This Group Has a Plan to Reboot Howard Street
Three performing arts groups hope to transform vacant buildings in Baltimore’s west side into an arts incubator and vibrant cultural hub.
The properties on the 400 block of Howard Street would offer permanent rehearsal and performance space to several nomadic theater companies, educational programs, artists studios and apartments, and a café, Annex Theater artistic director Evan Moritz says.
The project's first phase, which includes the first floor performance and classroom space, will launch mid-2017. The second and third phases will open in 2018 and 2019.
Annex Theater's Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman
Annex, EMP Collective and Psychic Reading Companies teamed up with developer Ted Rouse after responding to an RFP the Baltimore Development Corp issued last year. The groups created a separate nonprofit, called Le Mondo, to operate the spaces.
“If we go there, businesses will naturally crop up,” and the neighborhood will hopefully gain some cachet, Evan says. He’s pictured here getting animated during a production meeting for The Magic Flute.
EMP Collective's The Potatoes of August
Le Mondo will take over the buildings at 408 and 412 N Howard St from the city March 1, totaling 19k SF. The transfer of ownership is contingent on the group raising $325k to repair the buildings. Le Mondo has already raised $50K with a crowdsourcing campaign.
It's the latest example of an arts organization taking up more real estate in the city. After opening a downtown home in the historic Mercantile Building, The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (pictured) is eyeing more space next door. Single Carrot Theatre and Everyman Theatre have settled into larger digs in Remington and the west side, respectively.