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Tribute to Station North's unsung pioneers [Letter]

We were pleased to read reporter Jacques Kelly's recent article the future of the former Load of Fun building at 120 W. North Ave., ("Motor House to offer space for artists in Station North," Oct. 3).

The building will soon be brought back to life by the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation. This is positive progress for the Station North Arts & Entertainment District and for Baltimore's effort to create affordable, code-compliant space for artists and arts organizations.

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An incredible amount of has gone into figuring out how to achieve this goal. BARCO and its primary funder, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, share with Station North Arts & Entertainment Inc. a desire to provide sustainable facilities for artists, designers, curators, performers, and creative ventures.

BARCO is a nonprofit real estate development corporation and an important partner in Station North, and we're thankful that they've taken a risk on this building so that it remains an arts hub.

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However, Mr. Kelly left out the fact that from 2005 to 2012 Sherwin Mark ran the building known as Load of Fun, one of Baltimore's most important arts buildings. Mr. Mark was one of the earliest trailblazers in the now burgeoning Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

For more than seven years, Load of Fun was home to some of Baltimore's most successful and creative artists, performers and organizations. Their absence from the building is still felt in Station North, and while we are thrilled that many of them have landed on their feet elsewhere we also know others that are still struggling to find affordable space.

As some of Station North's earliest investors, it is important to acknowledge the dedication of Mr. Mark and the late artist Roycrosse to creating a district that has attracted a new wave of investors and artists to the area.

Without their years of unsung work, there would be no redevelopment of the Centre, the Parkway Theatre, the Fred Lazarus IV Center, the Ynot Lot or our own offices at the Station North Chicken Box. As we look forward to witnessing the latest transformation of 120 W North Avenue, we won't forget its past.

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Ben Stone, Baltimore

The writer is the executive director of Station North Arts & Entertainment Inc.

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