Inside Out Baltimore

Inside Out portraits located on Fleet St. in Harbor East, Baltimore, Maryland

Photo by Kristin Stith

Public Unveiling and Celebration, June 7, 2012, 6 p.m.

I am blessed to be part of a global project in Baltimore that aims to bring people together. It all began with JR.

Street artist JR wants art to turn the world inside out and he has challenged artists everywhere to show the true face of the world by pasting photos of its people on walls. In Beaux Arts Magazine, JR says, "I would like to bring art to improbable places, create projects so huge within the community that they are forced to ask themselves questions." You can watch JR's winning TED speech here

Baltimore has joined in this global project. A small group of artists and networking activists met one day to discuss how Baltimore could contribute to JR's idea. We discussed our concern about Baltimore's history of racial divide and wanted to find a way to bridge this by emphasizing collective similarities. After a discussion about approaching people to talk about their hopes and dreams, we decided on a question that most people would be willing to answer when approached by a stranger with a camera. "What is your favorite color?"

We approached people, told them about the project, asked them their favorite color and took their portrait. Then these photos were enlarged as black and white posters and pasted on a building for all to see. These 36 are clustered according to their favorite colors. The exhibit demonstrates that we may look different on the outside but we can share commonalities on the inside. I wonder what other things these people share in common? These bonds are not always visible to the eye. 

"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the Little Prince tells us in Antoine de Saint Exupery's novel, The Little Prince.

This exhibit celebrates the Baltimore community and focuses on what unites us, rather than on what divides us. You will find it in one of downtown Baltimore's most prominent locations--Harbor East on Fleet Street.

The project was a collaborative effort among photographers Bonnie Schupp and Kristin I. Stith, painter Deborah Patterson, group action coordinator Scott Burkholder and the kind support of Baltimore area residents who agreed to participate. Resource support was generously provided by Kearney O'Doherty, Maryland Art Place, Sunbelt Rentals, Gary Vikan, Sunrise Design and Chris Janian.

The public unveiling will take place on Thursday, June 7, 6 p.m. at the installation site in Harbor East. It is located on the south side of Fleet Street between S. Exeter and President Streets. A reception will follow at Talara Restaurant, 615 S. President St. 

Kevin Robinson stands beneath his wall portrait.
 Photo by Bonnie Schupp

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