Graham Projects is honored to have been apart of creating Arches & Access and look forward to working again with our community partners on making this light art and parade an annual success.

Arches & Access organizers

Click for more pictures and to read the full story of the Arches & Access project at the TAP Druid Hill website.

Arches & Access

Arches & Access
Arches & Access

Graham Projects is excited to be collaborating with Reservoir Hill artists and organizers Jessy DeSantis, Courtney Bettle, and Kate Jennings on Arches & Access. Showcasing the cherished connections between the Reservoir Hill and Druid Hill Park, Arches & Access project will illuminate and activate the landmark Druid Hill Park Gate at Madison Avenue with colorful lights, a community parade, and public walking tour. The Neighborhood Lights Project is presented as part of the Brilliant Baltimore festival of light and literature.

Arches & Access Reservoir Hill Neighborhood Lights Parade

Reservoir Hill is hosting a family-friendly light parade in conjunction with Brilliant Baltimore’s Neighborhood Lights program. Come celebrate the community connections between our park and surrounding neighborhoods! All are invited to activate the Arches & Access light art with a community parade on Sunday, November 3rd, 5:30-9pm. The family-friendly walk will feature youth-made lanterns and marching band. Come ready to impress with glow sticks, lights, and lanterns as we parade through the arches into Druid Hill Park following an illuminated pathway ending at a colorfully lit Rawlings Conservatory. There neighbors will mingle while enjoying light refreshments, including hot cocoa, music, a photo booth, and food truck.

Sunday, November 3rd, 5:30-9pm

Parade’s starting point:
Druid Hill Park Gate at Madison Avenue
2600 Madison Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217

Parade’s ending point:
Rawlings Conservatory
3100 Swann Dr, Baltimore, MD 21217

Stay tuned for kid’s lantern workshops to-be-announced.

Find out more and learn about volunteer opportunities: tapdruidhill.org/archesandaccess

Share on social media with our facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/523199925113772/

Arches & Access Evening Wander Druid Hill Park Walking Tour

Friday, November 8, 7-9pm

Meet at Madison Avenue Gate:
2600 Madison Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217

Tour is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Email cardinalspace@gmail.com to reserve your spot. Dress in warm clothes, bring a flashlight, wear comfortable shoes, and be prepared to walk or roll 1.5 miles.

The Arches & Access Evening Wander will explore monuments to community connectivity and a riptide of traffic priorities between the Druid Hill Park Gate and the Jones Falls Expressway. The 90 minute tour will focus on the history of the park, the challenging impacts of surrounding highways on local neighborhoods, engineering behind the ongoing reservoir construction, and efforts to better TAP Druid Hill through participatory transportation planning.

The tour is presented as part of the Hidden Paths exhibit at Cardinal Space. https://www.cardinalspace.com/hidden-paths

Share on social media with our facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/2094358137335298/

Hidden Paths

Hidden Paths Banner with wheelbarrow
Hidden Paths Banner with wheelbarrow

I’m honored and excited to showing and performing alongside several amazing artists as part of the Hidden Paths walking art show opening at Cardinal Space this Saturday, September 7th, 5-8pm. Todd Shalom will lead the first walk starting at 3:30pm. That afternoon I will be in the process of collecting materials via a durational wheel barrow wander from the Graham Projects HQ at The Countdown down to the gallery on North Avenue. I will use these Shards of Site to construct a cairn, live during the opening. Closing out the show I will lead a New Public Sites / TAP Druid Hill walking tour on Friday, November 8, 7-9pm meeting at the Druid Hill Madison Avenue Gate. More on that later. For now join us at the opening this Saturday! Detail below. – Graham

Cardinal Space logo
Hidden Paths: An exhibition about walking in Baltimore

Hidden Paths: An Exhibition About Walking As Art

Sept. 7–Nov. 8, 2019

Artists
Miguel Braceli, Susie Brandt, Graham Coreil-Allen, J$Fur, Malcolm Peacock, Ada Pinkston, Todd Shalom 

Opening Reception
Saturday, Sept. 7, 5-8 p.m.

Cardinal
1758 Park Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217

Baltimore gallery Cardinal’s final exhibition of the year will take place mostly outside of its Bolton Hill walls.Hidden Paths: An Exhibition About Walking As Art from Sept. 7 to Nov. 8 will include five participatory artist-led walks around Baltimore in addition to a traditional gallery component.

