As the one-year anniversary of the Bell Foundry’s shuttering passes this week, Baltimore’s DIY arts and music scene is still feeling the ripple effects of the venue’s closure. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun video)
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh on Wednesday will present the findings and recommendations of the Safe Art Space task force, which she formed last December in response to the Bell Foundry’s shuttering and the many issues surrounding safe and affordable spaces where Baltimore artists can live and work.
The public announcement will take place in the City Hall Rotunda at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Pugh confirmed. Pugh is expected to discuss the task force’s findings from the past year, and the group’s recommendations for how the city can help artists secure affordable housing and work spaces, along with navigating local zoning codes and other related topics.
Pugh formed the task force — which was chaired by attorney Jon Laria and banker Franklin McNeil — last December, weeks after city officials closed the Bell Foundry, a DIY arts warehouse in Station North, over safety violations. Days earlier, a fire in Oakland, Calif., killed 36 people in a former warehouse space where artists lived and worked.
The task force asked for and received public feedback from the local arts community, but was criticized for not having any Bell Foundry tenants named to the task force. The task force told the public it planned to release the findings and recommendations, via the mayor, in June, but that process has been delayed.