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Mermaids & Promenades: Schaefer and the Cultural Redevelopment of Baltimore (Virtual Talk)

March 19, 2021 @ 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm

By Donation | Register

Mary Rizzo will examine forgotten moments from Schaefer’s terms as mayor.

In the 1970s, Mayor William Donald Schaefer used arts and culture to sell a new image of Baltimore as quirky and charming to both tourists and business leaders. In this talk, Mary Rizzo will examine forgotten moments from Schaefer’s terms as mayor, from the creation of a failed local version of the Oscars, called “The Don” awards to honor Baltimore’s film business, to the Baltimore Promenade, a public art project designed to integrate city neighborhoods through the act of walking. While Schaefer is remembered for large-scale projects like Harborplace and stunts like posing with a mermaid for the opening of the Baltimore aquarium, his legacy should include his reimagining city government to include arts and culture–for good and ill.

Presenter Bio:

Mary Rizzo is Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University-Newark. She works at the intersection of inclusive public history, digital humanities, urban studies, and 20th century U.S. cultural history. She is the author of Come and Be Shocked: Baltimore Beyond John Waters and The Wire (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020) and Class Acts: Young Men and the Rise of Lifestyle (University of Nevada Press). She is the founder of the Chicory Revitalization Project, which uses the black community poetry magazine Chicory to spur dialogue on place and identity. Follow it on Instagram @Chicory_Baltimore. She tweets as @rizzo_pubhist.

This program is hosted on Zoom. Upon registering you will receive an email confirmation and a Zoom link. If you do not receive a link, please contact If you do not contact us at least 1 hour prior to the start of the program, we cannot guarantee admittance.

Virtual Histories are back in 2021! The Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage present a series of 30 minute live virtual tours and presentations focusing on Baltimore architecture, preservation and history.

Tickets are donation based. We encourage you to give what you can to support BAF and Baltimore Heritage. Your support helps us make up for lost tour and program revenue from COVID-19 and create more virtual programs like this.