“Imagine that something better could be here, other than the things that are typically here…” Brian Greenan, Baltimore City Mayor’s Office
DFA Baltimore’s Lexington Market team took to the streets with chalk, a camera, and an empathetic mindset as part of their work on transforming the historic Lexington Market. A historic landmark that been a part of Baltimore for over 200 years, recently the reputation of the market has taken a hit. Drugs and crime have increased outside the market and the perception of the area is arguably having a bigger economic effect then the crime itself. Vendors are losing business and many groups are trying to find ways to bring the market back to its place of prominence within the neighborhood and the city.
Asking, “How can we promote safe loitering around Lexington Market?” the DFA team created an opportunity for patrons to share their stories with the public. The team set up on the street just outside the market and asked people to draw their stories on the ground. The team found “[a] lot of the market goers carry a lot of weight in things that have happened to them in their lives and I think that they are really looking for a space that can help them get that grief out to have someone hear their story and hear what they have to say.” It was an amazing afternoon of collecting stories, sharing ideas, and it got the attention of the Baltimore Mayor’s office. The team has been invited to present their work to the mayor and leaders from a variety of Baltimore city departments. Stay tuned for updates!
Do you have any ideas on how your team can use cheap materials to quickly start a conversation with your community? Comment below.