With public arts projects such as Open Walls, that have received recognition across the U.S. and worldwide, the Station North Arts District is the most visible arts district in Baltimore. It includes part, or all, of 3 Central Baltimore neighborhoods (Charles North, Greenmount West and Barclay), and was the first area in Baltimore City to be designated an Arts & Entertainment District, by the State of Maryland. That was in 2002, and it would not be hyperbole to describe Station North as ‘groundbreaking,’ as there are now 28 Arts & Entertainment Districts in Maryland. This designation includes tax benefits for stakeholders in the area, and you can learn more about what’s available on the Station North website.
Among other cultural activities, Station North is the programmer for the YNOT Lot, a popular outdoor venue on the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue, that presents a cross section of cutting-edge artists and local activities. This symbiosis reflects Station North’s role in supporting Baltimore arts (and artists, and artspaces), along with the broader community who share the Station North area. Frequently, events at the YNOT Lot are free, and they are enjoyed by a broad spectrum of visitors from all over Baltimore, and beyond. The District is also the location of renowned Graffiti Alley (pictured above), where graffiti artists are free to legally update the ever-changing improvised network of murals, as they see fit. It has been used as the background for hundreds of thousands of images — both still and moving, in everything from music videos, to fashion shoots, to selfies. Station North is also the scene of Artscape, Baltimore’s largest arts festival, attracting an an average audience of more than 300,000 people per year. It has been characterized as “the largest free arts festival in the U.S.” Numerous restaurants, galleries, makerspaces (such as Open Works), bars and theaters including the SNF Parkway (home of the Maryland Film Festival) and the Charles Theater (the city’s beloved arthouse movie theater), make for Baltimore’s most vibrant entertainment hub.