A graffiti artist tagged the shit out of the Bell Foundry.
The words "$HAME 100" have been sprayed across the side—almost covering the full height of the structure—of the former DIY arts space and venue, which was closed by the city in December but remains the home until the end of this year to the Baltimore Rock Opera Society (BROS).
According to the local graffiti artist who takes credit for the tag and didn't want their name included in this piece, the tag is "aimed at the disgusting machine of divestment, reinvestment, and displacement," adding, "it is shameful to displace artists and it is shameful that the property is now going for so much," referring to recent news that the Bell Foundry and surrounding parcel are for sales for $1 million.
They also clarified that the tag reads "shame" and then "100" like the "100" emoji, and that with the tag they also wanted to "send a message out that it's time that graff writers start utilizing their skills for signal boosting the voices of others," and that "writing our names is played out" and "slumlords must be taken to task."
The artist said they used a modified fire extinguisher filled with paint to tag the building.
This is not the first time the building has been altered in protest since the city closed it down. At some point in January, the sign above one of the entrances that read "USED TIRES" was adjusted to read, "ABUSED & TIRED"—a commentary on how the upstairs tenants felt that remains there today.
For readers who aren't up on the Bell Foundry's recent troubles: The building was shuttered by the city back in December due to safety concerns, leaving the residents who lived upstairs with no home; though the downstairs tenants, BROS, who used it as a workspace, were eventually allowed back into the space (BROS have a Crowdrise going to fund a "forever home," click here to donate). Shortly after the Bell was closed, a Safe Space Task Force was established by the mayor to discuss issues related to safety and housing for artists (though it kinda seems like a shit show; and more recently, the Bell was put up for sale for $1 million dollars—which left a bad taste in the mouths of many in the arts community.
This is the sequence of events that lead somebody to spray paint "$HAME 100" really fucking huge on the side of the building in protest.
City Paper also reached out to former Bell Foundry tenant and musician, DJ, and filmmaker Qué Pequeño for comment about the tag.
"I saw it, laughed, and then went home," Pequeño said.
According to BROS' Instagram, the tag is being removed with some help from the nearby Station North Tool Library. In a post published a little after 6 p.m., they posted a photo of the tag being power washed and the caption: "Thanks @stationnorthtoollibrary for always having our backs on borrowing gear. You guys are the best." It had a blue heart emoji at the end.