The exhibition engages seven artists, mostly based or recently based in Baltimore, five of whom will lead high-concept tours of the city. Each tour is meant to make participants see their city in a new way.

“I noticed how rich Baltimore’s scene is in terms of performance art, and I started seeing artists taking walks and having that being central to the piece or being the work itself,” said Alexander Jarman, Cardinal co-founder and Hidden Paths curator. “These art works happen in real-time out in the world. Hidden Paths challenges what is an exhibition. Artists are creating scenarios, but no one is sure what will happen during the experience. We’re inviting people to go on these artist-led walks and learn from artists how to look at their neighborhoods in a different way and learn something new, whether it’s personal, political or geographical. Some people will be walking down streets they’ve never walked down before.”

To open the exhibition on Sept. 7, Todd Shalom, founder of New York City walking-as-art festival Elastic City, will lead an improvised tour at 3:30 p.m. of the Bolton Hill neighborhood surrounding Cardinal, when he will share tactics and strategies for how to show up and occupy a place and create walking art. The walk begins and ends at Cardinal, where there will be an opening reception from 5 to 8 p.m.

On Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. Rubys grant recipient Ada Pinkston will lead a Post-Colonial Historical Monuments Tour and guide participants to former confederate monuments in Baltimore, culminating in a workshop at the Enoch Pratt Library.

Closing the exhibition on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. is a 90-minute tour, Arches & Access Evening Wander by Graham Coreil-Allen, who will lead participants through Druid Hill Park and the surrounding community, with a focus on the history of the park, the challenging impacts of surrounding highways on local neighborhoods and engineering behind the ongoing reservoir construction. The walk is part of Coreil-Allen’s OSI-Baltimore Community Fellowship and in partnership with The Access Project for Druid Hill Park (TAP Druid Hill). 

Malcolm Peacock and J$Fur will also lead walks, and Miguel Braceli and Susie Brandt will host artist talks of their perambulatory art projects. A gallery installation of ephemera and visual material from the artists will be on view at Cardinal’s gallery space from Sept. 7 to Oct. 5, including a sound installation of ambient noises from around Baltimore by J$Fur, a zine of Pinkston’s Confederate statue project, and more.

For more information on the walks and exhibition, visit www.cardinalspace.com. Gallery hours are Wednesday 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday 12-4 p.m.

  • Key Dates:Sept. 7-Oct. 5: Gallery Installation
    Gallery hours are Wednesday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 12-4 p.m.
  • Sept. 7: Opening Tour and Reception
    Improvised round-trip tour by Todd Shalom at 3:30-5 p.m. Meet at Cardinal. Opening reception 5:30-8pm.
  • Sept. 14: Artist Talks by Miguel Braceli and Susie Brandt at 2 p.m. at Cardinal
  • Sept. 21: Artist-Led Walk by J$Fur at 2 p.m. Meet at Cardinal.
  • Oct. 5: Artist-Led Walk by Malcolm Peacock, TBD 
  • Oct. 19: Post-Colonial Historical Monuments TourArtist-Led Walk by Ada Pinkston at 2 p.m. at Bolton Hill confederate monument (corner of Mosher St. and W. Mt. Royal Ave.)
  • Nov. 8: Arches & Access Evening Wander Artist-Led Walk by Graham Coreil-Allen at 7 p.m. at Druid Hill Madison Avenue Gates

New Public Sites Spring Tours

New Public Sites Spring 2019 tours
New Public Sites Spring 2019 tours

The Graham Projects’ walking tour program New Public Sites is excited to offer four tours this spring in Baltimore City and Arlington, VA. Baltimore City tours are offered in partnership with Baltimore Heritage. Arlington tours are offered as part of the Arlington Public Art and Rosslyn BID programming. Check back for updates on registering for the tours in Arlington.

