Reporter Luke Broadwater to Speak at MRIA’s May Meeting

On the first Tuesday, May 3, MRIA will hold its Annual Membership Meeting, start with a social hour at 7 pm. Business will begin at 8 pm, with the election of new board members and officers. See the slate of nominees here.

Also on the agenda, a vote will be taken on the Finance Committee’s proposed 2016-2017 budget, and annual awards will be presented to recognize neighbors for their outstanding efforts.

These business matters will be followed by the guest speaker for the evening, Luke Broadwater, the City Hall and politics reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

Please plan to attend this fun and informative evening. As usual, the meeting will be in the upper hall at Memorial Episcopal Church. Enter on the Lafayette Street side.

There is no charge for the event, and all are welcome to attend, whether you are a member or not.

However, if you have not yet renewed your MRIA membership, now is a great time to renew. You can do so online here.

Renew Your MRIA Membership

MRIA logoBy MRIA Membership Chair, Susan Haun

Spring is the time for Membership renewal. If you are not yet a MRIA member or have not renewed for this year, please consider doing so online here. It’s easy and quick.

Why is it important to become a member of the Mount Royal Improvement Association? Because the MRIA is the neighborhood organization that helps make Bolton Hill the great place that it is.

Do you ever wonder why Bolton Hill’s parks and medians look so welcoming?  It’s because very generous neighbors put in a lot of personal time, energy and money to make it happen. MRIA helps pay for some of the costlier supplies that these neighbors use to keep our green areas well maintained.

MRIA provides a forum to resolve conflicts within the neighborhood and, if necessary, funds for legal resources.

The organization hosts an annual crab feast to thank the police officers and fire fighters who keep us safe and the Midtown Community Benefits District crew who keep us green and clean. The majority of this party’s expenses are paid for by neighbors, but MRIA subsidizes the event each year.

MRIA helps support the annual summer concert that brings our neighborhood together, as well as the annual neighborhood meeting in May. Plus, the Association makes small monetary contributions to other events and projects in the neighborhood that benefit all.

Last but not least, MRIA produces the Bolton Hill Bulletin each month.

Annual dues are very low—only $20 for tenants and $30 for homeowners.

Thanks to all those neighbors who are currently members, along with a special thanks for those who contribute extra dollars toward their favorite projects. If you are not yet a member or have not renewed for this year, you can do so online here.

If you have moved into the neighborhood in 2016, you are welcome to a complimentary first-year membership. You will also receive an invitation to the annual New Neighbor Party. As a member, you will receive an email with each issue of the Bolton Hill Bulletin, MRIA’s monthly newsletter.

If you are unsure if your membership is current, please check for your address on this list.  Organized alphabetically by street name, this lists the addresses for all residents who have paid their 2016 MRIA dues as of April 29.

Questions? Email Susan at smhaun65 [at] gmail.com.

Safety Walk Highlights Need for Communication, Collaboration

Safety walk 12
Police Commissioner Kevin Davis speaks with Bolton Hill residents on the Safety Walk held Apr. 14.

Thursday evening, April 14th, about 40 Bolton Hill residents joined MRIA leadership and city officials for a Safety Walk around the neighborhood.

Organized by MRIA’s safety committee co-chairs Jill Kingery and Barbie Klik, the almost two-mile walk provided opportunities for residents to ask questions about the crime-fighting strategies utilized in the area, as they toured neighborhood hot spots.

The officials on hand included Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young, City Councilman Eric Costello, MICA Director of Public Safety Marlon Byrd, Central District Major Eric Russel, and Executive Director of the Midtown Community Benefits District Michelle Wirzberger.

Celebrating the recent collaboration between Midtown and MICA officers, which recovered merchandise stolen from the local Save-A-Lot, MICA’s Byrd emphasized that “MICA continues to be a strong supporter and partner of collaborative efforts that are aimed at reducing crime and addressing concerns before they become too big to manage.”

Stopping briefly to discuss concerns about open-air drug dealing and a recent fatal shooting, Commissioner Davis acknowledged that the department must continuously strive to do better. He noted that “there are people outside of Baltimore that want us to fail.” But he pledged, “We’re not going to let that happen.”

