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Baltimore Rising displays artwork inspired by Baltimore riots

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Posted at 2:45 PM, Nov 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 07:08:17-05

There are paintings, photographs, sculptures, even videos and print making.  Fifteen Baltimore artists came together to probe the social, economic, political and racial issues in the city leading to last April’s uprising.

"I feel like these are issues that need to continue to come up again and again, and be put into people's faces so that they're aware that these problems aren't going away and that we really need to work to move forward," said MICA Painting Department Chair and Curator of the show, Tony Shore.

There are about 50 pieces of art in the show called 'Baltimore Rising.'  They’re beautiful creations from horrible events.

Shore's paintings on velvet are based on a City Paper photographer's real experiences in Sandtown after the death of Freddy Gray.

"We went back into the neighborhood and there was a long police line in full riot gear and residents that were protesting," said J.M. Giordano, Baltimore City Paper Photo Editor.

Some of his images were captured after officers tackled him to the ground, and started hitting him. 

“The police decided to move on the crowd, pushed down, and myself and another protestor got caught up in it,” Giordano said. “I got knocked down, knocked around a little bit.”

Giordano hopes his pictures tell both sides, the blue line and the people feeling like they had no voice.

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“My piece is called ‘Taking a Knee’, and it's a wallpaper I sourced from eBay,” said artist and MICA Professor Lauren Frances Adams.

Her art work is much more subtle. You have to look closely to see the silver figures she painted. Each one is a real person who kneeled to protest a lack of justice and inequality in the country.

"I think that it conveys that patriotism takes many forms, that protest can take many forms, it doesn’t have to be violent, it doesn’t have to be an act that creates more discord and dissent," Adams said.

In the days after the unrest, Nate Larson snapped about 3,000 photos. He said you could feel the tension in the streets.           

“While we were there, the police started arriving and suiting up in riot gear,” he said.  “At one point they created a line and walked down the street with their riot shields and their riot gear."

Purposely placed across from the images of the officers, are portraits of people who live in the area, silently standing up for everyone.

"There was a line of citizens standing in front of the officers, and they were there to protect the crowd," said Larson.

He wants you to remember the struggle.

Baltimore Rising wraps up this Wednesday, Nov. 23  but you can head to the Riggs and Leidy Galleries inside the Fred Lazarus IV Center for Graduate Studies to check it out over the next two days between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.  

The gallery displays work from the following artists: Derrick Adams, Lauren Frances Adams, Devin Allen, Sonya Clark, J.M. Giordano, Logan Hicks, Jeffrey Kent, Nate Larson, Nether, Olivia Robinson, Paul Rucker, Joyce J. Scott, Tony Shore, Shinique Smith, Susan Waters-Eller.

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