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Baltimore City Students Share Views On Violence Through Creativity

Ursula V. Battle | 4/19/2019, 6 a.m.
Sponsored by The University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Violence Prevention Program, the event was held April ...
Tonia Barmadia; Imani Barmadia, 1st Place Elementary School Winner; and their mom Amanda Barmadia during the Art Against Violence gallery show. Photo by Ursula V. Battle

Standing in front of her artwork on display at the Historic Memorial Episcopal Church, located at 1407 Bolton Street in Baltimore, Taylor Foreman told the group that had gathered there: “I grew up in Baltimore my whole life. I never really got impacted by violence until my freshman year in high school when my father was killed.”

Taylor Foreman, a freshman at MICA, stands in front of her artwork. Foreman lost her father to violence four years ago.

Taylor Foreman, a freshman at MICA, stands in front of her artwork. Foreman lost her father to violence four years ago.

Foreman, a graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute added, “I didn’t like to address it emotionally. I just put it in the back of my head. It happened four years ago. I tried to put those emotions aside and not address them. But talking about it through my art really gave me an outlet to express my feelings about my father’s death.”

Foreman, who is a freshman at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), spoke to attendees during the Art Against Violence gallery show. The event was sponsored by The University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Violence Prevention Program.

The event was held April 10, 2019, during National Youth Violence Prevention Week, which seeks to raise awareness on effective ways to prevent or reduce youth violence.

Artwork of the talented artists was on display during the gallery show.

Artwork of the talented artists was on display during the gallery show.

This year’s Art Against Violence theme was “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.” Featured artwork promoted themes of anti-violence, youth against violence, strength, resilience, and collective justice and healing.

Current Baltimore City students were allowed to participate, and over 100 submissions were entered. A panel of judges chose one elementary, middle, and high school winner and a runner-up, who were all recognized during the gallery show. The works of all of the submissions were on display.

Amanda Barmadia is the mother of Imani Barmadia, who won 1st Place in the elementary school category.

Imani Barmadia’s submission took home 1st Place honors for the Elementary School category.

Imani Barmadia’s submission took home 1st Place honors for the Elementary School category.

“I am very proud of my daughter,” said Barmadia. “She loves art and the Art Against Violence program is great. It allows the kids to see that art can be anything you want it to be.”

Through art, the program gives kids an outlet to articulate their feelings and be part of the conversation about violence in Baltimore and throughout the world. By using art, the University of Maryland R. Cowley Shock Trauma Center also seeks to inspire Baltimore City residents to reduce hostile and risk-taking behaviors that lead to violent and traumatic injury.

“We want to spread these messages of hope to young people before they lose someone to violence,” said Erin Walton, Program Manger for The University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Violence Prevention Program. “The goal is to engage youngsters across the city. Art Against Violence is in its sixth year. Even at the elementary level, there is very graphic imagery. Art reduces the overall long-term effects of the trauma.”

She added, “We wanted to involve MICA students, which included Taylor. “They have made a career out of art, and we also wanted them to encourage our students.”

This artwork by MICA student Tyler Ballon is on display at the Historic Memorial Episcopal Church. Ballon participated in the Art Against Violence event last year, and subsequently sold his painting to the church.

This artwork by MICA student Tyler Ballon is on display at the Historic Memorial Episcopal Church. Ballon participated in the Art Against Violence event last year, and subsequently sold his painting to the church.

Taylor took questions during the event, and also was on hand to speak to the young artists at the conclusion of the program. This year’s event also included food, a poetry reading, door prizes, and a Spoken Word performance by David Ross, a Violence Prevention Specialist with the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center Prevention Program.

“We are always excited to offer our community space to artists to showcase their art,” said Father Grey Maggiano, Rector of the Historic Memorial Episcopal Church. “This is our third year hosting it. We are happy to be involved in this project and support these great young artists.”

The Artwork was on display at the church through April 19, 2019, and will be on display from April 22, 2019 to April 28, 2019 at University of Maryland Medical Center’s Midtown Campus.

For more information about Art Against Violence, visit their Facebook page under Art Against Violence.