The walk highlighted the growing partnership between the community, Midtown, MICA, and the city government. The strong turnout of residents demonstrated the commitment of the Bolton Hill neighborhood to this public safety partnership.

SATF Update: Stoop Success and more

Stoop Party 1The Social Action Task Force (SATF) had a lot going on Saturday, April 16.

The day kicked off in the late morning with the second Party With a Purpose, which was an even bigger success than the first! The event collected over $700 in donations that were distributed to the two non-profits organizations that co-sponsored the event, Whitelock Community Farm and SPACEmakers.

Bloody Marys, beers, mimosas and music got the crowd of 50+ neighbors into a weekend mood. Then, the attention shifted to the guest speakers, Justin Kuk, President of Whitelock Community Farm, SPACEmakers’ Lezlie Silverstein, and neighbor Patricia Rice of Hope Forward.

If you want to buy local, think Whitelock Community Farm—it’s a hop and a skip away in Reservoir Hill, at the corner of Brookfield and Whitelock. Justin informed the gathering about the farm’s CSA program, their farm stand, open every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm from May 7 to Nov. 19, and their need for volunteers and tools. Read a related post on Whitelock Farm here.

Lezlie explained the details behind the very cool SPACEmakers graffiti art program at Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in Harlem Park, where they are transforming a courtyard at the school into a work of art. Read more about their work and see photos here. Party goers donated some face masks and cans of spray paint to the project, but more are needed. Please consider donating.

Patricia Rice speaking about Hope Foward
Patricia Rice speaking about Hope Forward

Since the party was being held on Patricia’s stoop, she happened to be on hand and spontaneously spoke to the group about Hope Forward, where she serves as a mentor. The organization assists foster care youths in their transitions from being wards of the system to active leaders in the community. Read more about their work here.

At the party, more children’s books were collected for Reading Partners, one of the organizations that participated in the first Party with a Purpose. Keep those books coming by depositing new or slightly used books in the boxes provided at the vestibules of 1529 and 1309 Bolton Street.

The Stoop Party culminated with the mass migration of attendees, who walked over to the main event, the Boundary Block Party in the Upton Triangle at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave. and Presstman St.

Sponsored by the No Boundaries Coalition, it was just the kind of low-key, dance-to-the-music fun everyone enjoys on a warm sunny April Saturday. See photos in this related Bulletin post.

Lastly, the SAFT created a Facebook page for the group. Check it out and follow us. This is our neighborhood space for dialog and information on the social justice issues that deeply affect our neighborhood. Everyone is encouraged to join in this effort.

The next Party with a Purpose is at BoltonStock 2016, June 25 in Sumpter Park from 5 to 9 pm. Please join the fun.

Together we can make a difference.

The next meeting of the SATF will be Sunday, May 8, 5 PM, at 1803 Bolton St. Please email the Task Force at boltonhillsocialjusticeleague@gmail.com with your comments or interest.

Raves for Ragtime

With record attendance the first weekend, and then sold-out, standing-room-only crowds for the last weekend, this year’s Memorial Players spring musical Ragtime was a huge success.

The critics were wowed too. “Do not miss your opportunity to view this stellar show,” wrote Theatrebloom.com. The DC Metro Theater Arts raved, “The Memorial Players’ superb production of Ragtime is not to be missed!”

Congratulations to the whole cast and crew. Your many hours of hard work paid off, and you gave audiences an unforgettable show.

Big Fun—and Voting—at the Boundary Block Party

Community artist Zaina Shams paints faces
Community artist Zaina Shams paints faces

The No Boundaries Coalition hosted another great Block Party, an annual spring event since 2008.

Usually held on the second Saturday in May, the NBC moved up the date this election year to coincide with the start of early voting.

The NBC has been working many long months toward the goal of doubling the vote from the Sandtown neighborhood in this year’s election.

The Block Party gave a big boost to this effort, as vans shuttled partygoers to the nearest early voting site, accounting for the first 200 votes tallied toward the goal.

Elder Harris even pledged to remain on top of a nearby rooftop until 500 people had voted (see photo). But, it wasn’t all bad up there, as he had a bird’s-eye view of the festivities below, and waved encouragement to the crowd.

