Photos, murals on display at City Hall Senior citizens capture moments from their lives

October 14, 1998|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

For 11 months, residents of Monument East Apartments took snapshots of their lives, small glimpses of their big struggles to perch alongside moments of unbridled joy. The pictures captured loneliness, the celebration of childhood, the good times mixed with the bad.

A collection of these photographs, along with pictures of four East Baltimore murals, has been put on display in the Rotunda Gallery at City Hall until Oct. 30.

The exhibit represents two of the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition's Cultural Arts Program's recent projects. The photography and senior citizens project gave Monument East Apartments residents a chance to learn a craft while documenting their lives, said Gary Kachadourian, visual arts coordinator for the mayor's advisory committee on art and culture.

The mural project brought local artists and community leaders together to plan outdoor murals to help improve East Baltimore neighborhoods.

"Here you see a lot of regular folks who have done something special for themselves and the community," said Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who held a City Hall reception for the artists yesterday.

The Cultural Arts Program, which began about two and a half years ago, is funded by grants from the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Artist Linda Day Clark met with the senior citizens each week from April 1997 to February 1998 and instructed them on using the camera. Only a handful of photographs was displayed yesterday but, Clark said, the selection lets people see an often overlooked perspective on life in Baltimore.

"It's good for visitors to come and see through the eyes of the seniors," Clark said.

Louise Abraham, 67, said her photos -- snapshots of her church, her home and her family -- depict the real Baltimore. "It shows some good and some bad," Abraham said.

The mural display included photographs of Pontella Mason's celebration of African-American leaders, which is on walls at 2117 and 2125 E. North Ave., and Lyle Kissack's and Gerald Ross' homage to African-American steel workers on the side of Super Pride Market at 100 N. Patterson Park Ave.

"These murals make people, especially in East Baltimore, realize the importance of knowing their history," Mason said. "History means something."

Pub Date: 10/14/98

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