The Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO) is a non-profit organization that was established in 2012 to create working spaces for Baltimore’s growing community of artists, performers, makers and artisans.
BARCO provides real estate advisory services to the arts community and also develops, owns and manages spaces tailored to the needs of artists and creatives that are affordable and secure for the long-term. To date, BARCO has leveraged more than $19 million in investment to create 60,000 square feet of space for artists, makers and performers in Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District including Open Works and the Motor House.
Equitably evolve Baltimore’s communities, networks, and financial capital by enriching neighborhood resources into sustainable and accessible spaces for creative people and community organizations.
We seek to support Baltimore’s artists and creative innovators by providing access to affordable artist studios and workspaces and seek to intentionally create working environments that welcome artists across lines of difference. We envision a Baltimore where artists are able to work and thrive and are working toward removing structural barriers that prohibit them from doing so.
Baltimore values its creative culture and invests in building a robust equitable creative economy accessible by all people. Baltimore is a growing national center recognized for attracting, educating, employing and retaining creative people and organizations.
Our Core Values
In 2016, BARCO completed the $11.5 million renovation of Open Works, a 34,000 square foot nonprofit makerspace serving the greater Baltimore community.
BARCO raised the necessary capital funding to build out the facility and managed the development process from concept through construction to building opening. BARCO also provided operational funding and support to launch Open Works as it’s own non-profit organization.
Located in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, Open Works serves as an incubator for Baltimore’s creative economy by providing affordable working studios and access to state-of- the-art production facilities for visual artists, photographers, graphic designers, sculptors, weavers, fiber artists, fashion designers, fine furniture makers, and small manufacturing companies. The mission of Open Works is is to make tools, technology, and the knowledge to use them accessible and affordable.
The building features a complete wood shop, metal shop, and digital media studio along with a digital fabrication shop (CNC routers and milling machines), a 3D imaging and 3D printing studio, a microelectronics lab, and a digital embroidery and fibers studio. The facility also provides 140 individual micro-studios for designing, assembling, and finishing projects and products created in these shops.
Open Works is also a regional leader in providing accessible classes and instruction in the safe and proper use of these sophisticated production technologies. From offering workshops in advanced product design, to classes on woodworking, to seminars on project financing and entrepreneurship, Open Works is realizing its mission of making the knowledge to use tools and technology accessible and affordable.Learn more by visiting openworksbmore.com
In 2015, BARCO completed the $6 million renovation of the Motor House, a 25,000 square foot visual and performing arts hub in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.
BARCO acquired the building and managed the design and historic renovation of this 1914 historic car dealership. BARCO also runs an 8,000 square foot performing arts venue on the Motor House’s first floor.
Motor House’s goal is to support artists and build an audience for local and national contemporary art including music, dance, film, visual art, spoken word and theater.
Located at the center of the City in an emerging arts and entertainment district, the artistic vision for Motor House is to serve as a multi-cultural arts hub that is firmly rooted in community and showcases underrepresented, cross-disciplinary and emerging art forms.
Motor House plays a critical role in solidifying Station North as the City’s leading Arts & Entertainment District, and is one of nine major projects in the District that have turned vacant or underutilized properties into exciting mixed-use projects focused on the creative sector. The fully restored, former car dealership is now home to more than seven, non-profit arts organizations, fourteen artists from diverse disciplines, a small exhibition space, a 175-seat performance venue, a 40-seat venue and a bar. Located at the northwest corner of the arts district across from the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Graduate Center, the building is also home to Graffiti Alley, Baltimore’s only “legal” space for street art.Learn more by visiting motorhousebaltimore.com
BARCO is a leader and collaborator in spearheading initiatives that support artist run and operated spaces and development projects. BARCO provides the following support for the arts community:
The Grit Fund (TGF) provides monetary awards--up to $7,000--to encourage the presentation and development of projects that contribute to the vibrancy and development of Baltimore’s arts and cultural landscape.
The Grit Fund recognizes there are many structural barriers preventing independent artists, and arts-based cultural organizers, from accessing traditional funding that can advance their work and benefit their communities. TGF prioritizes artistic initiatives that present opportunities for artists, cultural workers and community members to develop unexpected collaborations that investigate place and space. We accept proposals from unincorporated artist-led/organized initiatives that utilize the visual arts as a means to produce collaborative public facing projects. Baltimore based artists are eligible to apply. Grit Fund projects must take place in Baltimore City or County and be accessible to the general public. Funded activities may include but are not limited to: exhibitions, publications, public events, public/place based art, film screenings, the ongoing work of an existing arts venue or collective, and the founding of a new arts venue or collective.
