The first time I met Steve Powers, he climbed out of the big white BOPA family van sporting a yellow raincoat and a Guided by Voices T shirt. The world-renowned Philly-born graff-writer-turned-Fulbright-scholar was in town for a marathon of cross-city site visits and community meetings for our upcoming Love Letter to Baltimore project this fall. (Haven’t heard much about it yet? That’s because we’re still planning it!) When Housing offered up the wall space for what Steve called a “temporary forever” mural, he tacked that onto his trip.
I showed him the lift and pointed out the wall at 2454 E. Eager Street—the corner house in a row of city-owned vacants slated to be demolished later this summer.
He quickly walked passed it and all the way down Eager Street. The yellow raincoat floating behind him made him look like a mad scientist.
When he came back he asked if they were all vacant. I said they were, that we had just planned on the wall at 2454, but we could ask about the rest.
Less than 24 hours later we were signing a right of entry agreement for 35 properties; Steve ordered 10 gallons of “Ravens Purple” and a power generator for his paint sprayer and got to work. Not on painting, but on talking to the people who live next door—on Montford, on Eager, on Port—about what they love and what they hate about their city.
So began the first line of Steve ESPO Powers’s Love Letter to Baltimore: FOREVER TOGETHER / I AM HERE BECAUSE ITS HOME.
Can’t wait for the rest.