After a one year pause on our public art grant projects, we welcomed the new season with three phenomenal installations that are sure to have a lasting impact on their school communities. Thanks to the generous support from M&T Bank, the Maryland State Arts Council, and the Creative Baltimore Fund, we were able to fund projects from Thomas Jefferson Elementary Middle, Lillie May Carroll Jackson Charter School, and Curtis Bay Elementary with each installation a reflection of their school community and mission.

In May, Curtis Bay Elementary celebrated the completion of their beautiful community garden with local artist Sue Stockman, who worked with students to build colorful mosaic benches and plant native plant species to create a fun outdoor learning space for the school to enjoy. Throughout the process, students learned about the connection and reliance upon the earth and all the other inhabitants, plant native perennial plants provide from the Patuxent Research Center who also gave a talk about native bees and pollinators. They also learned about the need for native plants and included nature imagery in their design ideas for the mosaics.

The students had planted lettuce, radishes, marigolds, pansies, and an assortment of herbs in the raised flower beds that were surrounded by the benches and tables. This hands-on experience even included digging for the benches and working with cement. The teachers were all very excited about how the garden would be used in the future and will be a much needed addition to the school.

Thomas Jefferson Elementary 4th, 5th, and 6th graders worked collaboratively with teaching artist Amanda Pellerin to create a stunning mosaic mural that depicts their school and meaningful symbols that represent their community. Tiny pieces of tile and glass join together to reveal a blue crab, a sail boat, and even the facade of the school building. When the mural was unveiled to the public, each grade level was invited to celebrate the new addition to their outdoor classroom space. Students who worked on the mural answered questions from their peers about the process and inspiration for the design.

Lillie May Carroll Jackson Charter School started creating a series of murals “celebrating the joy and beauty of Black women and girls in a world that often stands against them”. Through our grant, the school was able to partner with Art With a Heart to install four panels depicted various notable women that the students chose themselves are doing research on each figure. In their art classroom, young ladies gathered to paint various symbols that would surround the images of the women. Colorful flowers and birds came to life under the brush as the students proudly shared their experience in the process. This project is still ongoing throughout the summer and is expected to be completed at the beginning of the school year so be sure to stay tuned for the unveiling of the mural in the fall!

The Public Art Grant for Baltimore City Schools has brought so much pride to schools throughout the city as school communities and local artists come together to create something beautiful for students to enjoy for years to come. We want to thank this program’s supporters- M&T Bank, Maryland State Arts Council and the Creative Baltimore Fund, for making this year’s projects possible.