Baltimore’s Board of Estimates today signed off on state funding sought for several Station North-area arts organizations, including $100,000 for repairs at the Load of Fun building (closed in August in the wake of city zoning code violations), and $30,000 to replace the heating and cooling systems at The Autograph Playhouse (where the Baltimore Rock Opera Society has been staging many of its productions.)
The proposed funding for these projects and others would come, if approved, via the Community Legacy Program of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
About 40 artists and arts groups, including the Single Carrot Theatre, were displaced earlier this year when owner Sherwin Mark closed his Load of Fun building at 120 W. North Avenue. The city, responding to an anonymous 311 call, had found “lack of sprinklers, problems with the electrical system and egress issues,” a Baltimore Housing spokeswoman told The Brew.
Single Carrot had to find another place to stage “Drunk Enough to Say I Love You” (Maryland Institute College of Art gave them space at the Brown Center) and arrange for other space for subsequent productions.
The $100,000 is to cover “the installation of a modern fire protection sprinkler and system to a 24,000 square foot, circa, 1900 historic building,” according to the Board of Estimates agenda.
The Autograph Playhouse, on 9 W. 25th Street, proposes to replace heating and cooling system in its building, which opened as The Homewood Theater in 1946 and is perhaps best known for its 1980s incarnation, The Playhouse.
The vision of its current owner is “to attract business and arts partnerships, which will utilize the playhouse as a self-sustaining, multi-use facility and incubator for such diverse cultural initiatives as, a community cafe, a teaching theatre, festival competitions and leasing opportunities for local, regional and national arts programming.”
Oher groups and projects endorsed today by the spending board – most of them located in the Station North area – were:
• a Baltimore Design School proposal to “complete the streetscape, ornamental fencing and high visibility signage as part of the restoration of a 117,000 square foot vacant industrial building, located at 1500 Barclay Street.” ($100,000 sought)
• a Jubilee Baltimore Inc. proposal to put a new roof on 1228 N. Calvert Street to transform it into a 66,000-square-foot multi-use arts hub. ($100,000 sought)
• a Central Baltimore Partnership Facade Renovation Project at 5 and 29 East North Avenue. “The project will renovate the facades of two buildings of two live-in artists’ residences.” ($65,000 sought)
• HOW-NOR LP, at 200 W. North Avenue, to enhance its parking lot and convert it to a self-pay facility. The project includes “new monumental steel fencing, new lighting, new parking lot controls, new security cameras. . . new striping arrangements and a new entrance from the cross street to the north which is much safer than using Howard Street.” ($20,000 sought)
• Seawall Development Corp. to help renovate 10 vacant rowhouses on the 2800 block of Remington Ave. as affordable housing to first-time home buyers. ($100,000 sought)