Auchentoroly Terrace by Foot

Auchentoroly Terrace by Foot walking tour

April 20, 2019, 10:00 am – 12:00

Free to neighborhood residents:
RSVP: graham@grahamprojects.com

$15 general public. Tickets & Info:
https://baltimoreheritage.org/event/auchentoroly-terrace-by-foot-a-historic-neighborhood-a-changing-druid-hill-park/

Originally named Auchentorolie after the ancestral estate of the area’s first owner, George Buchanan, today’s Auchentoroly Terrace neighborhood is made up of wonderful houses built at the height of the Victorian era. It is also at the forefront of change. The drinking water reservoir in neighboring Druid Hill Park is undergoing a dramatic shift and neighborhood leaders are working with city officials to improve the park’s accessibility by transforming its encircling highways into complete streets.

Join local resident and public artist Graham Coreil-Allen, a community leader working on neighborhood and park planning, on a walking tour to learn about the history of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Hill Park, as well as the direction they both are heading in the near future. Local leaders and heritage advocates Ms. Barbara Anderson-Dandy, Ms. Sandra Almond Cooper and Ms. Donna Cypress will also speak about the neighborhood’s significant African American history.

West Columbia Pike

Wandering the West Pike

Saturday, May 11 (rain date Saturday, May 25) • 11 am – 1 pm

Meet at Arlington Mill Plaza • S. Dinwiddie Street & Columbia Pike

Free! Click here to RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wandering-the-west-pike-tickets-59713828669

All visionaries are invited to attend the “Wandering the West Pike” walking tour with artist Graham Coreil-Allen to explore and reimagine the public spaces of Columbia Pike’s West End.

Highlights:

  • Experience the history, urban design, and current uses of Columbia Pike.
  • Learn about transportation improvements currently under construction.
  • Share about your own natural, secret and informal public spaces.
  • Imagine the future public art projects taking place along the Pike, including  “The Pike” by Donald Lipski.

Rosslyn Public Art

Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour

May 11, 2:30-4pm & June 6, 6-7:30pm

Free! Click here to RSVP: https://www.rosslynva.org/do/rosslyn-public-art-walking-tour

Tours meet at Central Place Plaza: 1800 N Lynn St, Arlington, VA 22209

Join one of Arlington County’s Public Artists in Residence, Graham Coreil-Allen, for a free Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour. During this 90 minute tour, participants will discover the history, design, and purpose of Rosslyn’s celebrated public art collection. Taking advantage of Rosslyn’s pedestrian-friendly character, the tour will also explore a robust network of spectacular, hidden, and new public spaces. Throughout the tours Coreil-Allen will create opportunities for playful interaction and inclusive discussion. Highlights include Liquid Pixels, Cupid’s Garden, the new Rosslyn Parklet and Street Furniture, and Dark Star Park.

The 2019 Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tours are presented by Rosslyn BID.

Druid Hill Park by Bike

Druid Lake Wallace Construction

June 8, 2019, 9:30am-12pm

Tickets $15. Purchase tickets and find out more:
https://baltimoreheritage.org/event/the-nooks-and-crannies-of-druid-hill-park-by-bike/

Escape the sensory overload of the big city and spend a quiet, serene June morning exploring the nooks and crannies of beautiful Druid Hill Park with amateur historian Ralph Brown and public artist and park neighbor Graham Coreil-Allen.  Find out why a “Know Nothing” party mayor in the late 1850’s left this magnificent gift to Baltimore. Discover the hidden zen garden of Druid Hill Park and meet its creator. Explore Baltimore’s history of segregation through testimonials present in the park today. Learn how Druid Lake has provided drinking water for nearly 150 years and behold the sublime piles of dirt that preview its recreational future. See how the park has changed in its appearance since it was established back in 1860 and what the hopes are for improved resident access going forward. If you can ride a bike you can do this ride since it will be on mostly flat dedicated, safe bike trails

Druid Hill Complete Streets

Graham Coreil-Allen headshot

Graham Coreil-Allen headshot

I’m honored and humbled to announce that I have been awarded a 2018 Open Society Institute (OSI) Baltimore Community Fellowship providing me with eighteen months of funding and organizing support as I collaborate with residents on reconnecting our West Baltimore neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Through the Druid Hill Complete Streets project I will be working with my neighbors to ensure that a forthcoming Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) planning effort is as reflective of community voices as possible as we seek to convert the dangerous barrier highways around Druid Hill Park into complete streets safe and accessible for all – especially the approximately 50% of area residents who do not drive. Complete Streets are streets designed and operated to be safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, transit users, wheelchair riders, and people who rely on bicycles. During the fellowship I will be working with local youth to create traffic calming public art to slow down cars and improve pedestrian safety. Potential ideas include mural-filled crosswalks, artistic planters protecting pedestrians, and creative signs reminding motorists where pedestrians have the right-of-way.

