Thursday, March 19, 2015

Adventure 2: Exploring Art at MICA in Station North


For my second adventure, I was curious about looking into the arts scene at Station North. In particular, I was interested in learning more about MICA's relatively new presence in the arts district. Since a lot of the neighborhood's growth is a result of MICA's expansion on North Avenue, I figured it would be good to get a firsthand look at the spaces they occupy, and how it relates to the community.

During spring break, I attended the faculty exhibit going on at the Lazarus Center (aka the Graduate Studio Center). The building was once used as a factory for Morgan Millwork Company and later for Jos. A. Bank clothiers, a local Baltimore menswear company. After an 18 million dollar renovation, the Lazarus Center officially opened in October 2012.

Like most of Station North, I have driven past this structure many times, and had always been interested in its interior and historical significance. Upon entering the building, I felt like I had stepped into a gallery in Chelsea or Tribeca. I was very impressed by the architectural renovation, as well as the design of the gallery. Instead of sheltering the art from the avenue, the gallery was the first thing you encountered as you entered. This layout gave me a welcoming feeling, encouraging an artistic dialogue with the outside community.

Along with viewing the show, I went to the building's cafe, Nancy, where I got a coffee and a delicious pastry. Nancy also had a very welcoming and bright atmosphere, having tables and chairs looking out onto the avenue. The owners were also very friendly, adding to the overall experience. Afterwards, I found out that Nancy is owned by the same people who run the Station North Arts Cafe on Charles Street. In terms of the art, I enjoyed the show very much. My favorite pieces were the oxen pastel drawings (shown above). The inventory of the gallery was very diverse and eclectic, triggering the eyes of any passerby. In a way, the diversity represented in the show could easily be connected to the diversity of Station North, and how there are countless ways to express ourselves through the arts.

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