With partners FutureMakers, four local artists (Dave Eassa, Samantha Redles, Jose Rosero and Megan Lewis), and three area schools (Baltimore Lab School, Baltimore Design School and Margaret Brent Elementary), Station North Arts & Entertainment will design, build, and install eight miniature golf holes to launch Artscape 2017. These will be placed in a central location in Station North Arts & Entertainment District to entice pedestrian activity during the spring and summer. SNAE will engage artists, designers, and local youth from Baltimore’s preeminent creative community to inspire pedestrians to circulate among the spaces: the plaza in front of the Penn Station, addressing pedestrian traffic, encouraging residents and visitors to experience the vibrant and walkable neighborhood.
Station North Arts & Entertainment District has a strong nearly decade-long history of community consultation about all of its projects. During the summer of 2015, SNAED staff conducted the Listening Project, random in person and online surveys of Station North residents to determine their opinions of Station North programs, their connectivity to their communities and community associations, and their desires for the future. The most consistent request called for more programming geared towards youth and families, a discovery that led directly to the decision to pursue the project. The project was developed directly out of the desires and relationships we have with residents and stakeholders in Station North. Mini golf was considered the best approach to build off of previous programming around Station North. By creating a sustained, reiterative presence in the area, the project encourages players to move throughout the activated spaces and interact with the surrounding blocks.
We hope to engage and connect surrounding community members, particularly legacy residents, many with limited resources and economic opportunity. Youth in Charles North and Greenmount West live in a recreational desert; with no playgrounds and few informal play spaces that are safe and accessible. Play spaces are an important “third space,” where legacy and newer residents can mix together. The project will inspire interaction among community members, artists, and patrons of local sites, building bridges between long established residents and more recent arrivals, ameliorating concerns about gentrification so typical in areas undergoing rapid economic development.