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Baltimore Highlands pushpin bus stop lets everyone know 'we're here'

You can't miss this East Baltimore bus stop. Just look for the giant red pushpin.

Those waiting for the bus at Highland Avenue and Baltimore Street certainly don't need to worry about their ride — or anyone — accidentally missing them. 

Not when the bus stop quite literally proclaims, "We're here." 

A new sculpture in the Southeast Baltimore neighborhood Baltimore Highlands features a giant red pushpin puncturing the bus shelter's roof, over which "Estamos aqui" is adorned. The statue is roughly 17 feet tall to the top of the pushpin and 12 feet wide, and is made from a variety of materials including foam, wood, aluminum, steel, acrylic and a synthetic stucco.

The Spanish phrase for "we're here" may be a practical tool for bus drivers, but the artists involved in the project had a deeper meaning in mind. 

"This is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Baltimore and we have a phenomenal Latino population," said artist Rachel Timmins, who designed the sculpture. (She was assisted in the construction by local artists Tim Scofield and Kyle Miller.)

"This is also one of the most heavily trafficked bus stops in the city," Timmins said. "We're letting the people of Baltimore know that we're here and we matter."

The artists received $35,000 in grants to complete the pushpin, including a $25,000 PNC Transformative Art Prize. Timmins said that if other neighborhoods are interested in obtaining a large grant to have a distinctive shelter designed for its bus stop, she, Scofield and Miller "would be excited to work with them."

A block party will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday celebrating the new bus stop at East Baltimore Street and South Highland Avenue with live music, a food truck, and a photo booth designed to snap visitors using the shelter. During the festivities, the 3400 block of East Baltimore Street will be closed to traffic.

As eye-catching as the sculpture is, it can't drive away with the title of Baltimore's most unique bus shelter. It will have to contend with a nearby Highlandtown stop, which consists of three giant letters spelling — you guessed it — B-U-S. 

Sun reporter Mary Carole McCauley contributed to this story.

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