A 2006-2007 project conceived and directed by Peter to give voice to Baltimore residents and empower them to seek neighborhood change.
Community artists in 10 Baltimore City neighborhoods held photo workshops with community leaders and residents of all ages. Each neighborhood produced a body of work exploring the “good, bad, and possible” of neighborhood spaces and life.
Youth in the Upton neighborhood workshop learning about photography as a way to share stories.
At the end of each workshop, neighborhood residents voted on which photos should be reproduced as postcards. Community leaders then identified which local issues to explore through a “postcard writing campaign.” At events in each neighborhood (block parties, back-to-school nights, farmers’ markets), Art on Purpose asked residents to weigh in, sharing their thoughts about these pressing issues on the postcards, which were summarized and presented to city planners, policy makers and the general public.
Left: the exhibition of photographs from the Waverly neighborhood workshop, hosted by Marian House. Right: the two photographs chosen by Waverly residents for that neighborhood’s postcards.
PARK SCHOOL EXHIBITION
A selection of postcards completed by residents from the 10 neighborhoods along with photographs by artist Laura Burns were exhibited at The Park School of Baltimore. The show served as a resource for classroom teachers, allowing them to reflect with students on a range of civic issues.
Details from the Park School exhibition, left to right: written postcards with a photograph by Laura Burns in the background; detail of a middle-school classroom project about neighborhoods.
EUBIE BLAKE CENTER EXHIBITION
An exhibition of select photographs and resident-written postcards from each community along with urban-related art by six Baltimore City artists served as the ultimate means to highlight the content of the project—the totality of findings from the in-depth work with ten Baltimore City neighborhoods. Through image, wall text, and select quotations, the exhibition offered a microcosm of city character: how it ebbs and flows, falls and rises, an ever-changing living thing.
Left: opening reception of the Eubie Blake exhibition; right: installation view of neighborhood photographs and select resident-written postcards.
CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE
An culminating advocacy event at the Eubie Blake Center, Champions of Change featured spokespeople from each community presenting summaries of findings from the project, as well as their own visions of the future. Policy makers, non-profit leaders, funders, and the general public attended, learning about hopes and dreams, and connecting at the grassroots level with those they might work with to realize them.
Left: Peter welcomes an overflowing audience to Champions of Change; right; Joe Stewart of Waverly comments on photographs from the Charles Village neighborhood.
“Maya’s photo is one of hundreds produced in a series of ten photography workshops held throughout the city by the local arts activist group Art on Purpose as part of its Real City, Dream City project. The idea was to give disposable cameras to residents of all ages in ten different neighborhoods, give them lessons in photography techniques and a bit of history, and turn them loose on their own neighborhoods. The result was not only fine art, but a photographic document of Baltimore through the eyes of its own, often marginalized, residents.”
INTERESTED IN CONNECTING?
Do you have ideas, thoughts, or questions you’d like to share with Peter? Do you want to introduce yourself and your work to him? Perhaps explore a collaboration or involvement in one of his projects? Then Peter wants to hear from you.