WMAR Podcast


The Urban Oasis: Revitalizing neighborhoods through art and education

Arica Gonzalez 2 BMore
Posted at 12:10 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 20:04:27-04

In this episode of 2 BMore, Erica speaks with Arica Gonzalez about The Urban Oasis, and how neighborhoods can turn blighted areas into community hubs of art and education.

Erica Kane

Erica Kane began honing her radio and television interests while still a scholarship student at Howard University in Washington, DC. 

Her internships while at Howard included NBC 4 News New York, HOT97/Emmis Broadcasting and an on-air stint with DJ Flexx and Rane of 'The Home Team' on WPGC-FM in Washington, DC.

Her professional on-air debut was with 92Q Jams-FM in Baltimore. In Charm City, the popularity of her Primetime show with Konan and Jay Claxton grew rapidly and topped market ratings.

Erica is also known for her stint in Philadelphia with POWER 99 FM's Morning Show with radio veterans Sam Sylk and Quincy Harris.

She has fifteen-plus years of voiceover experience, and her work has been featured on numerous flagship radio stations across the country for clients including MTV, VH1, BET, McDonald's, Access Hollywood, and AT&T.

Her television production credits include FOX's Hell's Kitchen starring Gordon Ramsay, ABC's Dancing with the Stars and CBS's The Amazing Race.

Erica joined the WMAR team in 2023 as the host of the 2BMore Podcast, created by T.J. Smith. She was asked by Smith to join the podcast upon his departure from the show.

Erica can also be heard every weekday morning on 'Good Morning Baltimore' on Baltimore's flagship NPR station WEAA 88.9 FM.

Contact Erica Kane on social media @EricaKaneRadio or via email at EricaKaneRadio@gmail.com

Arica Gonzalez

For Arica Gonzalez and her neighbors, hope started with a gate. Baltimore City officials allowed the residents to lease and gate the alley shared by 50 homes of her Panway neighborhood. With feral cats and rats, trash and abandoned cars, drug-dealing, and vacant houses, the alley symbolized a crumbling neighborhood structure.

“The city was asking us if we were willing to take control of this space we call home,” says Gonzalez. “Our answer was a resounding yes.” Now the alley is a welcoming greenspace, and the project, called The Urban Oasis, has become a model of how residents can spearhead structural revitalization initiatives in their community.

With major infrastructural improvements underway, “community now looks like gates, string-lights, brick pavers, and land donated. It looks like teenagers picking up trash, mowing lawns, designing murals and planting gardens. It looks like Sunday Dinner with an entire street of neighbors,” says Gonzalez. These structural improvements have been the first step in the vision for a self-sustained, wealth-generating, restorative community model.

The Howard University graduate is the Founder and Executive Director of The Urban Oasis, a resident-created and led organization that started with $100 and is now pushing forward a multi-million-dollar transformative community plan. Gonzalez shares her vision for the neighborhood in this video and speaks to inspire other civic groups and offer lessons learned in activating her long-neglected community.