The afternoon was filled with music, dance, poetry readings, face painting, festival food, craft tables and a farmers’ market courtesy of Fresh at The Avenue.

Elder Harris's tent on top of the roof in the background.
Elder Harris’s tent on top of the roof in the background.

Ray Kelly, Director of the No Boundaries Coallition, wrote the night of the Block Party, “A thousand people; no police needed; no traffic control needed; and once again, ZERO incidents. That’s how we do.”

This was in contrast to the heavy police presence at a nearby Mondawmin Mall rally commemorating the incidents of a year ago, even though there were considerably fewer attendees there.

We now know that the NBC’s voter drive paid off.

Sandtown residents went to the polls in historic numbers, with more people casting their ballot in the precinct than in any other election on record. The turnout at the polls at Gilmor Elementary more than tripled from the last election.

An election judge reported that over 800 people from the precinct voted in this year’s primary, compared with only 257 voters in the last primary election. The largest turnout for any election before this year had been 753 voters. With absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted, 2016 stands to be a historic election for Sandtown.

Ray wrote, “People want to see change, need to see change, and we know that change starts with us. With [the] 7th District being decided with a margin of less than 300 votes, and the mayor being decided with a margin of less than 3,000 votes, more than 800 voters in Sandtown means that, if these elected officials want to stay in office, they need to listen to us.”

Save the Date for BoltonStock: Saturday, June 25

BoltonStock 2016Save the date for the best event of the summer.

BoltonStock 2016 will be on Saturday, June 25 in Sumpter Park from 5 to 9 pm. This is the latest incarnation of the annual Bolton Hill Band Concert that takes place every summer.

Caleb Stine and the Brakemen have generously agreed to headline the concert again, and the OrchKids—BSO’s after-school program serving Baltimore City students—will make a special appearance.

Grilled food will be available for purchase, along with a nice selection of beer, wine, and a specialty cocktail. Proceeds from a bake sale will benefit the Episcopal Church. Look for plenty of involvement from local non-profit organizations.

The kids’ activities are being expanded to make BoltonStock a great family experience. Bocce lessons and games are being planned for the older kids, while the younger ones will enjoy a gardening area to plant seedlings they can take home and grow.

Caleb Stine & The Brakemen
Caleb Stine & The Brakemen

Start the fun early by joining a walking tour of the 21217 area that will point out neighborhood landmarks and sites of interest. Walkers should meet at Sumpter Park at 5 pm on the day of the event.

Please help make BoltonStock a success by saving the date, spreading the word, and attending with lots of friends. It would be great to see the whole neighborhood come out for what should be a fine evening of entertainment.

If you’d like to help out, there are plenty of opportunities to do so, both before and during the event. Interested volunteers should email organizer Chas Phillips at chas.phillips [at] gmail.com.

Thanks to all the folks who have already been critical to planning and organizing BoltonStock, but an extra special thanks goes to Monty Howard, the creative talent behind the Boltonstock 2016 poster. Some extra-generous neighbors, Michael Marcus and Peter Van Buren, deserve recognition and gratitude for pledging sponsorship of BoltonStock 2016.

The organizers are seeking additional sponsors to support the production of BoltonStock. Sponsorship starts at $100, and can be purchased by businesses, organizations or individuals.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a sponsor, please contact Chas Phillips at chas.phillips [at] gmail.com.

Bolton Hill Nursery Awards Grants, Plans Festival on the Hill

Festival 1Festival Grants Awarded

The Festival on the Hill, the neighborhood’s annual fall block party, is always a blast. Plus, all the proceeds go back into the neighborhood, supporting the Bolton Hill Nursery, which sponsors the event, as well as many other projects that benefit the 21217 community.

This year, the Festival Grant Committee awarded grants to the following non-profit organizations:

•  Brown Memorial Soaring Eagles Camp
•  Dance Happens
•  Mt Royal PTO NorthBay Trip
•  Brown Memorial tutoring
•  Mt. Royal School Garden
•  Linden Ave. Gazebo Repainting
•  Midtown Academy engineering of a puppet show
•  Corpus Christi Church Entrance Garden Restoration
•  Memorial Episcopal Rectory Teaching Garden
•  Samaritan Community
•  Rutter Mill Park

Congratulations to all of the awardees, and thank you for adding to the quality of life in Baltimore. And also to Sallye Perrin and the grant committee for their hard work.

