Real City, Dream City

 An Art on Purpose project created during Peter Bruun's tenure as founding director. In conjunction with The City: Real and Ideal (an exhibition of historic prints at The Baltimore Museum of Art), Real City Dream City began with community members exploring the “good, bad, and possible” in ten neighborhoods through photography workshops. 

Residents from Morrell Park are led through a discussion of prints to be included in a Baltimore Museum of Art exhibition, talking about how issues of their own neighborhood relate to the historic images. Following the exercise, participants spent time photographing their community.

Following photography workshops in ten neighborhoods, community exhibitions were held at which attendees "voted" for the images they wanted to represent their neighborhood as post cards. The community exhibition in Harlem Park.

Harlem Park residents chose a photograph of a fountain in Lafayette Park as one of two images for their post cards. Once post cards were printed, Art on Purpose spent time collecting residents' written comments on them about issues related to their neighborhoods. The Harlem Park residents expressed interest in having this long turned-off fountain turned back on.

Community exhibitions and post card writing took place in the spring and summer; a culminating exhibition was held at the Eubie Blake Center in the fall, featuring not only the photographs and post cards but also works by practicing artists related to neighborhood themes. Installation view of the first gallery of the show.

Installation view of the second gallery in the Real City, Dream City exhibition at the Eubie Blake Center. Each neighborhood shared 20 photographs from their workshops and a selection of written post cards.

The main event during the Real City, Dream City exhibition ("Champions of Change") brought together community activists, philanthropists, and government officials to hear from neighborhood leaders about the outcomes of their post card writing campaigns, and what they could do to help bring about positive change in their communities.

A second exhibition featuring the post cards and photographs by Laura Burns was held at Park School. A number of additional events, including a major symposium at the Baltimore Museum of Art during the showing of its exhibition (The City: Real & Ideal), were held as part of the project. Real City, Dream City uniquely brought together Baltimore's neighborhoods, local artists, and a major cultural institution.