Front Stoop / Back Yard

In 2013, along with Baltimore artists Linda Depalma, Kelley Bell, and School 33 Art Center, Melissa received a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artistic Innovation and Collaboration grant. The resulting outdoor, site-specific installation opened in June of 2014. The so-called 'Co-Lab' team's work addressed the building's northern exterior wall and adjoining 1900 square foot vacant lot, which up until that point had suffered from neglect.

Linda, Kelley, and Melissa worked together for many months to design and execute this project. They fabricated eight birdhouses, each an ode to a different Baltimore architectural landmark. These were placed upon metal venetian-style poles around the site. The birdhouses include a pair of "Painted Ladies",- colorful townhouses from Baltimore's Charles Village neigborhood- and Penn Station, complete with oversized Man / Woman sculpture, both designed and fabricated by Melissa. The Patterson Park Pagoda, Bromo-Seltzer Tower, and replica of School 33 Art Center were designed and built by Linda DePalma, and three cast formstone-esque brick constructions, designed and built by Kelley Bell.  All became potential homes for birds.

Two sets of concrete steps, cast to resemble marble, and colorful awning structures above them serve as shade structures and seating area for visitors. Six 3' x 9' painted screen panels, inspired by Baltimore screen-painters, were designed and painted by Jessie Underhalter and Katie Truhn.

The installation is on view indefinately at the entrance of School 33 Art Center.

Photographed by Theresa Keil.