Community Art Projects & the No Boundaries Coalition / by Nicole M

This spring I've also gotten to work with a community group called the No Boundaries Coalition, which is a "resident-run initiative dedicated to deconstructing boundaries and reconstructing community" throughout the neighborhoods of Central West Baltimore. I've been helping to organize their annual block party and public art project as the "public art project coordinator."

The Coalition is an awesome group of people from across the neighborhoods of Bolton Hill, Upton, Sandtown, Druid Heights, & Madison Park, who have all come together out of a desire to see their communities become more connected and to break down the socio-economic & man-made barriers that separate them. They're very relationship-oriented and believe in the idea that the more we all get to know one another on a personal level, the more unified and empowered our communities as a whole will become.

The block party this year is coming up on Saturday May 12, and will be on the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. & Presstman St. between 1–4 in the afternoon (i'll post more info. about the event soon!) If you want to catch a sneak peak of the interactive photo mural we're working on for the public art project, check out photographer Sean Scheidt's blog post about the project here:   Looking great so far!

The Coalition also hosted a day-long retreat recently at the Carrie Murray Nature Center (a really cool place) in Gwynns Falls to brainstorm ideas for the future, redefine what No Boundaries is all about, and figure out logistics of things. Here's some photos from the retreat!

Our facilitator helping us redefine what No Boundaries is about, and helping us come up with a future game-plan for next year. 
Breakfast & roundtable discussions
Group brainstorming
Some good discussions going on here ;) 

I also got to be featured in the Baltimore Collegetown's Class Two Yearbook for LeaderShape! LeaderShape is a leadership development retreat I participated in last summer, that focuses on helping you develop service-minded "visions" for the future based on your own passions. That was a whole other experience I could go on forever about, but basically this opportunity with No Boundaries was the perfect next step to further exploring the intersection between art and community for me. And I'm super excited about being a part of both of these amazing networks of people! View the rest of the yearbook and read about what other projects people are working on from different schools here! Baltimore's a cool city, you know?

I want to say something funny about how inspiring this photo is, but I'm afraid of people getting the wrong impression so I'll just let it speak for itself ;) 

I will definitely be sharing more about the art project and block party as they culminate in the next couple of weeks! Oh yea and thesis...