Three new businesses have opened on South Conkling Street, including a grocery store, clothing shop and art gallery, says
Highlandtown Main Street
Manager Amanda Smit-Peters.
Nepalese grocer Druk Grocery, clothing store J and M Fashion Stop and art gallery Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center have opened within the last three months. They're the latest to open in the East Baltimore neighborhood, home of arts center the Creative Alliance. The area scored a coup in May when Winston Blick opened an outpost of his popular Hamilton restaurant Clementine
at the Creative Alliance. Community activities, including an art project and a local farmers market, have led business owners to take notice of the area and invest in the neighborhood, Smit-Peters says.
Nancy Jagelka's 1,000 square-foot gallery combines her personal studio with an instructional space for children's art classes.
Jagelka's work and classes focuses on recycled art projects, or work that uses found materials and repurposes them as works of art. The center will offer classes on a donation basis to youth as young as four years old in the recycled arts. The first in a series of workshops will start on Saturday and will focus on mask-masking.
It doesn't take a lot of money to make art, Jagelka says, but it is a communal process. With the help of a grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation, Jagelka recently organized an intergenerational mural project at Bank and South Conkling Streets in Highlandtown across from Hoehn's Bakery that was a partnership between her art center, the John Booth Senior Center, and Mosaic Makers Inc.
The mural was dedicated with an event and children's activities on Oct. 6.
Smit-Peters credits pop-up shops and art projects
earlier this year, a series of events where businesses and art projects took over vacant spaces in Highlandtown, as a way of generating new business in the area. Smit-Peters says the new businesses leasing space on the block benefited from business owners who saw increased interest in the area and made improvements to their buildings to attract new tenants. The presence of the weekly farmer's market has also attracted new businesses to the area.
"This block feels like what a main street is like. It's nice to see businesses make improvements together," Smit-Peters says.
Following the participation in the pop-up shop project last winter, Jagelka worked with a landlord who she says was very flexible in helping her to establish a permanent location in the neighborhood.
Source: Amanda Smit-Peters, Highlandtown Main Street; Nancy Jagelka, Anthony's Park Mobile Arts Recycle Center.
Writer: Alexandra Wilding, firstname.lastname@example.org