Baltimore Press

Art Project Flourishes in Troubled Neighborhood

Can a nationally esteemed artist, a munchkin from The Wizard of Oz, an adherent of Martin Luther King Jr., crime prevention, and thirty disad­vantaged kids exist at a single site in Baltimore?

The interested can see for themselves watch the magic today between 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the field house in ABC Park, at the comer of Aston and Catherine Streets in Southeast Baltimore.

Artist Jay Wolf Schlossberg Cohen has been holding art workshops with youths from a nearby middle school for the past few weeks, in which the students have “gone from timid to beyond Kooning,” according to the artist. Under the mastery of Cohen’s hand, the children’s work is being recreated on the four walls of the park’s field house.
“It’s an explosive shot of color in the city,” said Cohen did two, thoroughly unre­lated, noteworthy acts as a child himself. First, he was cast as a munchkin for The Wizard of Oz; and second, he walked with his mother in MLK Jr’s 1963 march into Washington D.C.

The neighborhood surrounding ABC Park has declined recently from poverty to worse. The demoli­tion of nearby housing projects have steeped the neighborhood with drug dealing. A little over a week ago, thirteen-year-old Shenea Counts was killed by a stray bullet nearby.

The project has been dedicated to her, whom was a contemporary of the kids involved.

Other examples of Cohen’s work are displayed in both the White House and BWI Airport. The project is being funded, in part, by Baltimore’s Hot Spots pro­gram, which focuses resources on crime-ridden neighborhoods. Can art save a community? Go and find out.

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