Auchentoroly Terrace walking tour

Auchentoroly Terrace community advocacy walk with city agencies, 2017.

West Baltimore’s historic work class neighborhoods of color have systematically been denied safe access to Druid Hill Park due to dangerous six-to-nine-lane-wide highways constructed over community opposition between the 1940s and the 1960s. Click here to read my story about the history behind the highways cutting off the neighborhoods of Mondawmin, Penn North, and Reservoir Hill from Druid Hill Park. The formerly two-lane, park-front streets of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive were widened into high-speed highways primarily serving suburban commuters at the expense of park access for local residents.

Structurally racist urban planning decisions to build highways around Druid Hill Park make it difficult for the residents to enjoy the park’s public health benefits, including exercise, healthy food, and clean air. The Baltimore City Health Department’s 2017 Neighborhood Health Profiles show that the majority working class, African American communities around the park have some of the city’s highest mortality rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Click here for the Penn North / Reservoir Hill and Greater Mondawmin health reports. Census data also shows that approximately half of residents in the immediate area code of 21217 do not drive. As pedestrians, transit users, wheelchair riders, and people who rely on bicycles, our residents deserve priority access to the park.

Druid Hill Complete Streets map and challenges

Since moving to Auchentoroly Terrace in 2013 I’ve listened to my neighbors talk about and experienced firsthand the need for more crosswalks, narrower roadways, less vehicular traffic, and slower speeds. With no playground in our neighborhood, I all too often witness small children on foot and bike darting across eight lanes of high speed traffic to reach the safe green spaces and play areas of Druid Hill Park. I also see how my retired, car-free neighbors are unable to reach the Druid Hill Farmers Market due to a lack of safe, convenient crosswalks. Most at risk are wheelchair riders who along sections of the park are blocked by non-ADA pathways.

In response to community transportation needs, 7th District Councilman Leon F. Pinkett III convened the Druid Hill Park Stakeholders group in early 2017. The group includes representatives from Mondawmin, Auchentoroly Terrace, and Reservoir Hill; Baltimore City agencies including the Departments of Transportation, Public Works, and Recreation and Parks; as well as non-profits including Bikemore, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and Parks & People. We are also reaching out to more local leaders and organizations to bring into the planning and advocacy effort. Thanks to the councilman’s leadership, in February 2018 Baltimore City DOT agreed to conduct a major transportation study to address our community’s concerns. This study will build on two ongoing local initiatives, the Big Jump Baltimore and the Baltimore Greenway Trail Network northwest trail planning effort. As an OSI Community Fellow, I will work full-time with my neighbors to shape this forthcoming transportation plan for rebuilding the dangerous barrier-highways of Druid Park Lake Drive and Auchentoroly Terrace as accessible boulevards that safely connect our most vulnerable residents with Druid Hill Park.

The Druid Hill Complete Streets initiative will support community education, creative urban planning, and traffic calming through public art. We will organize community-led walking tours in which youth, seniors, wheelchair riders, elected officials, and city planners learn from one another while seeking common ground for enacting equitable park access. We will also creatively engage residents in the ongoing DOT planning process through a new website, social media campaign, and activities at places like the Druid Hill Farmers Market to get input from residents who may not be able to make traditional public meetings. Lastly, we will collaborate with youth to create traffic calming public art around Druid Hill Park based on community design workshops in which residents will identify sites for enhancing pedestrian safety and reconnecting with the park. These low-cost interventions will have an immediate positive impact on park connectivity and public health while enabling residents and the public at large to envision the possibilities for complete streets.

The schedule of events and public art production will be determined by the yet-to-be-confirmed DOT study timeline. The Druid Hill Complete Streets project will bring together diverse neighborhood groups to shape the upcoming improvements around the park, empowering communities to claim our public spaces through creative city planning and public art interventions.

