This month’s We Are the World Blogfest (WATWB) post is dedicated to my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. As a four-year resident of the neighborhood of Pigtown in Baltimore, I am always inspired by local efforts to beautify our Baltimore communities.
This article from none other than The Baltimore Sun features the work of artist Tamara Payne in the neighborhood of Harwood in North Baltimore. Through her art, Payne seeks to beautify Harwood and further the sense of community.
The idea behind it, Payne says, is to create butterfly mosaics, which represent growth in the community and the overall transition of Harwood.
Payne is in charge of the glass mosaics, while Parnell does the carpentry, fixing the mosaics on Corian, a durable plastic, and then displaying them on houses in the neighborhood.
“The neighborhood beautification is basically making everything contiguous,” Parnell says. “If you go on any block in Harwood, you can see some mosaics, whether it’s address plaques or signage. And now with the Butterfly Effect, it will be a lot more visible along Barclay Street.”
The article also highlights the history of the Harwood neighborhood and the vibrancy of its residents.
Located in North Baltimore, Harwood is a small community in the greater Charles Village area with vibrant rowhouses known as “painted ladies.” The neighborhood features open spaces such as a community garden, Harwood Park and 26ers Park. For a time, Harwood was home to old Oriole Park, which was built on 29th Street; the stadium burned down in 1944.
Harwood has nearby amenities such as the 32nd Street Farmers Market, open year round, as well as Peabody Heights Brewery and The BBQ, a popular new restaurant on Greenmount Avenue. Residents point to their neighborhood’s central location, diversity and sense of community as highlights.
In reading this article, I was reminded of Pigtown’s Main Street mural, which, literally, paints the history of Pigtown. For me, the Pigtown mural is a wonderful reminder of our neighborhood’s history. I can imagine that for all those who view it when entering our community via Washington Boulevard, they too feel that sense of history and togetherness shared by our Pigtown community.
In a city infamously known for drugs and violence – leading to constant references to The Wire – the efforts and investments of local leaders such as Tamara Payne are refreshing and empowering. In this sense, like the Pigtown mural, Tamara Payne has brought “Motivation through Mosaics” to the Harwood community.
How do you give back to your neighborhood? What reminds you of your sense of community? Are there any art or beautification initiatives in your area?