A few weeks back, I posted an entry about what i perceived to be a memorial garden of some sort in West Baltimore, that I believe is referred to as ‘In The Spirit’. As I mentioned in that blog, it was almost completely overgrown with ivy and it, quite obviously had been forgotten. Here is a photo of it to refresh your memory.
And a closer shot of the part of the fence that is not so obscured. Well I finally returned to finish the job. Armed with a new pair of Fiskar Shears that Anna bought me, I set about revealing the rest of the message on the memorial last Tuesday. I didn’t only want to see what was written under all of that ivy. I wanted to attempt to find the inspiration and essence of this sprawling memorial garden. It is such a large area that I find it so odd that even in an area as economically depressed as Midtown Edmondson, that no one could stop by once a year to keep it cleaned. At that time, I didn’t know who actually created all of this art, but I surmised that was done in conjunction with a local artist or artists, Baltimore City, and school children. It appears that my assumption is dead on. I found this piece of fence that I’m calling the “Credits wall”.You might be able to see the name, Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen and words, ‘Midtwon Edmondson Art team’.I was able to find some information on Mr.Schlossberg-Cohen and it turns out that he specializes in public art projects. I believe that he founded,the REBUILDING thru ART PROJECT and I know that he works with the Open Society Foundation. http://www.rebuildingthruart.com/Home.html http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/multimedia/sparking-creativity-sparking-hope
This piece was dedicated, 9/25/2003. I can only assume that it’s been left to the elements since then. The garden is located at the intersection of Lauretta Avenue and N. Monroe St. and there is more to it than just the fence and the wall, but I must say that the afternoon I spent cutting away all that ivy was more rewarding than I could have imagined. Here is the fence and wall revealed.
All of these images are very Keith Haring-esque. And now for the full Text on the fence revealed.It says: “RIP. WERE THESE REAL LIVING AND BREATHING PEOPLE THAT HAVE DIED THROUGH DRUGS AND VIOLENCE? IT MUST BE TRUE BECAUSE I HEARD ABOUT SOME OF THEM ON THE NEWS, AND EVEN MY FRIENDS KNEW SOME OF THESE PEOPLE. WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING? ARE WE SO INSENSITIVE TO EACH OTHER THAT A LIFE DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING? WILL i GET MURDERED? WILL THEY HAVE MY NAME ON A WALL? IN THESE DAYS AND TIMES ONE CAN ONLY GUESS, WILL I EVER LIVE TO SEE MORE GRAVEYARDS ON THE WALLS? BEING A YOUNG PERSON IN THIS CITY IS TOUGH!! JUST BEING A YOUNG PERSON IS HARD. WHEN CAN WE AS CHILDREN FEEL SAFE IN SCHOOL, ON THE STREETS, IN OUR OWN HOMES? CAN ANYONE IN THIS CITY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOR US PLEASE!”
In the lot in front of the wall and fence are blocked off tree areas that are, themselves memorials. Here are some of them,I’m hoping to get in touch with Mr. Schlossberg-Cohen and one of the other listed artists, Erin Thurston and ask them about the project and I will just let them know that I will keep trying to help maintain this oasis of earnest Art that is in a tough neighborhood. I wonder how the children that helped create this have fared during the intervening years?