project overview

Fall 2009

Baltimore, MD – MICA Sculpture professor Sarah Doherty has coordinated with the Baltimore Housing Authority and the Mayors City Council, with support from The Old Goucher Community Association and the BMOG Coalition, to utilize 23 vacant properties  in the Old Goucher neighborhood of Baltimore for site specific artworks.

“Axis Alley seeks through creative engagement to utilize the backyards of vacant properties and vacant lots as a canvas for creative works that transform, activate and revitalize the overlooked, under-attended areas of Baltimore’s back alleys. In neighborhoods where the vacancy rate of properties runs high, the alley seems to become the indicator of urban difficulties: trash, rats, homeless people, prostitution and drugs. These somewhat forbidding alleys (dark and unlit at night), while speaking of endemic problems in the city, possess a certain toxic beauty and  provide a fascinating possibility of urban intervention and creative gesture.”

When Sarah moved to 22nd Street two years ago from downtown San Diego, to a carriage house in between the two alleys behind N.Calvert St., she was a bit horrified by the conditions of the smaller alley affected by an 85% vacancy rate in a 3 block span. Working with notions of fault-lines in her work prior to the move, she soon grew to think of the N.Calvert street alley as a metaphorical kind of fault -line affected by socio-economics and urban decline. Fascinated by the contexts inherent in these properties, Doherty began her own explorations of site specific pieces in the alley. This soon extended to her students at MICA as urban intervention assignments for such courses as Concrete Culture: The City as Text where students responded to and with the contexts of the sites. Realizing the benefits of transformation and cultural dialogue that developed through these small gestures as evidenced in neighborhood interactions with the works and artists, Doherty developed a bigger vision of transformation and the possibilities of extending the cultural corridor between Station North Arts District and the BMA.

Doherty has subsequently organized 22 pieces to inhabit the backyards of these vacant properties thru April 2010. Participants include artists, architects and contemporary dance. Working with city agencies, community organizations and artists, the alley and properties will be cleaned of debris and re-populated with creative works and light.

The Axis Alley Opening Walk will showcase the creative endeavors to the public on Sunday October 18, 2009 from 2pm to 6pm on the three blocks encompassing 2014 – 2214 North Calvert Street.

Artists include: Ben Stone, Chas Foster, Cyle Metzger, Eric Leshinsky, Fred Scharmen, Gary Kachadourian ,Graham Coreil-Allen, Imen Djouini, Jacob Ulrich ,Jessie Unterhalter and Emily CD- Two Can Collective,  Jonathan Taube , Judy Stone , Karen Graff , Marian Glebes, Megan Mueller ,Samantha McCurdy , Samuel Scharf ,Sarah Doherty, Sarah Magida , Stephanie Yezek , Alex Dijulio

For more information please contact Sarah Doherty: OR

“To search for the good and make it matter: this is the true challenge for the artist. Not simply to transform ideas or revelations into matter, but to make those revelations actually matter” Estella Conwill Majozo


One response to “project overview

  1. Amy Hollomon

    Just came across this project in the most recent issue of the Urbanite e-newsletter and would love to get involved in some way. Just amazing work. The alley ways here in Baltimore hold so much promise.

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