CONTACT: Eva Salmerón
+1 (443) 938-7919
e-mail: mmmm at mmmm.tv
MEDIA EVENT | UNVEILING: Saturday, July 19, 7:30 - 10 PM. Creative Alliance at The Patterson. 3134 Eastern Ave., Baltimore MD 21224
WAITING FOR THE BUS INSIDE A GIANT SCULPTURE IN BALTIMORE
Baltimore, MD – Creative Alliance and Southeast Community Development Corporation in conjunction with the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC), and SPAIN arts & culture, announces the installation of a permanent public art project that includes three large sculptures that form the letters BUS. Each letter stands 14 feet tall and 7 feet wide. This conceptual sculpture and bus stop was created by the Spanish collaborative mmmm… as part of the initiative TRANSIT – Creative Placemaking with Europe in Baltimore.
This is the second United States installation created by the Spanish artist collective mmmm… In 2011 mmmm… built the Meeting Bowls in Times Square in New York City. This project was comprised of large objects shaped like bowls that provided seating to accommodate eight people. The temporary and playful urban furniture was designed to promote interaction by having those seated inside the bowls face one another. The bowls were a social place for gathering, getting to know people, and fostering dialogue in small groups. During the time the Meeting Bowls were installed in Times Square, approximately 20,000,000 pedestrians saw them, and tens of thousands took photographs. Many stories appeared in the media regarding the Meeting Bowls, including a humorous commentary by David Letterman on the Late Show.
BUS clearly functions as bus stop on S. East Street in Highlandtown, right next to the Creative Alliance. The artists mmmm… wanted to create a place for the community to enjoy, interact, and meet while waiting for the bus. Their mission was to transform the dull experience of waiting for the bus to an entertaining, leisurely space in the middle of the hectic rhythm of the city.
BUS is made with wood and steel, materials that are typically used to build urban furniture. The three letters of BUS allow passengers to assume different postures of sitting or standing while waiting for the bus. Each letter has its own distinct personality. The specific modifications were designed to be geometric letters that maximize functionality; for example, the S allows passengers to lie back while they wait, and the B provides handicap-accessible shelter from the wind and rain.
The bus stop is manufactured in a way that is similar to the construction of conventional street benches. The planks of wood are screwed to a resistant steel structure that supports weight and prevents vandalism. As in a conventional bench, the use of planks allows the sculptures to achieve a curved geometric profile that enables passengers to assume comfortable positions. The letters are big enough to accommodate two to four people each and protect them from rain, sun, wind, and inclement weather.
"Creative Alliance is extremely fortunate and honored to have mmmm..., a group of prominent visiting artists from Spain, bring their creativity and playful sculptural art to our community here in Highlandtown," said Gina Caruso, Managing Director at Creative Alliance, who has been working closely on the project. "Passengers will actually become part of the art as they wait for the bus. It’s wonderful."
"The size, shape, and function of BUS, can make this unique bus stop a reference sculpture for Highlandtown neighborhood and the city of Baltimore. BUS can become an iconic urban meeting point," said Ciro Márquez of mmmm… "A bus stop you will never miss."
mmmm… is a collaboration between Emilio Alarcón, Alberto Alarcón, Ciro Márquez and Eva Salmerón, who have been creating projects for public spaces since 1998 in Madrid, Spain. They have arranged 100 couples kissing simultaneously throughout the crowds of the city center. Noise levels on the streets unexpectedly plummeted during that moment of mass intimacy. They have scattered members of an orchestra that played the same music simultaneously on various streets. Pedestrians experienced the music differently depending on which street they walked past, the speed at which they walked, and by which direction they were headed. Also they have built the Meeting Bowls in Times Square (New York), large objects shaped like bowls with seating to accommodate eight people. They constructed temporary and playful urban furniture, designed to promote interaction by having those seated inside face one another. Meeting Bowls were social places for gathering and getting to know people. For more info, visit www.mmmm.tv
Collaborating with Baltimore Artists
mmmm... could not have completed the sculptures without the help of Kyle Miller and Tim Scofield, local sculptors from Baltimore who have fabricated the piece in collaboration with mmmm… at Tim Scofield Studios at 421 N. Exeter St.
TRANSIT – Creative Placemaking with Europe is an initiative of the Washington DC cluster of the EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA), supported by a grant from the European Union. TRANSIT is supported by the British Council, Goethe-Institut, SPAIN arts & culture, the Embassies of Austria, Greece, Ireland, Finland and Poland. For more info visit: www.europeinbaltimore.org
About Creative Alliance
The Creative Alliance builds communities by bringing together artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds to experience arts and education programs and engage in the creative process. We provide support to area artists, promote Baltimore as a center for creative production, act as a positive force in our community, and advocate for cultural expression rooted in a sense of place. Founded by volunteers in 1995. In 1998, the Creative Alliance began working with a coalition of business, religious and political leaders on a revitalization plan for Highlandtown, just northeast of Fells Point. The Creative Alliance reopened The Patterson as a multi-purpose arts center on May 16, 2003. For more info visit: creativealliance.org
Southeast Community Development Corporation
The Southeast Community Development Corporation is one of the oldest community development corporations in Baltimore. Founded in 1975 as Southeast Development, Inc. (SDI), SDI developed and constructed community facilities, then focused on housing, becoming a steady producer of affordable housing throughout the eighties and nineties. In the late nineties, it incorporated as the Southeast Community Development Corporation and focused on the Highlandtown community. Today, we are the only community development corporation to combine a unique set of private and public programs to focus on the revitalization of Southeast Baltimore communities. For more info visit: www.SoutheastCDC.org