Station North used to be a concept, and now it’s a neighborhood where artists and creative professionals live, might work, and often eat & drink. The concept and implementation of arts districts is a trend that has caught on in Baltimore, as we now have a total of three. Station North was designated an Arts District in 2002, because of its central location and proximity to MICA. Arts districts are intended to function in a positive manner for artists and residents, by providing services and support to the local community.
Station North is comprised of three neighborhoods, Charles North, Greenmount West, and Barclay. The artist population predominantly rents, although there are some who have already taken the leap to ownership. Because of this, the district has some permanent and long standing galleries and venues, but this also means there is a fluctuation of these kinds of spaces. As the neighborhood develops, some residents, galleries, and project spaces, (artists and non-artists) relocate.
At its best, the district facilitates services, information, and incentives for artists, and can be a central point of access for non-artists to enter the scene and know what’s going on. There are some tax incentives for artists who create and sell work within the district, and some property tax benefits that have expired, although the district is working to reinstate these. The district cross promotes events and brings greater visibility to artists’ efforts and programs. However, artists have historically self-organized for preservation and community, and some of the initiatives the district now helps facilitate were originally artist-run and organized.
Station North is an exciting place to be on the weekends. Every first Friday is Alloverstreet, an art-walk that is fun and always packed with people out and about, from Greenmount West, to the centrally located Y-not lot. Since its inception, the number of restaurants and bars have increased exponentially, and it’s quite refreshing because you will not find a chain restaurant or bar around. Instead, the neighborhood has all unique small businesses. I am fond of several of the neighborhood happy hours, along with some late-night food options, especially in K-Town, a several block radius of Korean restaurants and grocery.
The neighborhood still has that classic Baltimore charm + grit + weird combination, which I hope it never loses. Other perks, include proximity to Penn Station, ample public transit, University of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins, and of course, MICA.