Tag: Public art

“Bringing Billie Back”: Lecture with James Earl Reid, Sculptor of the Billie Holiday Monument

Come out for a featured lecture by James Earl Reid, sculptor, designer, and creator of the Billie Holiday Monument on Sunday, October 28. This event will feature live musical illustrations by Songstress Larzine as Billie Holiday, accompanied by the Phill Butts Combo. She will perform “God Bless the Child”, “Lady Sings the Blues”, “Strange Fruit”, and “Hush Now Don’t Explain”.

Baltimore’s “Billie Holiday Monument” was researched in 2014 by journalist William Merritt Pleasant IV. He discovered that this world-class monument to “Billie Holiday” is the only monument ever dedicated to our world renowned jazz singer. Since the re-dedication of the Billie Holiday Monument, the monument has deteriorated. In early November, the entire structure will be removed for a major overhaul. We are saying goodbye now, but we are “Bringing Billie Back!”

In closing Musicians, Dancers, Visual Artists, Singers, Poets and Speakers are welcome to perform in honor of the historical life, legend, and legacy of Billie Holiday.

Supported by Maryland Humanities.

Francis Scott Key Monument splashed with red paint and spray painted with the words “Racist Anthem”

This morning, we learned that the Francis Scott Key Monument at Eutaw Place was splashed with red paint over night and the stone pedestal at the center of the monument was spray painted with the words “Racist Anthem.” The monument by French sculptor Marius Jean Antonin Mercié shows Key standing in a marble rowboat next to a seated bronze sailor. The statue was dedicated on May 15, 1911, and restored in 1999 after a major fundraising campaign by local residents. You can see more photographs of the Key Monument and the graffiti in our Flickr album.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2017 September 13.

The spray painted graffiti on the east side of the stone curb surrounding the monument fountain included “Blood on his hands,” “Racist Anthem,” “Fuck FSK,” and “Hater U Just Mad.” On the pavement in front of the monument was written “Slave Owner” and one of the lesser-known stanzas that make up Key’s Star-Spangled Banner:

“No refuge could save, Hireling or slave,
From terror of flight, Or gloom of grave”

The words are a reference to the black men who escaped from slavery in Maryland and Virginia to join the British in their fight against the United States government during the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key’s legacy as a slave holder was the subject of a 2016 post from Smithsonian Magazine and a 2014 biography. As a member of the Maryland State Colonization Society, Key also promoted the removal of free black people from Maryland to a colony in present-day Liberia.

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2017 September 13.

The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks was notified about the condition of the monument early this morning and reached out to the Baltimore City Police Department, the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, and other city agencies to file a police report and consider next steps. We have also reached out to the Bolton Hill Architectural Review Committee to alert neighbors to the situation and to help monitor the monument. CHAP and city agencies are working to have the paint and graffiti removed by an art conservator as quickly as possible.

Read more about the Key Monument

Photograph by Eli Pousson, 2017 September 13.

Understanding Monuments and an Empty Plinth: Talking about public art and history at Mount Vernon Place

Join us this Sunday afternoon for an hour-long walk and discussion about the history of the now absent Taney Monument and other monuments around Mount Vernon Place. Why are these statues here? This short tour is an opportunity for residents to learn about the history of the statues, ask questions about the people they depict, and reflect on how they see the monuments today.

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The words "Everyday Utopias" above a photo of the ladder at the edge of the former Pool No. 2 (now filled in and covered with grass)

Closing Reception! Everyday Utopias: Druid Hill Park Exhibition Exhumes the Promises of a Once-Segregated Pool

Come out for the closing reception of Everyday Utopias at Pool No. 2 in Druid Hill Park! The reception features a performance by Fluid Movement at 5:00 pm; an artist talk and poolside discussion at 6:00 pm and a film projection of photos from Henry Phillips, Sr. narrated by Irv Phillips, Jr. beginning at 7:45 pm.

Pool No. 2 (1921-1956) operated as a segregated pool in the historically black section of Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park. From the initial campaign to construct the city’s first public pool for black people to the resolute activism that led to its eventual closure, Pool No. 2 reflects the quotidian pragmatism of an “everyday utopia”—a term coined specifically to define those creative practices that we engage in daily to find new and better ways to improve our lives and the world around us.

Everyday Utopias invites viewers to consider the promise of both real and imagined aspects of civic participation as they navigate their way through physical structures and spiritual spaces of the pool’s remains. Pool No.2 was a local flashpoint for the discourse on race that was happening nationally in American society during the mid-1950s and is a physical reminder that the failures and struggles of our efforts at civic repair are just as important as the successes.

Sheena M. Morrison, MFA Candidate in MICA’s Curatorial Practice Program, brings together eleven contemporary artists who respond to the palpable history of Pool No. 2 with imaginative wit, humor, and compassion. Artists in the exhibition: Billy Colbert, Sutton Demlong, Andrew Keiper, Fluid Movement, Tiffany Jones, Lauren R. Lyde, Antonio McAfee, Kameelah Rasheed, Edward-Victor Sanchez, Michael Trueblood and MacArthur Genius Fellow Joyce J. Scott.

The words "Everyday Utopias" above a photo of the ladder at the edge of the former Pool No. 2 (now filled in and covered with grass)

Everyday Utopias: Druid Hill Park Exhibition Exhumes the Promises of a Once-Segregated Pool

Please join Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) MFA program in Curatorial Practice and Baltimore City Recreation and Parks for the opening reception of Everyday Utopias, a public art installation at Pool No. 2 in Druid Hill Park. Everyday Utopias invites viewers to consider the promise of both real and imagined aspects of civic participation as they navigate their way through physical structures and spiritual spaces of the pool’s remains.

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