John Henderson Creates Baltimore Public Art

John Henderson’s sculpture being installed at the park site.

This summer, WGS Studio artist John Henderson has been working with emerging young artists from Baltimore, MD to create new public art sculptures and murals. Baltimore’s “Arts On The Avenue (AOTA ) Program ” – is a place-based outdoor public arts initiative centered on residential neighborhoods and commercial districts undergoing community transformation. AOTA projects are site specific, with the intent of beautifying outdoor public spaces that promote peoples health, happiness, and well being.

Artist John Henderson presents certificates to each of the community participants.
All those who participated in the AOTA.

In addition to beautification of public spaces, another goal of AOTA is exposing children & youth to the creating process. This creative process or art therapy is more about the process not the outcome. In working with children and youth, this non verbal process in which the activities embodies the person and the expression is projected on the canvas. The end result is a finished mural. There can be discussions around what was created or not or a contemporary theme, such as “What is Family to You”, the therapy works to release emotions from deep within. We believe that this method of inserting young people to the visual arts has proven to be an effective efficient way of handling and overwhelmed PTSD, while at the same time creating a healthier community and improving the quality of life for the participants and residents in the community.

The community celebrates the completed works of art!
Baltimore City youth participating in a AOTA mural project

The Arts on the Avenue (AOTA) Program places culturally relevant artworks, created by local artist, along major vehicular corridors and identifiable gateways into a community. AOTA’s purpose is to stimulate revitalization efforts, in priority investment areas that align with local government neighborhood development strategies, attract new investments into communities, build strong connections with community stakeholders, and improve the quality of life for the residents through its ability to ignite the imagination, encourage thought and to prompt discourse.

Detail of the mural shows a bold, fun mix of colors.