The Grit Fund was established in Baltimore in 2015 by The Contemporary (TC) museum with generous funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, as a part of the Regional Regranting Program--which “aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country.” Under the stewardship of The Contemporary (2015-2017), the Grit Fund granted over 30 Baltimore specific, artist-organized projects, totaling over $170,000.
In 2018 Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation partnered with the Andy Warhol Foundation to steward the Grit Fund through the 2019-2020 grant cycles.
Find out how to apply or sign-up for a Grit Fund information session and workshop.
In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the Foundation has given over $200 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program aims to support vibrant, under-the-radar artistic activity by partnering with leading cultural institutions in communities across the country. The program allows the Foundation to reach the sizeable population of informal, non-incorporated artist collectives and to support their alternative gathering spaces, publications, websites, events and other projects. The Foundation plans to expand this program with partner organizations in areas where the level of on-the-ground, self-organized artistic activity is highest.
The fourteen re-granting programs, developed and facilitated by organizations in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Portland (OR), Portland (ME), San Francisco, Cleveland, and Colorado provide grants of up to $10,000 for the creation and public presentation of new work. Together the programs have funded nearly 800 projects over eleven years.
The Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Arts Space is an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to the support, preservation, and development of artist run and operated spaces in Baltimore City:
ARTS SAFE SPACE TASK FORCE
BARCO served on the City of Baltimore’s Art Safe Space Task Force, launched by Baltimore Mayor, Catherine Pugh, in 2017.
This special task force was organized as a response to the tragic fire at the Ghost Ship in Oakland, CA and the eviction of resident artists from the Bell Foundry in Baltimore.
The Task Force integrated the perspectives of artistic, design, development, regulatory, and revitalization experts to develop strategies, identify resources, and propose a programmatic framework to develop and sustain spaces that protect the safety of artists and patrons, while meeting the logistical and technical interests of today’s performers and audiences.
READ THE FULL REPORT FROM THE TASK FORCE:
A comprehensive report on the findings and recommendations made by the Task Force was presented to Mayor Pugh in December of 2017. Here you can read the full report.
The Ongoing Process:
Mayor Pugh released a statement on creating safe spaces for artists in Baltimore in December of 2016.
In April 2017, in response to the shuttering of the Bell Foundry, Mayor Catherine Pugh issued an Executive Order to investigate arts spaces. Here you can read the full executive summary.
Several articles were published covering artist spaces and the work of the Task Force at the time:
Through our work with artists and arts organizations, we have developed a safe space checklist.
A Code Modification Database was developed to allow design professionals and the public to search code modification requests that have previously been granted by the City for existing buildings.
Founded by the RW Deutsch Foundation in 2012, the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO) is a nonprofit real estate development corporation that supports Baltimore’s artists and creative innovators by providing affordable and quality work space.
Vice President of Development
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
C. Sean Closkey
ReBuild Metro, Inc.
Leslie King Hammond
Senior Fellow, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
Professor Emerita, former Dean of Graduate Studies and
Founder of the Center for Race and Culture at MICA
Kathleen L. Lane
Baltimore Architecture Foundation
A. Skipp Sanders
Retired Educator & Former Executive Director
of the Reginald Lewis Museum
Senior Fellow and Director
Leon F. Pinkett, III
Executive Director/ CEO
Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation
BARCO provides real estate advisory services to the arts community and also develops, owns and manages spaces tailored to the needs of artists and creatives that are affordable and secure for the long-term. BARCO offers the following services for projects:
Real Estate Development
BARCO believes that by creating exciting spaces for artists and creative people and organizations we can build new connections and strengthen Baltimore’s cultural sector.
BARCO brings its skills and experience in creative real estate finance, project design and planning and entitlements and permitting to create award-winning spaces for Baltimore’s creative community including:
BARCO provides property management services to provide well maintained and welcoming places for the artists, makers and art supporting organizations that call our spaces home.
Interested in leasing in a work studio space in Motor House or Open Works?