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'World's largest' urban art park being created in Baltimore

US arts collective Section1 are transforming a vacant 3.5 acre site in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland into "the world’s largest urban art park."

The ambition is to create the highest concentration of street art in the United States, alongside space for three live performance venues, an 18,000sq ft (1,600sq m) skate park and an acre of green space beneath the city’s Jones Falls Expressway.

The site – which is located near the city’s entertainment district and is surrounded by museums, universities, historical landmarks and the city’s main artistic community – has been undeveloped for more than three decades, with limited access to the area putting off commercial developers.

However, for many years urban artists have used the site’s buildings, walls and the pillars supporting the expressway as a canvas. Section1, who were founded by artist Richard Best in 2020, wish to turn this art into a national and international attraction inspired by New York’s High Line and the FDR Skatepark in Philadelphia.

Work began two years ago and the group are continuing to create new art, raise funds and promote the project.

“The development of this park will provide Baltimore with a premiere urban arts venue that provides an opportunity to bring together a culturally diverse and otherwise segregated society,” said Section1 in a statement. “It will be an opportunity for a community of artists and social innovators to set a precedent in urban design that inspires the world.”

The group pledged that a robust programme of festivals, concerts, and educational and creative events will turn the park into an internationally-renowned arts destination, boosting tourism and attracting new artists to come and experiment.

Last year, Section1 began auctioning pieces of artwork by local emerging artists. The non-profit launched a fundraising campaign in March 2015 auctioning art work in exchange for art bonds, which saw buyers receive a stake in the future of the park.

According to reports, more than US$20,000 (€18,000, £14,100) has also been raised in grants from the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Warnock Family Foundation and the Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation.

Street art  urban art park  Baltimore  Maryland  US  Richard Best 
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US arts collective Section1 are transforming a vacant 3.5 acre site in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland into "the world’s largest urban art park." The ambition is to create the highest concentration of street art in the United States, alongside space for three live performance venues, an 18,000sq ft (1,600sq m) skate park and an acre of green space beneath the city’s Jones Falls Expressway. The site – which is
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Section1 want to create the highest concentration of street art in the United States, alongside live performance venues, a skate park and an acre of green space / Section1
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