More art in Baltimore's public places addresses issues of race, police

Tim Smith
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
A former police box near Penn Station carries a message of hope and healing created by artist Loring Cornish.

Since the death of Freddie Gray and the protests (then riots) that resulted, artists in Baltimore have responded in various ways. Street art has been one avenue. A prime example, created soon after the disturbances, is a bold mural painted at the intersection where Gray was arrested.

More message-filled art is emerging on the streets of Baltimore, especially in Station North.

An old police box at the corner of N. Charles and E. Lanvalle streets is in the process of being transformed into a permanent art installation by Loring Cornish, known for his distinctive glass mosaics. The structure, which is expected to be finished later in July (in time for Artscape), is titled "Change for the Better."

In a statement released by Station North, Cornish said: "I'm giving the Police Box a complete makeover to make it more appealing to all that view it.  Police across the country should begin to change current operating practices that have made millions of Americans very uncomfortable."

Some blocks away, at 1400 Greenmount Ave., an installation has gone up as part of the international Inside Out project created by French artist JR that incorporates large black and white portraits wheatpasted on walls.

The installation, inspired by the Black Lives Matter message, was organized by Morgan State University faculty member Christopher Metzger. Several students have been involved, including Kelli Williams. The mural, which was planned before the Freddie Gray case, is located on the site of the future home of Open Works. 

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