Parkwood Placemaking Success

Parkwood Placemaking Celebration gathering

On Saturday, August 20th, the New Auchentoroly Terrace Association (ATA) celebrated residents’ hard work beautifying the 2900 block of Parkwood Avenue with new planters, murals, and a community bulletin board. 

Parkwood planters

Parkwood Avenue volunteers including Michael Grooms, Darlene Dorsey, and John Kwamya installed and planted 16 new large, outdoor planters along both sides of the street, including in front of long vacant homes. The rectangular and square white and gray concrete planters now bring a modern touch to the historic block. Residents water and care for the plants on a regular basis, helping improve the overall beauty of Parkwood Avenue, and recasting their block as a welcoming, positive place.

Parkwood crew
Parkwood murals 2
Parkwood kids painting
Parkwood grooms cutting wood

Resident John Kwamya recruited his friend Cortney Mohring and several local youth to paint over twenty murals of colorful, abstract gestures on black backgrounds, developed with community input. For years degraded plywood sheets boarded up the vacant, three-story homes on this historic block. Another homeowner and ATA Land Use Chair Michael Grooms replaced rotten panels with new plywood sheets to serve and durable canvases for Mohring murals. Now the vacant homes are works of art until they are one day redeveloped for more families to move in.

Parkwood Placemaking Celebration sign with grilling

ATA President and public artist Graham Coreil-Allen worked with neighbors on designing, fabricating, and installing an eight foot tall turquoise and purple kiosk. The colorful stand replaced an old, dilapidated sign, and now proudly features the street name “PARKWOOD” on one side and “PEACE” on the other side. In addition, the kiosk displays a weatherproof bulletin board for public notices and community resource sharing.

Parkwood Placemaking Celebration group photo

For the block party, Michael and his wife Yolonda brought food and drinks while John ran the grill loaned by Orem Block Captain Minnie Brown. 2900 Parkwood Block Captain Darlene Dorsey was also present in spirit as she had to to work that day. Free burgers and hot dogs were shared with residents and visitors as they enjoyed viewing the new, uplifting works of public art and landscaping.

Special thanks to the Baltimore Community Foundation and Lifebridge Health for making this project possible with their generous support.

Photos by John Kwamya and Graham Coreil-Allen

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