By Arius Bevins
“That looks really good,” said Ayanna Sharif, a Morgan State University senior as she admired The American Horror Story-inspired painting titled Brooke’s Knit Headband that Rayne had done for the First Friday art show.
Approximately 25 people gathered in the gallery at 5502 Harford Road for the annual student art show. There was artwork all around; brightly colored, glittery paper hearts and the melted crayons glued to a piece of wood, tribal inspired masks made out of recycled items, colorful self portraits, and hand painted ceramic turtles and peacocks.
Margaret Becker, a fifth grader at Hamilton Elementary/Middle, created two ceramics — a tooth and a peacock. “I made it out of clay and glaze,” she said. Becker’s sculptures were awarded honorable mention.
“This event is all about appreciating the impact that arts have on communities,” said Regina Lansinger, the Director of the Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street, a neighborhood development group. “It is about letting kids know they have value and are important.”
The gallery is a component of the Hamilton Arts Collective, an organization that supports the arts by providing space for artists and bringing art to the community. It has been inviting students for the past nine years to present their art for the community and become local artists. The students are given name tags and the spectators go around and ask them questions. Snacks are served in the back just like at an actual art gallery.
First Fridays are one of the events offered as part of the revitalization of Harford Road. Many of the shops participated in First Friday on March 6. The Hamilton Bakery gave away free cupcakes and southern-style restaurant Herb and Soul took 10 percent off customers’ meals.
The Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street is coming up with different ideas to revitalize the neighborhood.
“I think the attraction is probably more for younger people starting to buy a house, starting families, more with a green ethos and things like that,” says Sue Kessel, who lives in the Waltherson section of the neighborhood.
Kessel likes the idea of the new charter schools in the area. She feels that they have a good curriculum and it is a good way to keep people in the neighborhood and bring in more families with children.
“If we can all applaud each others’ efforts and if the kids can understand it, adults in the neighborhood really care about what they are doing. I think that’s good for the kids and there are so many benefits beyond that,” Lansinger said, adding: “But that’s really the big goal, to make a difference.”
The Hamilton-Lauraville’s next community event is a community wide yard sale on April 26.
Find the complete gallery here.