By Corinne Litchfield
Graham Projects is growing rapidly – and thanks to two new hires, we will be serving even more communities in making place happen.
Melvin Jadulang (he/him) is the Director of Operations and Engagement for Graham Projects. Melvin has worked in organizational management for advocacy groups and nonprofits, and has a background in real estate and entrepreneurship. Born and raised in Hawaii, Melvin relocated to Baltimore when his husband, Randall, got assigned to Fort Meade.
Zoe Roane-Hopkins (she/her) is an Associate Placemaker and Project Designer who works closely with Graham on design development and proposals. Zoe studied landscape architecture at Penn State, then received her MA in Industrial Design at the Savannah College of Art & Design.
We asked them a few questions about their personal mission, proudest achievements, their work at Graham Projects, and what placemaking/public art projects they’d love to work on.
What’s your guiding principle for everything you work on?
Melvin: Meet people where they are at and allow them to be heard. Make sure they know they are valued, and that happens when you follow through: let people know what’s going on with a project and how they can help.
Zoe: Be kind to people and be kind to the earth. I do very thoughtful design and I like to listen – listening to people, the planet, and translate it into something that’s colorful, dynamic and interesting. I like to shift perspective through all my designs.
What’s one of your proudest achievements?
Melvin: In 2019, I worked with my East Baltimore Midway neighborhood to convert four vacant lots into a community green space. The Boone Street Commons has different elements to engage the community: garden, park, and a picnic area/event space.
Zoe: Winning an award for my Space Frame design in the Design for Distancing competition last year. A friend told me to submit – I pulled my design together in two days and submitted right at the deadline. After my design was posted on Instagram, local landscape architecture firm EnviroCollab reached out to me about installing the Space Frame at a BelAir-Edison neighborhood event.
What will you be doing with Graham Projects?
Zoe: I split my time between EnviroCollab and Graham Projects, so every day is a little different. I recently submitted a design proposal for pavement art, and at our Pigtown pop-up event, I connected with community members on traffic calming and bumpout pavement art. I created coloring pages for people to use to give us their ideas. The community was enthusiastic – I liked talking with them and listening to their ideas.
Melvin: As the director of operations and engagement, I facilitate the processes, whether it’s with the community that’s invited us, or the actual project from start to finish. Part of my role involves keeping us true to the Graham Projects philosophy of making place happen and making sure the community is represented in the work we’re doing with them.
What are some of your dream projects? Is there a concept that you’d love to execute in collaboration with Graham Projects?
Melvin: I want to create opportunities so that a neighborhood can experience high quality placemaking and public art on any budget. We’re shifting the narrative to say that placemaking & public art can exist anywhere, and that means making it accessible for all. I’m also interested in developing a kit or service for neighborhoods that encourages and supports engagement in the placemaking process.
Zoe: I’d love to do a cross collaboration between EnviroCollab and Graham Projects that pulls together street art and landscaping architecture components.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Zoe: I play ukulele, guitar, and piano – I like to write songs & make animations to accompany them. I’m trying to learn the banjo, too. I also enjoy hiking and camping, and once the weather cools down I’ll go backpacking with my boyfriend. I really like to cook and currently I’m working through recipes in a dim sum cookbook I got for Christmas.
Melvin: I like taking bike rides through Baltimore. Finding cool new restaurants and cafes and visiting breweries & pubs are also fun. I like building furniture, like a bench or table. And of course gardening!
If you would like to collaborate with Graham Projects on improving a public space in your neighborhood, connect with us here!