Like most waterfront cities in America, Baltimore is filled with rich history and culture, especially as it pertains to being a place where creatives thrive.

Established in 1729, the Maryland city has always been at the forefront of some of America’s most historic events, including the War of 1812, where the British defeat was a turning point in the historic battle, ultimately leading to a peace agreement between the nations. 

The city of Baltimore has been home to some of the culture’s forces to be reckoned with, including Tupac, DMX, Billie Holiday and Jada Pinkett Smith, to name a few.

“Baltimore, like its seafood, hasn’t lost its edge,” artist, creative, documentarian and East Baltimore native Akio Evans told Blavity. 


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“Our rawness of who we are as Baltimoreans, creatives, ya know?” Evans continued. “I feel like art is a part of that community, so with us creating things together, it just enhances the voice. we all have a voice and its strength in numbers. It is important to also have people from all walks of life, no matter the age, embark on the creative journey — because most of us feel like we have to be perfect to create. But when we create, when we make art, we have a way of escaping, and its in that that it becomes therapeutic for us to be able to have an escape from our day-to-day life scenarios. There’s so much that goes into the replenishing and the rejuvenation of our minds, of our creative spirit. Especially when you get a chance to share that experience with others, it becomes magical. we’re able to walk into that fulfillment of joy that we had as children that completes us.”

Baltimore native Shan Wallace is the award-winning, interdisciplinary artist responsible for the mural that sits right outside of good neighbor, a coffee shop that doubles as a “community-led third space.”

Wallace shared not only how the mural reflects her Baltimore upbringing, but also how it rings true for so many people with ties to the harbor city.

“This is a way to just tap into the love in the realm of history of the average Baltimorean,” Wallace told Blavity. “It’s also kind of like a memoir because that figure up there is me, and then that’s me eating the crab. I tried to incorporate that because there’s a continuity in my work — because I have my photographs, and I use my photographs to make these collages. It gives continuity in the work, but it also allows my photographs to have a different life and a different type of function. I like to put myself in that sometimes as a way to say, ‘I also have the same experiences as other people that I’ve photographed.’”

For Jeffrey Kent, art is the very thing that saved him and changed the trajectory of his life. As a multidisciplinary artist informed by the historical and the personal, Kent’s paintings reflect the notion that art imitates life.

He uses his gifts to emphasize both the social and political meaning within ordinary objects. Taking his artistry seriously is partly a result of a previous incarceration.

“If I didn’t get involved in art, I would have stayed in the drug game and wouldn’t be here now,” Kent told Blavity. “There’s no doubt, I would have stayed in the drug game. This gave me a way to see I can make money in another way. The people I was selling drugs out of my apartment to were lawyers and doctors, and they ended up being the people who first started buying my art.”