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Black Arts District carves out a space for novice and rising artists in West Baltimore

Art and culture are innate in the Black community, particularly in Baltimore.

The Black Arts District was established in 2019 as the fourth arts and entertainment district in Baltimore City. 

The district covers 149 acres of West Baltimore, according to the Maryland State Arts Council

But also, it’s the only arts and entertainment district directly supporting Black-creative and Black-cultural  production on the eastern seaboard.

“We really wanted to make sure it included different kinds of Black leaders both past and present,” Brion Grill, the founder and executive director of the Black Arts District, said. 

The Black Arts District aims to empower Black creative artists using art and culture as a tool to support the revitalization efforts in West Baltimore, especially along Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It’s about providing training and development opportunities,” Grill said. “We are creating events for you to come and connect with black creators to get the resources you need to help to monetize and become a more professional artist. There are a lot of things that we do in the city, and we are excited to do that kind of work and to grow.”

These are great opportunities for artists in Baltimore.

Grill said that the Black Arts District should be viewed as another cog in the greater wheel to support the arts and ecosystem that is in Baltimore for the creative community.

It hosts fairs and festivals showcasing Black artists. 

“One of the reasons we chose Pennsylvania Avenue as the corridor that we’re going to base the entertainment district was because of the long-storied past of Pennsylvania Avenue as a hub for arts and entertainment,” Grill said. “We want to bring that back . . . to Pennsylvania Avenue, attracting people, attracting events to come back on the Avenue, and then use that as a community development model to not focus on gentrification, but avoid gentrification while also building up a community that absolutely deserves it.” 

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