Second Chance Release from September 29th:
Baltimore, MD – September 29, 2014 – Second Chance, Inc., at 1700 Ridgely Street in south Baltimore, will be the site of public artist Steve Powers’ latest piece in his “Love Letter to Baltimore.” Powers has been commissioned by the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts (BOPA) to paint a series of murals along transportation corridors throughout the city. His work combines simple, powerful text and bold colors to express the unique character of the sites, neighborhoods and cities where his work appears.
Powers and BOPA have spent the past several months scouting highly visible locations along the I-95 and I-295 corridors. Second Chance is the second in a series of five murals planned for southwest Baltimore. The first, the former Fitch Co. building at 2201 Russell Street, is located in the Westport neighborhood.
“We’re excited to participate in the project. Our location along the Russell Street corridor puts us in position to contribute to the overall impression created by the ‘Gateway to Baltimore.’ We support the City’s investment in making a dynamic, positive statement about the renewed spirit of our city to residents and visitors,” said Second Chance President and Founder Mark Foster.
The message to be rendered at the Second Chance location is “WHAT IS AND WHAT CAN BE.” Powers said, “Something that has come up over and over in our conversations with community members is how much they value the history of Baltimore and their commitment to the future of Baltimore. That seemed to resonate with the mission of Second Chance really well.”
Second Chance deconstructs older buildings and retrieves materials, appliances, furniture and fixtures for resale to the public at their 1700 Ridgely Street facility. They hire people with significant barriers to employment and provide them with workforce development and job training services. “The message reflects the potential of giving second chances to people and material,” said Foster.
Born and raised in West Philadelphia, Steve Powers is a painter and language artist who has been making public art since 2003. In collaboration with the public art organization Creative Time, Powers brought more than 40 artists to Coney Island to revitalize fading and dilapidated signage in 2004. In 2009, he returned to his hometown, where he painted a series of 50 murals along the Market Street SEPTA line. Most recently, Powers wrote a “Love Letter” to Downtown Brooklyn and ran a storefront producing free signage for that neighborhood. In his public work, Powers aims to develop relationships with members of the community that feed directly into the words and images that end up on the walls. These relationships range from the formal – Community Board meetings and neighborhood polls – to the casual – shared meals and curbside conversations – but always result in genuine contributions from community members.
“Our goal for the ‘Love Letter to Baltimore’ is to have conversations with people who live in the communities where we’re making work, and to then turn that conversation into visual communication,” Powers said.