The past few months, NDC has partnered with Noisy Tenants, an organization working with the Greenmount West community to develop entrepreneurial projects as learning experience for neighborhood youth. With an attitude of local pride and celebration of community DIY mentality, Noisy Tenants had the idea of bringing the spirit of Baltimore’s Light City to Greenmount West, in the form of ‘LIT! City,’ and invited NDC to help on the project.
Our goal was to design and build an illuminated space for a one night pop-up cookout and movie night at the Wonderground (a park at the corner of Barclay and Lanvale which NDC has worked on in the past). Around this idea of vacant lot activation and public art engagement, we formed a team of designers. Jason Neal and Edrie Ortega of J. Neal Design and Jay Orr of ARQ Architects worked closely with Neighborhood Design Center to develop a plan. Nicholas Mitchel, the co-founder of Noisy Tenants, took the lead on community engagement and event organizing. Through this prototyping process, we discovered the many challenges and opportunities that temporary builds on city lots present, valuable experience for future projects.
Wednesday, April 18th was the culmination of all our work, when the community came together to help install a light-up art piece, enjoy food from Noisy Tenant’s Pop-Up Noisy Burger, and watch a movie under the stars (or rather, the blinking LEDs of our installation). It was a hit: kids from the community center helped up with final installation, all the while dancing to the local DJ’s old-school tracks. Soon enough, a professional movie screen showed up and burgers were sizzling.
The balloons have all come down, but the sense of place created at Wonderground that night remains. Chock full of ideas from our prototyping sessions, our team hopes to continue collaborating. As always, the Neighborhood Design Center looks forward to the next project– It’s not everyday you get to play with balloons at work after all!