“Public art adds a new energy to city life, it connects people and it can inspire action.” – Michael R. Bloomberg
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge brings together mayors, artists, and residents to develop innovative public art projects that address important civic issues in their communities.
The program, launched in 2014, engages mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more to collaborate with artists and arts organizations to develop temporary public art projects that address civic issues.
Over 600 cities have applied to the three challenges, where mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more submit proposals for projects that demonstrate close partnership between artists, arts organizations and city government, with selected cities receiving up to $1 million each. You can read more about it here.
Baltimore was Chosen to Shine
Baltimore, Maryland was chosen as a 2023 Public Art Challenge winner for their project titled “Inviting Light.” Seven other cities were also selected as winners.
Our very own Mayor Brandon Scott is featured in this video, and states that “Our project, Inviting Light, a public arts initiative that will bring a vibrant glow of light and cultural activity to our Baltimore Station North Arts District. It’s going to be phenomenal!”
“Inviting Light” will encompass five temporary art installations in public spaces of the Station North Arts District. Under the direction of artistic lead and curator and contemporary artist Derrick Adams and lighting designers Flux Studio, each of the five interventions will engage with light — artificial or natural — in some way and will respond to the project’s investment in creating accessible public spaces for everyone, engaging groups that are typically overlooked in (or intentionally excluded from) the city’s public amenities.
The Neighborhood Design Center said the project combines “mesmerizing light installations with culturally enriching programming” along the Charles Street and North Avenue intersection of Station North.
“We believe that every community deserves equitable access to well-lit spaces. With “Inviting Light”, we will be demonstrating how artist-led and community-informed light can be a catalyst for safety, inclusivity, and vibrancy” states Merrell Hambleton, Program Manager of Arts Planning and Cultural Programming at the Neighborhood Design Center.
Collaborative art projects like “Inviting Light” involve the community in the creative process, building relationships and a sense of collective achievement.
The impact has an influence that extends far beyond its aesthetics. They create shared spaces for expression, dialogue, and connection. At Points North, we believe just that, and it’s why we initiated several community public art projects locally within Baltimore.
Empowering Communities Through Art
The Have A Nice Day Project is a community gathering where people write positive messages on blank coffee cup sleeves.
Furthermore, this engagement builds connections among individuals who may not have interacted otherwise. Then we donate those sleeves to locally-owned cafés around Baltimore.
A city is only as strong as its community. So, the Have A Nice Day Project started as a social experiment to demonstrate how we’re all connected, and how you can make someone’s day, even if you never get to meet them. The event fosters community and good vibes that keep on giving.
Art serves as a unifying force within a community by creating spaces, fostering conversations, and providing avenues for self-expression. The Have A Nice Day Project events have become a positive and wonderful shared experience among Baltimore residents.
Engaging Communities to Celebrate What We Have
Most recently, Points North Studio joined the $9+ Million Avenue Market Revitalization, an initiative that aims to breathe new life into Baltimore’s historic marketplace.
By actively engaging with community groups through meetings and listening sessions, Points North Studio aims to integrate the invaluable feedback from those who frequent the market.
“It’s about uplifting the community alongside the revitalization process, ensuring that we honor the legacy and history of generations who have cherished the market. We want to create a space that brings people together and enriches the lives of Baltimoreans,” says Jessica Watson, founder and Creative Director of Points North Studio.
Likewise, we’re excited about this project here at Points North Studio because it brings all of our favorite things together in a spectacular way.
“We are ready to explore the unknown, to illuminate dark rooms and discover what lies within. Challenges are merely invitations for us to shine a light and make a meaningful impact,” says Jessica.
In summary, what’s being created with the “Inviting Light” in Station North project aligns ever so perfectly with how we feel about the journey we’re on to bring change and beauty into Baltimore.
Feature Image Credit: Visit Baltimore