Friday, July 18, 2008

Walking Tour: Station North

The start of a new regular "column" here on Urban Palimpsest - Walking Tour. Expect more in the future.

I took a stroll through the Station North Arts District of Baltimore the other night and found some interesting things. First, more graffiti. I'm kind of obsessed with this topic, I realize.

So this graffiti is, sadly, on a rather nice little contemporary addition to a clinic on the corner of Lanvale and Maryland Avenue:

Not your typical tag. It's much more graphic than most of the spraypaint on buildings around here. Is it a sail? A flag? Pull back, and you see a shadow cast by a sign. Perhaps this was created when the sun hit that sign just so and the graffiti mirrors the shadow.

On a nearby bridge, adjacent to Penn Station, architect Gabriel Kroiz was setting up an installation for this weekend's Artscape. Made from Coroplast and plywood, the structures will create a temporary exhibition space for artists (more on this in a bit). The tops of the structures were lying on Charles Street, and they reminded me of the triangular shape of the blue graffiti I just walked by.

Buckminster Fuller has been in the news a lot these days, and so maybe that's why I kept seeing geodesic domes:

Installations for Artscape, above and below.

Poster for a show at the Metro Gallery.

In front of the Metro Gallery on Charles Street there were these outlines drawn onto the sidewalk:

Could it be another shadow drawing? A leaf pattern that once graced the concrete from a nearby tree before it fell to the City's chainsaws? (They cut down all of the old growth trees to make way for wider sidewalks).

Continuing north on Charles Street, there is a poster advertising this weekend's Whartscape concerts, sponsored by Wham City. Their site has posters that you can print and tape up around town. This one is affixed with electrical tape and placed, conveniently, under a no loitering sign (the sign is about 50 feet from the outdoor seating at the nearby Club Charles and tonight, when the street is closed to traffic and there will be live music outside, there will be plenty more loitering.)

A block from here, there's more poster art, this time on a boarded-up building.

The block across the street from these posters is seeing a lot of activity. The new Strand Theater opened this week:

This is a great building on the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue. I like the plantlife growing out of the brick:

Turning left onto North Avenue, I head to the outdoor patio at Joe2. North Avenue is changing swiftly, but you can still see the remnants of the '68 riots.

A kerosene fire burns along Lombard Street. Archive images from the University of Baltimore.

A picture from the 400 block of North Avenue, April 1968.

North Avenue today: notice the windows that were bricked-in post-riot. Developer Mike Schecter is in the process of opening the North Avenue mall, pictured here, to the street again.

More bricked in windows.

A break for a beer at the outdoor patio of Joe2 on North Avenue near Howard Street. That's the lovely and talented artist Melissa Dickenson, one of six finalists for this year's Sondheim Award:

Melissa and I double back and walk back down Maryland Avenue:

On the way, we stop into the music studio of Hearts by Darts. Hello Sei!