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About Maura

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Maura Dwyer's picture
Maura Dwyer was born and raised in Baltimore and attended the Maryland Institute College of Art. She creates work that supports place-making/keeping through teaching mural workshops, co-creating visual campaign material, and co-designing performance that fuses history, political action, and personal narrative. 

We Call It The Red Line

This crankie was performed for the Creative Alliance's Crankie Fest in 2019. It's 15 minutes and appx 150 ft long. It combines personal narrative and family history with Baltimore City's history of transit injustice and racial segregation. A painted scroll, backlighting, paper-cut puppets, and an original sound scape help shape the narrative. Special thanks to Emily Schubert, the curator of Crankie Fest, and puppeteer assistant for this crankie.

More details:
This crankie summarizes my father's short stint in the east-side fight against the expressway in the 1960's and 70's, or what we now call: the Highway to Nowhere. As a public artist with an interest in city planning and a desire to connect my arts background to organizers working to shift policy, for the last three years I have volunteered with the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition (BTEC). This grassroots, Black-led organization grew from the cancellation of the Red Line light rail in 2015 to organize Baltimore around reviving the vision for public transit with a focus on equity.

This crankie started with a series of interviews from BTEC members and my father, along with archical research through the University of Baltimore. It charts the history of how racist transit systems have impacted Baltimore's segregation, reflects on the role my family and others' played in that process, and confronts the ways in which I carry my father's legacy forward within a contemporary context.

Included hear are other BTEC campaign images I created, or workshops I co-faciliated, along with original flyer designs from various campaigns.

Neighborhood Lights 2018: Remington and Brooklyn/Curtis Bay

In the spring of 2018, with a Neighborhood Lights grant from Baltimore Office Promotion of the Arts as part of Light City, I had the pleasure of collaborating with an incredible group of residents, community parters, artists, musicians and organizers to create two original shadow puppet plays that imagine a history of Remington and Brooklyn/Curtis Bay from the lens of de-industrialization, distinguishing what makes the neighborhoods distinct and what draws them together. With my family being from Baltimore, and parents who grew up in a working-class household, I was curious to explore and understand this history deeper. With the aid of local historians, community-leaders, business-owners, and artists, I hope to show an evolution in the on-going effort to revitalize Baltimore, examining both positive and negative effects, while maintaining a sense of dignity for these unique neighborhoods.

Materials: projection screen, three over-head projectors, acetate, tyvek. The images are cut out and layered on three different overhead projectors at the same time to get a sense of depth and movement. For each Neighborhood Lights event, three puppeteers performed live while I read narration, and the band Trucker Talk played live on stage next to the screen. There were opening acts from local poets, puppeteers, and musicians, community tabling for resources, family activities, and local food vendors. Please see credits for a list of all the people that contributed to this project.

Workshops: Along with the Opening Night Event and projected shadow puppet performance, each neighborhood project had a workshop component to teach a skill. For both neighborhoods, we made laser-cut, LED-lit lanterns with drawn silhouettes of iconic imagery from the area on each panel.

Neighborhood Lights 2017: Hamilton/Lauraville

In Fall 2016-Spring 2017, I partnered with the Hamilton/Lauraville MainStreet Association and Baltimore Office Promotion of the Arts, along with Baltimore muralists Hanna Moran and Lindy Swan, to create an illuminated mural along Harford Road. The project, named "FloraLume", culminated in a giant party in an empty lot where the neighborhood has its Farmer's Market. With the lot slated for development as a community kitchen, we used this project to promote and uplift the area's commitment to sustainability, farmers, gardening, bee-keeping, locally-owned restaurants and family-friendly activities. The workshop component gave families a chance to play with UV lights on their own; they collected leaves and plants from the area and created UV-reactive cyanotype posters that families could then screenprint with neon ink.

Materials: Black lights, Roscoe UV paint, acrylic paint, wood panels, spray paint, stencils

Sankofa: Moving Through Moments in Time

This crankie was created as part of The Peale's 2019 Mash-Up grant, read below for more info about that program. This piece was an hour-long performance, written, sung, and performed by Storytellers Anokwale Anansesemfo, President of the Griots’ Circle of Maryland, and Mama Linda Goss, Co-founder of the National Association of the Black Storytellers, for an opening night at The Peale Musum in the summer of 2019. The crankie was designed and produced in collaboration with the storytellers' original script, made up of poems, songs, and historical narratives from three enslaved women brought to antebellum Maryland during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Dewmore Baltimore Poet Laureate Deleicea Greene joined us for the live event to perform a contemporary narrative of oppression and the fight for freedom.

Description of the Mash Up Grant:

Aiming to build bridges between audiences and creators in Baltimore’s arts scene, the “Mash-ups” exhibition features the work of three groups who were awarded grants to create storytelling projects with collaborators they had neither known nor worked with previously. In just two months, these artists and performers pooled their diverse skillsets and experiences to explore new ways that storytelling can help connect silos and communities across the city. Curated by Nate Couser of the Artist Exchange Radio Show and Producer at the Peale Center, this exhibition is a presentation of their storytelling projects and what they learned from the process of creating with new partners.

War on Terror Timeline- Poster Series

"Shattering Justice & Re-Making the Muslim Threat: A Visual Timeline of the War on Terror" is a visual timeline commissioned by the Justice for Muslims Collective, in partnership with The Sanctuaries DC.

The exhibit features a carefully curated poster series that outlines the many policies that have targeted Muslims since 9/11. All research was conducted by Dr. Maha Hilal, with visuals co-created by Muslim artist Zaynub Siddiqui and myself, focusing on design, composition, and color.

The goal of the exhibit is to highlight how entrenched Islamophobia has been throughout the War on Terror and the expanding apparatus of state violence. Complementing the exhibit, Justice for Muslim Co-Director Dr. Maha Hilal presented a keynote talk discussing the implications of the War on Terror, and the conceptualization of the timeline as a means of resisting state violence. In addition, The Sanctuaries DC, hosted an interactive session on cultural organizing. The series of posters continued to grow and be used in different political education settings.

When I Was Your Age

After hearing the song, "When I Was Your Age," written and performed by Baltimore-based musician Letitia VanSant, on her album, Parts and Labor, I was inspired to use it as a script to create a painted crankie, connecting the themes of loss and climate change to my own experience growing up along the Eastern Shore of Maryland as a young child. This piece is a personal response to the helplessness I have felt after the latest climate-based tragedies. I understand that donating, volunteering, living sustainably, and policy work are crucial, as is the focus on poor and working class communities of color who live near coastal lines. Nonetheless, with the 2018 UN Climate Change Report, and our current administrations' attitude towards climate, the reality of the desctructive, intersecting paths of climate change across the globe has never been more clear; this piece is a moment to feel and reflect, to balance the dual need for urgent action.

Winter 2018
paint on paper, in hand-made crankie box

Maura's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.