Hello Everyone!

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.

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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?

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Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Beautification projects in my community – last year, Puerto Lopez opened a new beachfront boardwalk and road (the malecon), a project that had us under construction for two straight years. This year, they are building a new boat harbor and fish processing area for the fishermen – I think it will open sometime next year. Right now, the fishermen process fish right next to the tourist pier (opened in 2013), which is great for photos of boats, fish and sea birds but not so great for smells. As to how I give back, I help out where I see a need and can fill it without many people knowing. The one I write about the most is helping with an orphanage about an hour away.

    I love neighborhood beautification projects. This one looks especially good since it is including all of Pigtown. Hopefully graffitti artists will stay away. Thanks, Leighanne, for sharing this cool project for #WATWB.

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  2. So cool! Philadelphia also has great mosaics and a mosaic “museum”.

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  3. Did I read this in an earlier post of your maybe? It seems familiar and I remember then and now what a lovely initiative Motivation through Mosaics is. All kudos to Tamara Payne for bringing this to Harwood and for bringing this story to our attention. We can each beautify something in some way – even like picking up litter –

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  4. I love seeing neighborhood beautification projects. The Butterfly Effect sounds like it’s making a difference.

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  5. I have to admit that I’m one of the Wire-referencing ignorants… Which makes *no* sense. I’m from Mexico, the country constantly being bashed in international press for narco crime and whatnot; I live in Curaçao, which is constantly being thrashed in the Dutch press for narco crime and whatnot. And in both of these places we natives are constantly complaining about said bashing and thrashing: “But it’s not all like that!” Goes to prove, I suppose, that we’re all closer than we’d like to think to prejudice and nonsensical judgments 🙂

    As for urban beautification initiatives, I couldn’t begin to list the ones in Mexico, they’re so many. Here in Curaçao, being a (much, much) smaller place, it’s easier to not just keep track of them but also watch them in progress. There are several artists currently doing great stuff, not just downtown and in high-traffic areas, but also way out in “the sticks”, in poverty-ridden places where the art will be seen by very, very few people. One of them you might want to check out, if you’re interested, is Garrick Marchena. On his Facebook page you might find links to other artists doing similar projects.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, and for being a part of the #WATWB!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter (October co-host)

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  6. These are beautiful. What a fabulous initiative.

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About leighanneileithyia

Public Health & International Development Professional. Writer/Blogger Lover of travel Fitness Youtuber Coffee Addict

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