Maryland and the greater DMV area (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia respectively) have been unofficially dubbed the “second Nigeria”, among other U.S. states like Illinois (Chicago), Texas (Dallas and Houston), New York (New York City), and Georgia (Atlanta). Baltimore houses many Nigerian residents who like to partake in the cultural happenings the city has to offer.
More often than not this is a metropolis, which has been at the center of national news because of riots over what many feel are abusive police practices and a dwindling economy. Light City Baltimore sheds a positive light (no pun intended) on a city that has garnered such negative press.
By Gloria Adeyeye
Light City Baltimore – Light, the City, and Innovation
Brooke Hall and Justin Allen are the married founders of a Baltimore-based creative agency. For close to a year they planned to light up this city, and they did. On Monday, March 28, Light City Baltimore began, with a light parade by Creative Alliance.
This is considered the first and largest light festival in North America. It has been praised as the beginning of a great idea that will continue on for years in Baltimore City. The tourists the event has garnered thus far will certainly serve as a boost to the economy.
A coming together of the city and its community, the stakeholders, the citizens, the surrounding counties, it reminds us all that in the city there is light, in the city there is hope.
The Harbor was transformed from south to east with 1.5 miles of art installations that are free and open to the public. It promises to be the event that keeps coming back every year, expected to help generate revenue from visitors to Maryland during spring break week and weekend and from families living in Maryland. You can tell they hit the magic formula, this is a spring break hit for families with the Inner Harbor turned into a boardwalk before my eyes, a huge park at night, and an outdoor music area, this will be a great place to hang with the family during spring break every year.
It does not stop there, in spite of the beauty of Light City, Baltimore City is still healing and it is still in need of hope.
There is a bigger story, as we get closer to the anniversary of Freddie Gray’s death and the subsequent riots of 2015. You see the projected pictures and you stop and look, displayed on the walls and on fountain surfaces, befitting of the relevance. This memorial, this fountain is where the occupy Baltimore movement started. #BlackLivesMatter.
The pictures everywhere, the black lives we lost to incidents with law enforcement were on display as a projection. Artistic-images of black lives like Freddie Gray, Tyrone West, and Sandra Bland. And tucked away behind them were the altars that had been created to honor their lives. A memorial of pictures, handcrafted art, candles, flowers and the memorials will keep growing till the event ends on April 3rd.
The work of Luminous Intervention an artist collective that came together during the Occupy Baltimore movement in 2012, can be seen throughout, using what has been termed a guerrilla style projection to shed light on issues both social and economic both local and national.
I met the group for a few minutes and they are a lovable group, your regular citizens, your neighbor or your best friend someone you could talk to and would listen. In my conversation with the humble Ada Pinkston, a member of Luminous Intervention, and a teacher, I asked before knowing her connection to the event, about the motive behind the art installations, she said:
“We all need to remember that it could have been our children our sons or daughters, it could have been us and that is the connection”.
Gloria Adeyeye is a freelance journalist and event planner based in the U.S. She loves art, history, and writing stories.