Take some time to stroll through Station North over the coming weeks and you’ll notice new street art adding vibrancy to the district. Artists – local, national and international – were commissioned to create large-scale murals on the facades of several key buildings in the district, drawing attention to the area as a vibrant cultural sector. That event is the second installation of Open Walls Baltimore (OWB2) and it’s managed by Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. and curated by artist, Gaia. It is another way to illuminate a neighborhood that is already getting national recognition. Twenty artists were brought in from around the globe to use the walls of Station North buildings as their canvas – painting, pasting or spraying their art as large-scale decorations for the culturally conscious civilian. Both photos below show OWB2 murals that were finished with in the past couple weeks.
In addition to OWB2, SNAE has also commissioned artists to participate in Open Walls Baltimore X (OWBX), which incorporates additional forms of artistic practice into the mural festival and expands its scope and appeal. One of those artists is Brooklyn-based oil painter and illustrator, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. After several experiences of negative street harassment, Fazlalizadeh felt inspired to take her work outside of the studio, first to the streets of Brooklyn in a anti-abuse campaign called, Stop Telling Women to Smile. Starting in the fall of 2012, Fazlalizadeh interviewed women who have been victims of street harassment, using their faces and words as strong statements against sexist attacks.
Paired with phrases like, “You can keep your thoughts on my body to yourself” and “I am not here for you now,” the large-scale portraits of these women encourage females who experience street harassment to fight back. The expressions, which are often confrontational, are meant to humanize the faces of the women in the public space and to provide an avenue for peaceful protest against a major gender-based issue. Fittingly, Fazlalizadeh is currently working on three portraits on the rear facade of 1400 Greenmount Avenue, where the anti-rape organization, Force: Upsetting Rape Culture, have their studio.
More information about Open Walls Baltimore 2 and their programs can be found at stationnorth.org/projects/owb2.