2018 Fall New Public Sites Walking Tours

New Public Sites Tours Fall 2018

New Public Sites Tours Fall 2018

This fall New Public Sites is excited to offer one new walking tour in Arlington, Virginia, Wandering the West Pike, and three classics in Baltimore City; Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift, Station North Ave, and Druid Hill Reservoir Interchange! The tours series focuses on the intersecting issues of public space access, transportation equity, creative placemaking, and how residents are shaping places through everyday actions.

All tours are free and open to the public, but spots are limited so be sure to register. The Fall 2018 New Public Sites tours are made possible with support from Arlington Arts and Free Fall Baltimore.

Free Fall Baltimore is presented by BGE, and is a program of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Wandering the West PikeWandering the West Pike

Saturday, October 13, 11:00 am-12:30pm
Free! Click here to register

Rain date: Saturday, October 20, 11:00 am-12:30pm

As one of the most diverse corridors in the country, Arlington, Virginia’s Columbia Pike in many ways represents the future of American culture and urbanism. On Wandering the West Pike walking tour participants will learn about how residents new and old are adapting suburban public spaces along Columbia Pike to meet their urban needs. Join us to explore and reimagine the public spaces of Columbia Pike’s West End. Learn about transportation improvements currently under construction. Imagine future public art projects taking place along the Pike, including  “The Pike” by Donald Lipski. Learn more…

Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift bannerInner Harbor Baltimore Drift

Sunday, October 14, 2-4pm
Free! Click here to register

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a celebrated success of waterfront redevelopment, but its spectacular looks disguise a contested past and challenging present. Join us on Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift to 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. Learn more…

New Public Sites Station North AvenueStation North Ave

Sunday, October 21, 2-4pm
Free! Click here to register

As a major thoroughfare in Baltimore’s premier arts district, North Avenue in seeing increasing arts, entertainment, and education development. The Station North Avenue tour explores the history of North Avenue as a transportation and cultural corridor, and the ongoing impact of creative placemaking in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Learn more…

New Public Sites Druid Hill Reservoir InterchangeDruid Hill Reservoir Interchange

Sunday, October 28, 2-4pm
Free! Click here to register

Druid Hill Reservoir 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. Learn more…

Free Fall BaltimoreBaltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts

The Big Jump Towards Druid Hill Park Access

180816 Big Jump Madison Ave entrance

180816 Big Jump Madison Ave entrance

Listen: Urban Planning History and Park Access in Druid Hill Park, Graham Coreil-Allen, Maryland Humanities podcast, August 30, 2018

If you’ve recently visited Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, you may have encountered a long row of orange and white plastic Jersey barriers running along the Druid Park Lake Drive and across the 28th Street Bridge. This is the Big Jump Baltimore shared-use path. Championed by local residents like myself, 7th District Councilman Leon Pinkett, Baltimore City Department of Transportation, and Bikemore, this temporary project counteracts decades of highway expansion with a protected space for pedestrians, wheelchair riders, and bicyclists to connect with green space, school, and jobs. Those of us living in West Baltimore certainly need it as for the past seventy years, walking or bicycling to Druid Hill Park has proven prohibitively dangerous. As a local resident and public artist, I’ve been working with neighbors on creating public art along the Big Jump pathway to make it safer for all people to enjoy the cultural and public health benefits of Druid Hill Park.

160706 Auchentoroly Terrace Druid Hill Park 8 lanes wide

Half of residents around Druid Hill Park do not own cars. So why does the area feel like a suburban highway? From the 1940s through the 1960s, car-focused transportation projects drastically changed the face of the park. The city’s goal was faster commute times for downtown workers living in the suburbs. Back then the surrounding neighborhoods of Reservoir Hill and Mondawmin were largely Jewish and African American communities. Proposed in 1945, the “Druid Hill Expressway” would convert Druid Hill Avenue and McCulloh Street to one-way thoroughfares connecting with a widened and extended Auchentoroly Terrace. By 1947 the highway plans had sparked a robust public debate

When the “Druid Hill Expressway” was proposed, NAACP Labor Secretary Clarence Mitchell Jr. argued that increased traffic speeds through westside neighborhoods would imperil black residents effectively barred by racist real estate practices from moving to the very suburbs that the highway would serve. Shaarei Tfiloh synagogue Rabbi Nathan Drazin expressed concern that traffic would endanger children attending Hebrew school as well as the throngs of congregants who traditionally walked down the middle of Auchentoroly Terrace during the high holy days.

