“Are you ready for the reveal?! Move those shuttles out of the way!”
And with that enthusiastic direction from University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Interim President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, the drivers of two UM shuttles parked back-to-back revved their engines and rolled their rigs, revealing the new addition to the Pearl Street underpass: an exhibit of artwork that was featured in the inaugural issue of 1807: An Art & Literary Journal. (See video above.)
The Aug. 12 unveiling of the UMB Pearl Gallery was reminiscent of ABC’s hit show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” where a design team’s shouts of “Move that bus!” would mean a monster-size coach bus pulling away, revealing the transformation of a family’s dream home.
“I think it's phenomenal and brightens up this area immensely,” Jarrell, an artist himself, said of the gallery. “It'll be a favorite spot of mine to go between campus areas.”
The exhibit features 32 works by 28 artists highlighted in the inaugural edition of 1807, An Art and Literary Journal launched in May 2019. The art journal encourages students, faculty, staff, and community members to submit unpublished artwork in the categories of visual arts (painting, drawing, illustration, digital art), photography, varied media (sculpture, clay, metal, glass, textiles, jewelry, wood), and the written word (short story, essay, narrative, poetry).
The exhibit, which will be displayed indefinitely, includes photography, paintings, photographs of three-dimensional pieces, and poetry placed on vinyl appliques by AP Graphics of Sykesville.
“I am absolutely amazed at how wonderful it looks,” said Jennifer B. Litchman, MA, senior vice president for external relations and special assistant to the president, and chair of the UMB Council for Arts & Culture. “When you look at it in the journal, it’s so one-dimensional and here it just really springs to life and you can see all of the small details that you couldn't see in the printed journal.”
The gallery is the embodiment of a dream the arts council has had for years, said Litchman. To see the works of the inaugural journal displayed “in living color, bigger than life, is something beyond what we thought could be possible,” said Litchman, who is the 1807 editor-in-chief. ”Also, I think it's really important that people understand that people here at this University are more than just researchers, scientists. They're also artists and they care about how art contributes to health, well-being, and to culture.”
The concept for the unveiling and the event itself, with limited attendance due to COVID-19, was organized by co-project manager Dana Rampolla, assistant director of marketing, alumni communications and special projects for the University.
“I compliment the Arts Council, and those who lead it, to continue to do these things for our beautiful campus,” Jarrell said.
Jim Bolton, safety training and special projects specialist at UMB, was delighted to see the unveiling of the gallery.
“I have walked this street many times while working here,” he said. “I will get to see this art every day. To me, this is an example of what can take place with a little work and a little imagination.”
Laura Broy, a lead analyst in the Center for Information Technology Services, said she never imagined her artwork would be featured on the concrete walls of a Baltimore underpass.
“It’s such a cool outside celebration of art for the whole campus community to see,” said Broy, whose painting “The Steadfast Find Their Way,” is among the gallery’s featured artworks.
While many of her work friends and colleagues are teleworking, Broy said anytime she learns one of them plans to come to campus, she tells them one thing: “You have to go to the Pearl Street underpass!"