A new program in Baltimore, Maryland wants to use street art as the jumping-off point for revitalizing underused urban space.
Richard Best, founder of Section1, a group dedicated to reshaping communities through creative forms of art, is working to transform a section of land underneath the Jones Falls Expressway, which cuts through the center of the city, into a skateboard park, a 5,000-seat concert venue, and an outdoor gallery for local artists.
“Currently there’s no real space for urban artists,” says Best. “Street art has the ability to create an aesthetic we want to live in. The problem is, we’re not doing anything to let that art form flourish.”
The proposed civic playground would occupy what is today a 3.5-acre asphalt lot that contains graffiti-covered concrete highway-support columns
The development of the Section1 Urban Art Park will not only provide the nearby communities of Bolton Hill, Charles North, Greenmount West, Mid-Town Belvedere, and Mount Vernon with a much needed recreational park, but also serve as a cultural center for the entire city of Baltimore.
The robust programming of festivals, concerts, and educational and creative events will build an internationally renowned arts destination, allowing the city to increase tourism and attract and retain creative new residents.