the Neighborhood Design Center

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June 24, 2021

Introducing the First-Ever NDC Designers-in-Residence

We’re so excited to be collaborating with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support three talented designers over the summer as part of our new Build Together program. Over the course of this summer, Baltimore-based designers and artists Courtney Morgan, Jaz Erenberg, and Christina Delgado will be working with the Broadway East, Midway, and Johnston Square neighborhoods, respectively, to create a public space intervention in collaborations with residents.

Today, we invite to you meet Courtney, Jaz and Christina—and hear about the work directly from them. 

Jaz Erenberg

Jaz is a community artist and arts educator who has work on display around Baltimore City—most recently, at the B & O railroad museum [http://www.borail.org/]. She seeks to bridge gaps in communities by emphasizing resilience and joy in her work through her signature style of vibrant colors and minimal line work.

Jaz will be working with the neighborhood of East Baltimore Midway and is excited to get started. Community partner and Midway resident Reggie Graves noted that he was initially drawn to Jaz’s “use of color, which feels warm and inviting” and her demonstrated investment in “engaging the community to come up with something spectacular.” 

The Midway team’s goal for the Build Together project is to use wayfinding to connect the neighborhood’s greenspaces and to create a visual identity for the area. They hope this effort will foster community as it will be represented in and reflective of the community itself.

Now, a few words from Jaz. 

How did you get into community design and art?

In undergrad, I was introduced to working in the public realm through sculptures and monuments. After I graduated, I did an artist-in-residence program with Michael Owens called Home Artist Residency. This showed me the path of creating art pieces with the community as the focus. My first mural was in Highlandtown, a neighborhood in Baltimore City, and consisted of quotes from residents.

What’s a community project that you worked on that you’re especially proud of?

I developed a program called Active Citizenship Through the Arts at the school where I teach, Lillie May Carroll Jackson Middle School for Girls. It teaches middle schoolers how to use art as a solution to social issues and the goal is to get students to think creatively through the employment of art-based solutions. In the last couple years, the program has expanded through partnering with local organizations.

What are you looking forward to this summer for your work in East Baltimore Midway?

Everything!

What are you most looking forward to doing in Baltimore now that quarantine is over? 

Hugging people!

What is your favorite public artwork/public space intervention in Baltimore?

Lately, I’ve been appreciating the yellow salt boxes. It was unintentionally organized and I like how uncentralized the project is.


You can follow Jaz and the Midway neighborhood’s progress on the NDC website or Instagram, and you can find more of Jaz’s work on her Instagram and website

Courtney Morgan

As a trained architect, Courtney brings her expertise about the large scale built environment to the community of Broadway East. Growing up in the West Indies and moving to the United States during her teen years, Courtney brings a unique community-centered perspective to her design process.  

Courtney will be working with the neighborhood of Broadway East to create a public space intervention. Ms. Doris, community partner and Broadway East resident, noted her excitement about how Courtney is empowered with “energy and wisdom about the vision and mission for communities.” Ms. Doris also appreciated Courtney’s openness to concerns and that she offered intellectual exchanges relevant to advancement for Broadway East. 

How did you get into community design and art?

Community work was important in my family as a child. We were active in our community and I grew up spending many afternoons doing beach and neighborhood cleanups. It fostered a strong sense of community, and is a part of who I am today.

Design didn’t come into the picture until I was in college. My formal education is in architecture and my creative expression is primarily through buildings. It has shown me some of the ways to engage communities through design and art.

What’s a community project that you worked on that you’re especially proud of?

Mt. Pleasant Garden. I implemented sculptural art and murals, and was also a camp counselor there. It had elements of personal community engagement and I was able to embed myself in the community through that process. I felt the art was a true reflection of the community because I had spent so much time with the locals. 

What are you looking forward to this summer for your work in Broadway East?

I’m looking forward to connections with residents and business owners. On a storytelling level, I am excited to engage in research and practice empathetic listening as well as tap in to residents’ experiences. Ultimately, the project isn’t about me. I want to be like a ghost designer, ensuring the final product is reflective and respectful of the history and people living there. 

What are you most looking forward to doing in Baltimore now that quarantine is over? 

Going out, meandering through the city, and talking to people hearing their experiences in (safe) social settings.

What is your favorite public artwork/public space intervention in Baltimore?

The Frederick Douglass sculpture in Fells Point. We happened upon it while eating breakfast and the area where it is located is reminiscent of a piazza. There were opportunities for reflection and play which allowed for a rooted yet transcendent experience. It was a way to explore and celebrate black genius without the pressures of enslavement.

You can follow Courtney and Broadway East’s progress on the NDC website or Instagram, and you can find more of Courtney’s work on her Instagram. Her website is in process, and we’ll share it as soon as it’s ready!


Christina Delgado

Christina is an artist, educator, and community organizer that will be working with the neighborhood of Johnston Square. She has worked with various age groups, however, she primarily works with youth audiences. She is the founder of Tola’s Room, an artist collective, and her projects have ranged from physical interventions to elements of social infrastructure.

Regina Hammond, community partner with ReBuild Johnston Square and Johnston Square resident noted that she found Christina’s work “very appealing and exciting,” and that during a recent tour of the neighborhood, “it is evident that Christina is so innovative and creative in her thinking—great ideas and visions continuously flowed from her.”

She added, “I cannot wait for what we will do together for Johnston Square, I just know that with Christina it’s gonna be great!”

How did you get into community design and art?

It’s a long story! I was a creative kid, but art didn’t come into the picture until much later. I went to college for forensic psychology and it was not until I was a professional makeup artist that I realized art could be a career. I pushed into the creative side with photography and started cold calling artists to inquire about opportunities. As an activist, I have used these connections to create placemaking projects with communities. 

What’s a community project that you worked on that you’re especially proud of?

My most recent project, titled Puerto Rican Passion or PR Passion. I presented it at Tola’s Room, my art education and community collective, and the project was a sort of culture museum that sought to model my cultural experience.

I am also proud of my recent youth-focused, anti-litter art advocacy project #justdont. Trash has become a natural resource and the goal was to think differently about how it can be displayed.

What are you looking forward to this summer for your work in Johnston Square?

So many things! I’m excited about learning about a new area of Baltimore city, working with the Johnston Square team, and designing something special at a larger scale.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Baltimore now that quarantine is over? 

Meeting and engaging with people in person; it’s more spontaneous and organic.

What is your favorite public artwork/public space intervention in Baltimore?

One of my favorites is the signature bus stop in front of Creative Alliance. I also like The Ynot Lot, it’s a great landmark in the Station North Arts District.

You can follow Christina and Johnston Square’s progress on the NDC website or Instagram. You can also follow Tola’s Room’s Instagram for updates on her passion project!