Festival 2This Year’s Festival

The Festival on the Hill is always the second Saturday in October, which this fall is October 8. The Bolton Hill Nursery is already making plans for a bigger and better Festival.

Books will be back!—thanks to neighbor Kristine Smets, who volunteered to chair the Book Table. The collecting has already started. Books can be dropped off at Bolton Hill Nursery between 7:30 am–5:30 pm on weekdays. If possible, call first (410-728-0003) so the school staff can be ready to help unload the books and store them in the basement.

Donations of gently used children’s clothes are needed. As you clean out the children’s closets, please set aside outgrown clothes for the Festival. Donations may be dropped off at the school between the hours of 7:30 am– 3:30 pm, weekdays.

With new chairs Kendra Parlock and Connie Fitzpatrick, the Gourmet Gazebo promises to be better than ever. Expect a call requesting a donation of your special creation to feed the hungry hordes of festive people.

MarketPlace
Marketplace (click to enlarge)

Marketplace Benefit a Fun Success

In February, the merchants at Mt. Vernon’s Marketplace (520 Park Avenue) hosted a very successful fundraiser, with a portion of the evening’s gross sales donated to the Nursery. The place was packed with families and friends and a fabulous time was had by all.

Folks came early and stayed late. The Marketplace is a great new venue offering a variety of foods from a dozen or more stalls. With something for everyone, it’s a comfortable place to hang out right around the corner from Bolton Hill.

A big thanks to all the Marketplace merchants for their support of Bolton Hill Nursery.

 

News from Mount Royal Elementary

Mt. Royal KindergartenBy Job Grotsky, Principal of Mount Royal Elementary

The Mount Royal School and PTO would like to thank all of the community members who helped organize and support the chili dinner fundraiser held on April 19.

With your help, we surpassed our fundraising goal, which will allow our students to attend a week-long educational trip to NorthBay, an outdoor educational camp on the Chesapeake Bay.

Special thanks to Brown Memorial Church, its members, and Mrs. Wells, our PTO President.

Please mark your calendars for May 18, when the Mount Royal Choir will have the honor of singing the national anthem at the Baltimore Orioles game. Come out and cheer for our students, our wonderful choir, and our Baltimore Orioles. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 pm.

Congratulations to Nathaniel Wells, a 3rd grader at Mount Royal on his amazing performance in Ragtime.

Kindergarten registration has begun for students living in Mount Royal’s school zone. Students may daily from 9 am to noon.  Please ask for Ms. Thomas. Find enrollment information here.

MICA Reveals the History of Prints and Posters Behind the Dolphin Building

Dolphin Building

Students from MICA’s Globe Poster Remix course collaborated with acclaimed street artist POSE to create an outdoor mural on the college’s notable Dolphin Building, near the Mt. Royal Light Rail station.

The artwork is a call and response from POSE to the students to consider the building’s history within the college’s community and the greater Bolton Hill community.

Under the guidance of Globe Poster Collection faculty members, students created a mixed-media piece encompassing a white strip that runs the length of the Dolphin Building, compounded by “Globe style” posters designed and printed by students, each representing a saying, slogan, or proverb that relates to printmaking or the history of the Dolphin Building. These posters were wheat-pasted to the white strip, and additional materials were collaged on coroplast board and attached on top.

POSE then completed the installation with his signature painting style.

Since MICA has plans underway to replace the Dolphin Building with a new building, this large outdoor mural is temporary, but it will remain on display until the building is demolished.

The Chicago-based street artist POSE was an artist-in-residence at MICA from Tuesday, April 5 through Saturday, April 9. Previously, he worked with the historic Globe Collection and Press at MICA in 2014 on Hello Kitty Con, when they were tapped to design and print three limited-edition posters celebrating the iconic character’s 40th anniversary.

School attended by Thurgood Marshall burns in Upton

Photo by Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritage
Photo by Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritage

On Wednesday, April 6, the historic Public School 103 in Upton caught fire. According to the Baltimore Sun, the school, which had been unoccupied for many years, sustained an estimated $50,000 in damage.

Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African American Supreme Court Justice and leader in the Civil Rights movement, attended Public School 103 from grades 1 through 8. The school was built in 1877, the final year of Reconstruction, and was named after militant black abolitionist and Presbyterian minister Henry Highland Garnet.

The Baltimore National Heritage Area has been working with the city since 2008 to research the building’s history, to stabilize it, to nominate it as a National Historic Landmark, and to determine a plan for the future use of the building. Through the help of an advisory committee appointed by the Mayor, much progress had been made, including stabilizing the building a few years ago.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown. The Baltimore City Fire Department is investigating and expects to have a report on the fire damage in a matter of a few days or weeks. The P.S. 103 heritage team is gearing up to address the damage and the building’s future once the Fire Department issues its report.

Go to the Baltimore Heritage website for information on P.S. 103, or contact the Baltimore National Heritage Area at 410-878-6411. And, Baltimore Heritage’s post on the fire and this historic building has more great photos from Eli.

Whitelock Community Farm Thriving

Justin Kuk speaking to the Stoop Party Gathering
Justin Kuk speaking to the Stoop Party Gathering

In 2010, Reservoir Hill residents, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, converted a vacant lot into an active urban farm.

With continued neighborhood support, Whitelock Community Farm (WCF) has greatly improved access to healthy, local food for the whole community.

A model community-based project, the farm demonstrates how to use land resources in ways that can sustain and revitalize urban neighborhoods and build communities.

Justin Kuk, president of WCF, was one of the guest speakers at the recent SATF Stoop Party, where he encouraged attendees to visit the farm—growing and thriving nearby, at the corner of Whitelock and Brookfield. We hope to see you at one of these upcoming events! Find more information on all events on their website.

Their weekly Farm Stand opens for the growing season on Saturday, May 7th, and is open every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm through late November.

Planting seeds
Planting seeds

If you’re interested in growing your own produce, attend their Plant Sale on Sunday, May 8, from 11 am to 2 pm, where they will have vegetable plants started from seed without fertilizers or pesticides. Herb, tomato, eggplant, and hot and sweet pepper plants will be available for sale.

Finally, everyone’s invited to the May Potluck & Cookout, Wednesday May 25 from 6 to 8 pm, in the park across the street from the farm. Bring a dish to share, a friend or just yourself. Enjoy some snacks while chatting with neighbors, sharing recipes and getting farm tours. The farm hosts potlucks on the last Wednesday of every month.

If you’d like to get your hands in the dirt, Justin assured us that they can always use a hand at the farm. Simply come by, help out and work out! Volunteer days are every Wednesday, from 5–7 pm, June through October, and the 2nd Saturday of each month, from 10 am to 1 pm, May through November.

John Eager Howard Elementary Farm Club
John Eager Howard Elementary Farm Club

Donations are greatly appreciated by Whitelock Communiy Farm. Donations are tax deductible and easy to make online here. Help support their community programs, including educational partnerships with John Eager Howard Elementary School and Midtown Academy, community potlucks and workshops, and youth summer internships.

If you have gardening or farm tools that are still in good shape, check out their wish list. Justin confirmed that your donations don’t need to look as new as those in the pictures.

Please support Whitelock Farm and their belief that “everyone has a right to affordable, healthy, quality food accessed in a way that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.”

Hope Forward Helps Foster Youth

HopeFoward 1Neighbor Patricia Rice spoke at the recent SATF Stoop Party about Hope Forward. She is a youth mentor in their program.

Hope Forward connects transitioning foster youth (ages 17-25) with life-skills resources and long-term solutions, empowering them to create systemic change through leadership and advocacy.

Founded in 2008, the purpose of Hope Forward is to help youth make a successful transition from foster care to independence.

Since these youths have been wards of the state for most or all of their lives, they often haven’t mastered the life skills they need when they age out of the system.

This is where Hope Forward steps in, acting as a resource for housing, employment, educational resources, job training, supportive mentoring and networking, and sometimes a safe haven for homeless youth.

A non-profit organization, Hope Forward welcomes tax deductible charity donations—make them online here. They also seek job placement opportunities for their clients and volunteers to mentor the youths. Please contact Patricia Rice, 313-617-0230 or pat.della [at] hotmail.com.

