Join artists Shannon Collis & Liz Donadio with special guests Eli Pousson and C. Ryan Patterson. The presentation will include a discussion about the artwork inspired by the Forum Fountain, a Brutalist-inspired public sculpture located behind Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in East Baltimore, and the broader history of modernist public sculpture in Baltimore.
The Baltimore City Public Art Commission (PAC) serves as a citizen review board who is charged with administering Baltimore City’s Percent-for-Public Art program, as well as reviewing permanent gifts of public art to Baltimore. The January 2019 commission meeting includes a brief presentation on the history of art in civic spaces by Eli Pousson from Baltimore Heritage.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Francis Scott Key Monument, Explore Baltimore Heritage
- Francis Scott Key Monument (B-65), Maryland Historical Trust
- Francis Scott Key Monument, Wikipedia
- ‘Racist Anthem’ spray painted on 106-year-old Francis Scott Key statue in Baltimore, Baltimore Sun
- Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Monument vandalized, police say, WBAL
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.