Have you met Kenya Miles of Blue Light Junction?
Kenya is the face behind Blue Light Junction, a natural dye color lab and garden operating out of a 2,400 square foot workshop space in Greenmount West in Baltimore. Blue Light junction is not only an alternative dye lab, but an educational facility focusing on growing, processing and preserving the history of natural dyes and their enhancements and use in everyday objects. At this multi-functional studio, Kenya will process historical and native plants into dye, experiment with dying various materials, offer educational workshops, and operate a retail space that sells seeds and local products that use dyes and herbs. The hope is that Blue Light Junction will grow into a working garden and center for historical research, conservation and preservation of natural dyes, textiles and lost art forms.
All of this would not be possible without all of the amazing funding opportunities Kenya was able to receive. In partnership with the Baltimore Natural Dye MICA Partnership, Blue Light Junction received $200,000 from Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development‘s Neighborhood Revitalization Awards’ Seed Community Development Anchor Institution Fund. This award will help bring the vision from paper into reality. Shout out to Jack Danna at Central Baltimore Partnership who played an important role in connecting this project with funding opportunities.
NDC’s Arts Space Technical Assistance program supported Kenya’s vision for the space by creating a conceptual design that accommodates the various and unique equipment necessary for the dye process, provides a direct connection between the workshop and garden, and includes ADA accessibility.
The conceptual design was completed in the Fall of 2020 and used in garnering support for the project. The space, previously an auto body shop, now has one existing bathroom and new poured concrete floors. Currently, Kenya is interviewing architects to develop the schematic design into construction documents and prepare to build. We are hoping construction can take place in the winter, during the off season for growing plants.
Kudos to Kenya and the amazing work she is doing in an effort to preserve the cultural history of natural dyes.
Visit www.bluelightjunction.com to learn more about their work.
Photo credit: Ana Tantaros of Side A Photography