Listen: Combining visual arts, performing arts, education, and a strong devotion to the community, the Walker's Point Center for the Arts is the kind of institution any neighborhood would welcome with open arms. They've gone through a number of ups and downs over the years, from teetering on the brink of dissolution to the present day, where their prospects looks brighter than ever. Below, join two WPCA directors for a look into the past, present, and future of the Walker's Point Center for the Arts.
Jane standing at the old site of the WPCA (notice the ride-able pepper in the background)
Twenty-three years ago Jane Brite was packing her bags for a curatorial position in Baltimore when she was presented with a thrillingly different opportunity — to act as the first director of the WPCA. At the time, she wasn't even entirely sure where National Avenue was, but the prospect of adventure was too much to turn down: Definitely a pioneer. She even told me a story about how she worked with the Latin Kings to do some graffiti murals, a project which eventually led to a few of the gang members going on to study art in college. Another unbelievable part of that story — Jane had her car stolen in the neighborhood and her new friends from the Latin Kings got it back for her. Seriously.
Gary Tuma, current Executive Director of the WPCA, has recently brought the orgnization to a whole new place. Literally. With the smell of paint still fresh in the air, on April 16th, they opened the doors of their brand new space to the public. Such a big move is certainly cause to reflect on the WPCA's legacy in Walker's Point: It's one thing to use a neighborhood, but it's an entirely different thing to be a part of it. When a neighborhood like Walker's Point attracts a healthy cadre of artists and creatives, what impact does that have on the community at large?
Out takes! Gary was a geyser of interesting information about the WPCA, the Walker's Point neighborhood, and a whole lot more. Listen, as he takes you on an audio tour of their new space: An art center like Walker's Point makes a concerted effort to tap into the resources of the area, including locally sourcing as much of the materials they needed for their recent renovation of their new space. Additionally, they also try to connect with the history and culture of the neighborhood's residents: Wouldn't all this be a little better with some living, breathing visuals? Totally. So, get down there yourself and check it out!
This was too cute to pass up — the boombox that sits in the front gallery is permanently tuned to 88Nine!"]