Europe in Baltimore

In 2013 the Washington cluster of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes of Culture) won a matching grant award of 100.000 euros offered by the European Union within its program “Getting to Know Europe”. Within this framework, EUNIC collaborated with the City of Baltimore on the project called “TRANSIT: Creative Placemaking with Europe in Baltimore”.

The year-long project included collaborations with artists and artists’ cooperatives from nine European countries with their counterparts in the A&E districts of Baltimore. Their joint work supported creative placemaking and the improvement of neighborhoods in Baltimore around the topic of “Transit”. The concept of “creative placemaking” denotes artistic efforts to revitalize urban areas. A successful revitalization of a neighborhood enhances the quality of urban life. Visible indicators of success include a decline in drug-dealing statistics and criminal activity. Additionally, creative placemaking encourages the return of street life in the evening hours, the influx of new residents, the return of business activities, and the creation of job training programs and employment. Through creative placemaking, art in the public sphere has the capacity to release new energies, provide new visions and connect people — all fundamental pieces in increasing social capital. Baltimore was an excellent example of a mid-size post-industrial city for a transatlantic dialogue on this topic.

The above artistic exchanges were highlighted by a conference of art professionals who explored the ‘role of the arts in urban resilience’. A total of 30 artists, curators, critics and urban researchers from the U.S., Finland, Greece, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Spain and Germany participated.

Participating European cultural institutes were: Alliance Française, Austrian Cultural Forum, British Council, Goethe-Institut, Hellenic Foundation for Culture, Pillars of Greek Culture, Embassy of Ireland, Embassy of Finland, and Embassy of Spain. 

This project was also supported by a grant from ArtPlace America, a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies accelerating creative placemaking across the US.

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