Best History Lesson: “Beautiful Walls for Baltimore” at School 33 Art Center

1427 Light St., school33.org

This sweeping love letter to 40 years of Baltimore mural artists and their work was a gorgeous reminder of what can happen when artists’ work is valued as a legitimate job. As BOPA’s Public Art Project Specialist, “Beautiful Walls for Baltimore” curator Maggie Villegas oversees the city’s current mural program, and she sifted through her office’s records to document how a mural program formed in the mid 1970s, when federal funds gave artists and apprentices modest salaries—not prize money—to work in and with neighborhoods. That some of those artists, such as the late Pontella Mason, went on to make some of Baltimore’s most memorable murals serves as an indelible reminder that recognizing creative labor as work, city-wide, impacts everyone who calls Baltimore home.

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