Best Neighborhood: Highlandtown

H ighlandtown remains a Baltimore working class neighborhood at a time when change and gentrification are slowly altering many parts the east side. It is also home to much of Baltimore’s Hispanic population, which has introduced new restaurants, grocery stores, and art galleries to the area over the past decade or two. The community’s anchor and hub is the Creative Alliance, which is a good example of what an arts center can and should be. Embedded in the neighborhood’s commercial heart on Eastern Ave., Creative Alliance puts on a robust season of performances, films, and exhibitions but it does more than that. Local artists can apply for a residency, kids can take classes—ranging from dance classes for the teeny tiny ones to afterschool drumming classes for middle-schoolers to video classes for teens—and anyone who happens to be walking by on a Saturday afternoon can step inside to do an art project with their kids. The space and programming are designed to be inviting—like the neighborhood itself.

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