Despite local outcry over the expressway plans, the three local council members were asked by area political boss James Pollack to ignore the opposition of their constituents and support of the “city wide” highway effort. In those days Pollack’s Trenton Democratic Club ran a political machine that effectively picked and elected all northwest Baltimore politicians. While the councilman had local independence, they dared not to cross Pollack over issues he considered important to the city at large. It didn’t hurt that the soon-to-be widened Auchentoroly Terrace just happened to end at Anoka Avenue – the calm, tree-lined street that Mr. Pollack called home. [Hat tip to my neighbor Dr. Daniel Hindman for discovering the connection to Pollack’s home.]  In the end, the councilmen appeased the local political machine and voted in favor of cutting down over 250 trees in Druid Hill Park to make room for widening Auchentoroly terrace into a highway flushing cars in and out of the central city at the expense of safe park access for west side residents.

Just a few years later Reservoir Hill residents in on the south side of the park found themselves facing a similar fate. In 1951 Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro Jr. proposed the Jones Falls Expressway. Druid Park Lake Drive would need to be expanded to serve as a feeder road to this new highway. Ensuing years of residents’ protests were ignored and construction began in 1956. Completion of the 1948 Druid Hill Expressway and 1963 Jones Falls Expressway resulted in the widening of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive. Two-lane, park-front residential streets became dangerous five-to-nine-lane-wide highways difficult for people to traverse on foot, and virtually impossible to cross for wheelchair riders. These expressways literally paved the way for white flight while cutting off the surrounding working class African American and Jewish neighborhoods from the park. A park once served by over 20 footpath entrances is now only equipped with merely five sets of badly deteriorated, nearly invisible crosswalks.

2018 Druid Hill Park highways

Structurally racist urban planning decisions to build highways around Druid Hill Park made it difficult for the existing majority working class, people of color living in Auchentoroly Terrace, Mondawmin, Penn North, and Reservoir Hill to enjoy the park’s public health benefits, including exercise, cultural gatherings, healthy food, and clean air. The Health Department’s 2017 Neighborhood Health Profiles shows that the majority lower income, African American communities around the park have some of the city’s highest mortality rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Census data also shows that nearly half of neighbors around the park do not have access to cars. As pedestrians, wheelchair riders, transit users, and people who rely on bicycles, neighbors deserve priority access to the park.

180816 Big Jump pedestrian

Seventy years after the first highway was built around Druid Hill Park there is now a movement afoot to rethink how these barrier roadways can become connectors enabling more equitable access to our historic, 714 acre green space. In 2017, Councilman Pinkett convened the Druid Hill Park Stakeholders group to counteract years of urban planning that prioritized cars over the public health and economic opportunity of residents. We are pushing for “complete streets” to safely connect our neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Complete streets are designed and operated to be safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, children, seniors, mobility users, transit riders, and bicyclists. Earlier this year Baltimore City Department of Transportation agreed to conduct a corridor study that has the exciting potential to address our community’s concerns. Leading up to this study, a newly created, temporary shared-use path now connects Reservoir Hill and Remington. The Big Jump Baltimore pathway previews what life could be like if we privileged all people, not just outside car commuters.

180816 Big Jump vinyl signage Remington

With the Big Jump temporary infrastructure now in place, myself and other residents and artists are adding public art enhancements making the trail more visible and usable for neighbors. In close collaboration with Bikemore, we’ve designed and installed creative wayfinding to show that the Big Jump Baltimore pathway is for everyone. Wayfinding consists of any number of sensory cues, such as signs, maps, textures and sounds, that provide travelers with orientation and possible paths. The Big Jump logo was designed by Danielle Parnes on behalf of Bikemore, with icon input from myself. I then adapted the logo to serve as pathway signage and wayfinding. For the Big Jump path we designed a street-sign-inspired logo featuring icons of the trail’s many different active uses, including but not limited to walking, wheelchair riding, bicycling dog walking, and skateboarding. We then went to our local makerspace Open Works and used their special equipment to cut the signage and icons out of adhesive backed, colorful vinyl. We used this cut vinyl to label and decorate the plastic jersey barriers so that both pedestrian and passing motorist can understand the purpose of the pathway.

