The timing was unintentional. On the weekend that a triple shooting and a violent car crash rattled Fells Point, a band of colorfully dressed activists set out to see if delivering balloons and cheerful aphorisms to strangers could brighten the neighborhood's mood.
As planned before the weekend mayhem, the activists gathered Sunday morning at a Fells Point cafe, where they prepared dozens of positive messages on paper or fabric squares the size of business cards.
The affirmations included "You are somebody," "You are valuable" and "You are brave."
The group began its guerilla art drop at midday, leaving the cards on benches, in flower boxes and tucked behind cars' windshield wipers. They handed cards to strangers or merchants and delivered balloons to children they encountered.
"I think that kindness breeds kindness. We get so jaded so quickly and so easily," said Mary England, 27, a local blogger who organized and promoted the effort.
"I make things and leave them out for people to find."
The effort came a day after the triple shooting inside a Fells Point bar early Saturday that left two people critically injured. Police said the shooting began after a dispute inside the bar, and was not linked to another incident that left a woman hospitalized after she was struck by a van that reversed wildly onto a sidewalk.
Signs around Fells Point on Sunday directed passersby to a GoFundMe page established on the woman's behalf.
England said her project was scheduled before the incidents.
"It wasn't necessarily planned," she said, "but it's well timed."
Once outside, England presented an affirmation card to a street vendor, who accepted it happily. A family initially declined to accept a balloon for their child, but took it after being assured they weren't being sold anything.