“From Blight to Beauty”: Transforming Greenmount West through Art

“They won’t see the blight, they’ll see the beauty” said Sergio Martinez – architect, artist and resident of Greenmount West. Martinez is one of the innovators behind the Greenmount West Facade  Improvement Project, under the Spruce Up Projects, a plan implemented by The Central Baltimore Partnership and funded by The Deutsch Foundation to make rapid physical improvements to the neighborhoods of Station North, and on Tuesday morning we strolled in the sunshine along Lanvale St. to see the transformation first hand. Martinez selected twelve artists whose work is featured on wood planks that now fill the windows and doors of several vacant houses on the block. All the artists are local Baltimore folks, some students of MICA, Towson or Morgan State and nearly all of them live and work in The Station North neighborhood.

Partnering with the Baltimore Trades Guild to install the art on the buildings, the community of Greenmount West has been receptive to the “spruce up” that has “transformed the neighborhood through art” according to Martinez. The art ranges from splatter-paint style portraits to haiku poems and is often related to Baltimore and its communities. The haikus, for example, were written by local Greenmount West residents along with the artist – some very gifted writers to say the least.

thecorner   studentsgrowup

thebay   faces

As Sergio and I walked up and down the block chatting, I couldn’t help but notice a vibrance – a creative synergy pulsing through the brick and Formstone buildings vacant but alive with the blood, sweat and tears of Greenmount West residents and artists. Drive on over to Barclay and Lanvale and see for yourself.

In addition to the work done on the eleven vacant homes, a large mural was installed by street artist, Justin Nether on the side wall of the building on the corner of Lanvale and Barclay. Nether’s work can be seen all over Baltimore.

How do we know this Spruce Up is working? Well in addition to the positive buzz in the neighborhood, one of the artists involved in the project is in the process of purchasing a vacant home on the block so he’ll bring his creativity to the very street he helped restore.

Local filmmaker Deirtra Thompson is currently working on a documentary about the project and we’ll be sure to catch up with her to chat when it’s finished, so stay tuned. Check out more photos from the Greenmount West Facade Project on our flickr page.


All art was created by the following artists:
Randall Gornowich – 1703 Barclay
Michael Owen – 1701 Barclay and 400 Lanvale
Randall Gornowich – 1703 Barclay
Justin Nether – 400 Lanvale – Mural
Kris Willet – 404 Lanvale
Paul Lancaster – 412 Lanvale
Missa Coffman – 426 Lanvale
Kristie Winther – 432 Lanvale
Jon Struse – 434  Lanvale
Paul Mericle – 427 Lanval
Regina Tumasella – 429 Lanvale
Ra Rah Stevenson – 433 Lanvale
Stefan Ways – 445 Lanvale

3 thoughts on ““From Blight to Beauty”: Transforming Greenmount West through Art

  1. Pingback: AKIMBO coming back to Station North on September 15th |

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