180816 Big Jump Eutaw Pl entrance

To provide wayfinding for people not in cars we made our own set of large scale street stencils highlighting the pathway primary uses – walking, wheelchair riding, and bicycling. With these stencils we boldly marked the pathway as an active place for people. We also made several different footprint cutouts representing the people and creatures that travel daily between Druid Hill Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Stenciled with colorful traffic paint, these footprint trails visually lead residents from surrounding blocks to safe access points for the Big Jump Baltimore pathway and Druid Hill Park.

180816 Big Jump side street stencil wayfinding Eutaw Pl

Local residents deserve priority access to Druid Hill Park. The Big Jump Baltimore shared use pathway shows that through low cost traffic projects, public art and community collaboration we can make immediate positive impact on the lives of our neighbors. For the first time ever wheelchair riders and people who rely on bicycles can actually cross the Jones Falls Expressway. More work needs to be done, but the Big Jump is a step in the right direction towards reconnecting our neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Starting in 2019 Baltimore City DOT will be conducting a roadway alignment study through which residents will have the opportunity to shape how the city converts the dangerous highways around Druid Hill Park into “complete streets”: streets safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, children, seniors, mobility users, transit riders, and bicyclists. In the meantime, it’s up to us take advantage of the Big Jump pathway while to creatively envisioning how our neighborhoods will one day reconnect with Druid Hill Park.

180830 Big Jump father and son bicyclists, photo by Brian O'Doherty www.odohertyphoto.com

Big Jump father and son bicyclists, 9/26/18, photo by Brian O’Doherty

180830 Big Jump Walking Tour with Graham & Ms Dee, photo by Brian O'Doherty

Big Jump Walking Tour 9/26/18 with Graham & Ms Dee, photo by Brian O’Doherty www.odohertyphoto.com

Listen to a version of this story on the Maryland Humanities Podcast: https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-cwqjv-9886f5

Click here to see more photos of Big Jump wayfinding: https://grahamprojects.com/projects/big-jump-wayfinding

Learn more about the Big Jump: https://www.bikemore.net/bigjump

Group photos courtesy of Brian O’Doherty: https://www.odohertyphoto.com

Read related letters to the editor by community leaders:

Op-Ed: Pinkett: We must make Druid Hill Park accessible, Leon Pinkett, Baltimore City 7th District City Councilman, Baltimore Sun, July 5, 2018

Op-Ed: Right a past wrong by opening access to Druid Hill Park, Daniel Hindman, Medical Doctor, Baltimore Sun, October 17, 2018

Op-Ed: Asphalt arteries cut off communities from Druid Hill Park, Davin Hong, Architect, Baltimore Sun, June 8, 2017

Choose Your Own Adventure at Artscape!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

Its July in Baltimore, which means its time for the nation’s largest free art festival – Artscape! Building off of the outrageous success of last year’s Dancing Forest of inflatable trees, I’m now teaming up with with fellow Baltimore public artist Becky Borlan on Choose Your Own Adventure! Choose your own Adventure will transform the Charles Street Bridge at Penn Station into a colorful playscape of pedestrian pathways and hanging beach balls. Spray chalk lines will mark a site-based map converging under a forest of beach balls hanging from an open air structure.

Choose Your Own Adventure at Artscape 2018
Charles Street Bridge at Penn Station, Baltimore, MD, 21201
July 20-22, 2018
Friday: 11am-9pm, Saturday: 11am-9pm, Sunday: 11am-7pm
After hours: Friday and Saturday 9pm-11pm
Free and open to the public

Choose your own Adventure takes inspiration from the natural paths taken by street-crossing pedestrians, the Jones Falls and train tracks below, and the joyful experiences of summer-inspired toys. The kinetic environment will feature hundreds of colorful, translucent beach balls and multiple lounging options for festival goers to find respite from the summer sun. Participants who choose to explore will discover curious signs offering choices for adventures beyond. Through tactical urbanism and creative design, the installation will preview possibilities for completely transforming the Charles Street Bridge into an immersive pedestrian environment and playful visionary experience.