Linda DePalma Sculptures Unveiled at Brookside Gardens

Artist Linda DePalma with major donor Derrick Chin on her "Sassy Bench"
Artist Linda DePalma with major donor Derrick Chin on her “Sassy Bench”

On Earth Day, Friday, April 21, Montgomery Parks and Brookside Gardens hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed renovation of the Garden Gateway to this botanical gem in Wheaton, MD.

As part of the renovation, three new sculptural pieces by Bolton Hill neighbor Linda DePalma were permanently installed at Brookside.

The rain held off, pleasing the crowd, which included state officials, the director and staff of the Gardens, children from the neighborhood school, and the numerous park lovers who flocked to the event.

The DePalma pieces included in the park restoration are Sassy Bench, Fern Gate, and Gingko Canopy.

 

SPACEmakers Makes Graffiti into Art

Lezlie speaking at the Stoop Party, with host Andrew Parlock
Lezlie speaking at the Stoop Party, with host Andrew Parlock

Bringing donations of spray paint and face masks to a party? Pretty weird.

But, that’s what guest speaker Lezlie Silverstein of SPACEmakers requested when invited to attend the the SATF Stoop Party in April.

A MICA graduate student in the Community Arts MFA program, Lezlie is currently serving on an 11-month AmeriCorps residency with Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts (AFSIVA), a nearby city high school in the Harlem Park neighborhood located at West Lanvale and North Gilmor.

The school is a place where students, parents, and the surrounding community feel safe and welcomed­—where college and high achievement is the expectation, not the exception.

AFSIVA students come to school already challenged by poverty and societal neglect, and then struggle to find ways to express themselves. Confronted daily with strained finances and for some, the pressures of early parenthood, they have difficulty maintaining self-esteem and consistent attendance.

Ultimately, the students simply can’t think of themselves as “achievers,” which becomes a roadblock to entrepreneurial endeavors, attending college or gaining trade skills.

SPACEmakers 4Lezlie’s SPACEMakers program offers one key to opening doors to achievement. Twelve dedicated AFSIVA student artists meet from 3:30 pm until dusk every Wednesday and Thursday to create graffiti artworks. While learning through  participation, they also study the underlying history, theory and techniques behind street art.

In the process, they are transforming the school’s courtyard into a work of art that celebrates youth culture and creativity while decriminalizing the art of graffiti. Over time, the administration and school community’s initial mere acceptance of the project has blossomed into praise and recognition for the makers.

Everyone has gained a renewed appreciation of their school’s spaces, as students and teachers spend more time outside or even just looking outside through the windows. And now the students consistently attend school so they can join in the after-hours SPACEmakers program.

Right after the SATF Stoop Party, Lezlie met a few of the SPACEmakers at their exhibition at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. When she told them about the event and the support they received from Bolton Hill, they were excited and proud. Lezlie told us, “It’s a huge success every time the students can reflect and recognize how their work connects to Baltimore and its people.”

The program is desperate for supplies. This cool service offered by Blick Art Supplies to nonprofits will help you help out. Help SPACEmakers continue to teach an art form that keeps teens engaged and learning.

You can email Lezlie Silverstein at lsilverstein@mica.edu.

May Events

Here’s a brief overview of some of the local happenings in May.

Go to the Bulletin Calendar for details and additional events—just click on an event to see more information.

May 1 – Deadline for Bolton Hill Garden Club Greenspace Grant Requests

May 3 – MRIA’s Annual Membership Meeting

May 5 – Celebration of the ministry of Memorial Church’s new rector Rev. Grey Maggiano.

May 7 – A Taste of Jazz @ The Avenue Bakery, kick-off of the Courtyard Summer Music Series

May 12 – ArtWalk 2016, the official preview party for MICA’s Commencement exhibit; exhibit is up and open through May 16.

May 12 – Cocktails at the Conservatory, Druid Hill Park

May 15 – Brown Memorial Tiffany Series: “At the Close of the Day” Choral Concert

May 21 – Quiz Night at Memorial Episcopal

May 23 – Samaritan’s Annual Movie Night Gala at The Charles