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.
To rebuild Baltimore neighborhoods by transforming underutilized real estate into attractive and affordable spaces for creative people and 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 creative sector accessible by all people. Baltimore is nationally recognized for attracting, educating, employing and retaining creative people and organizations.
Our core values are:
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. Through our Arts Space Technical Assistance Program, BARCO provides the following support for the arts community:
Art Space Technical Assistance Program
BARCO believes spaces for artists and arts organizations are vital to a sustainable and vibrant city. BARCO offers its skills and experience for Baltimore’s creative community including:
Apply for arts space technical assistance
SINCE 2016, BARCO has provided assistance to more than two dozen art spaces accross the city. This ranges from individual consultations to in-depth coaching. To date, BARCO has helped to leverage more than $1.1 million in new investment in art spaces.
Due to current commitments, applications for Technical Assistance will be accepted beginning July 2018. Here you can find the full application. For more information or if you are an arts space in crisis, please contact Marian Glebes at marian[at]BaltimoreArtsRealty [dot]comArtist Space In Crisis. BARCO respects requests for confidentiality on all inquiries.
Arts space technical assistance program partners
BARCO partners with local organizations to move this work forward. Our partners include:
Neighborhoods in which BARCO is currently working include:
BARCO collaborated with Baltimore City to develop a working protocol that builds on the Mayor’s Executive Order and recommendations of the Task Force on Artist Safe Spaces for how City agencies respond to arts spaces in crisis.Art Safe Space Task Force
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.
Amy Bonitz brings more than 20 years of experience in urban real estate and community development to her current role as BARCO’s President & CEO. She is responsible for new business development and oversees the financial management, operations and marketing of BARCO’s projects.
Prior to joining BARCO, Amy served as the development project manager for the award-winning $18 million Centre Theater project in Station North, and co-led the Southwest Partnership neighborhood planning process with the UMB Bio Park and University of Maryland Baltimore.
Amy has a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent 9 years in the private sector in commercial real estate development before working in the non-profit sector.
Ruth Crane brings 30 years of experience in for profit and nonprofit small business accounting and is responsible for developing and implementing BARCO’s accounting and financial controls systems and infrastructure.
In addition to running her own accounting business, Ruth served as the Finance Director for Baltimore Clayworks from April 2009 through July 2016 prior to joining BARCO as the Financial Manager.
Theo George is a Baltimore-based arts manager, with a passion for promoting and preserving the artistic and cultural legacy of Black countercultural movements. He holds a Master’s of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and Bachelor’s in Africana Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Theo worked at the forefront of the modern LGBT civil rights movement as a communications strategist for the National Center for Transgender Equality on a variety of national communications campaigns ranging from the first-ever LGBT Congressional Caucus on transgender violence on Capitol Hill to consulting on MTV’s 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance programming. He was named to the Trans100 list in 2015 and received a Rising Star Award from Black Transmen Inc. Theo has also worked extensively as an arts communications strategist, for a wide range of clients including the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival and the 2015 International JazzDay in Paris.
Rob was born in Maryland and has been a Baltimore resident since 1987. Rob comes from the construction sector where he worked as a project manager for 9 years for Worster Eisenbrandt, an award winning preservation contractor, and served as the Facility Manager for the Museum of Industry. Rob is also a musician and an expert carpenter.
Marian April Glebes brings a multifaceted practice to her role as BARCO’s Arts Space Technical Assistance Program Coordinator. As an emerging artist, Glebes became the inaugural Artist-In-Residence at the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Patricia and Mark Joseph Centre for Education (2015-2016). She received a 2015 Rubys Individual Artist Award from the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and a Maryland State Arts Council Independent Artist Award in 2017. Glebes curates exhibitions and temporal public art installations for a number of Baltimore venues including Artscape (2009-2016), Transmodern Festival (2011), Case[Werks] Gallery (2011, 2012), and SpaceCamp, which Glebes co-founded in 2015. In the Spring of 2012, she joined the Maryland Institute College of Art’s part-time faculty in the General Fine Arts Department. She has also facilitated commercial real estate development in the private sector in Central Baltimore prior to joining the BARCO team. Having received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in 2004 and her Masters of Fine Art from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2009, Glebes has made her home in Baltimore.
TRF Development Partners
Chief Operating Officer
Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
French Development Company, 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
Laurens MacLure, Jr.
Director, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
Managing Director, BARCO
Former Professional Football Player
Leon F. Pinkett, III
Councilman, Baltimore City Council – 7th District
Educator & Former Executive Director
Reginald F. Lewis Museum
The Brookings Institution
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 a work studio space at Motor House or Open Works? Please click on the button below to submit a leasing inquiry.
BARCO is dedicated to the advancement, development, and preservation of artist-run, owned, and operated spaces in Baltimore City. Our Arts Space Technical Assistance Program provides comprehensive advisory services to artists and property owners in the design, planning, financing, establishing, and resuscitation of arts spaces, tailored to the specific and unique needs of each artist-run project. Spaces for artists and culture contribute to the ecosystem of a thriving city, build stronger neighborhoods, and enable Baltimore's artistic and creative talent to flourish.
Through the generous support of the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Goldseker Foundation, and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, BARCO is able to provide these services pro bono for eligible art spaces, and will continue to advocate for supporting artists in building and owning their spaces for the long term.