Behold the Land of Transportation Innovation

Baltimore Banner Vista

Baltimore Banner Vista

Join us July 4th, 4:30-6:30pm, for the official opening of Art on the Waterfront, a group show of temporary public art featuring the Baltimore Banner Vista. The Baltimore Banner Vista showcases the city’s past and future transportation innovations converging around Middle Branch Park. Participants are invited to sit at a marked spot on the fire pit ledge to see the life-size “postcard” blend into the surrounding landscape. The vista banner evokes the history of transportation manufacturing in Port Covington by depicting Ross Winans’ famous Cigar Ship constructed across the Middle Branch in 1858. The banner also features the proposed Baltimore-Washington Superconducting Maglev Train as well as a speculative anti-gravitational flight craft. The Baltimore Banner Vista inspires wonder and possibility for transportation advancements within this spectacular view of Baltimore City.

Click her for more photos of the installation: https://grahamprojects.com/projects/baltimore-banner-vista

Art on the Waterfront
Middle Branch Park, 3301 Waterview Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230
Opening Reception: July 4, 2018, 4:30-6:30pm, followed by music by DJ ”Derrick Jennings” and Jonathan Gilmore, then fireworks at 9:30pm
On display July 4 – September 28, 2018

Art on the Waterfront features Becky Borlan’s Prisms, which pays homage to Baltimore City’s harbor and history of sailing; Graham Coreil-Allen’s Baltimore Banner Vista, which highlights the city’s past and future transportation innovations; Ashley Kidner’s Pollinator Hexagon, which draws attention to the importance of pollinator plants; and Matthias Neumann’s Basics #24, which explores an abstracted notion of form, space and utility in public sculpture.

Art on the Waterfront is produced by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts and supported by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership, the City of Baltimore, and the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council.

Sun Stomp opens at Light City

Sun Stomp projection and bleachers

Sun Stomp projection and bleachers

Experience the power and beauty of the sun through Sun Stomp! Sun Stomp is a solar powered LED display and sun-inspired, interactive audio-visual environment at Baltimore’s third annual Light City festival. The massive public art project is a collaboration between public artist Graham Coreil-Allen, video artist Mark Brown, and solar engineer Matt Weaver.

Sun Stomp will be awaiting your foot-powered activation each evening, April 14–21, in the gateway to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, McKeldin Square. The installation is Stop 24 on the Light Art Walk, on the southside of Pratt Street between Light and Calvert Streets.

What: Sun Stomp, a solar powered LED display and sun-inspired, interactive audio-visual environment at Light City
When: April 14-21, 2018, 7pm-12am weekends, 7pm-11pm week nights
Where: Light City stop #24, McKeldin Square
101 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
Free. More info: http://sunstomp.art & https://lightcity.org
Audio Tour: 410-934-7821 enter 8#

Sun Stomp features a 34’ tall scaffolding sculpture with an interactive projection on one side and an array of sixteen, 290 watt solar panels on the other. Electrical Energy is collected during the day and stored as chemical energy in a battery bank in our Power Shed, which provides electricity to the colorful array of LED neon lights illuminating the structure after dark. Participants are invited to stomp on the bleacher footboards to trigger sun-inspired projected visuals, increase the LED brightness, and amplify sounds of the Sun sourced from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Solar and Storage Statistics:

  • Sun Stomp features 527 feet of LED lighting.
  • All 16 solar panels provide 4,640 Watts per sun hour or 23,200 Watts per day in April.
  • The average home in Baltimore uses 7,546 kilowatts per year; the same amount of electricity produced by these 16 solar panels and stored by the Battery Bank.
  • The 16 solar panels installed on a home would save $1,052 annually in electricity charges.
  • During Light City the Sun Stomp solar panels will prevent 200 pounds of CO2 emissions from local electricity generation.

Follow Sun Stomp updates and tag your photos #SunStomp & #LightCity2018
Sun Stomp Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunstomp
Sun Stomp Twitter: @sunstomp24 https://twitter.com/sunstomp24
Sun Stomp Instagram @sunstomp https://www.instagram.com/sunstomp

Sun Stomp solar panel neon LED perspective

Sun Stomp LED-lit bleachers

Sun Stomp solar panel neon LED

Sun Stomp daytime solar panels

Sun Stomp Power Shed interior