BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new investment is being made in Baltimore arts and culture.

Historic Pennsylvania Avenue has been designated one of the State’s official Arts and Entertainment Districts, with the prospects of economic development that goes with it.

“If you could see through the hardships, the tattered parts of the avenue, the tattered individuals from traumatic lifestyles, then you can see the rebirth of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Marianne Blackwell said.

It’s in the work of artists murals on the walls of buildings- tributes to jazz greats like Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington played the Royal Theater where African American arts and entertainment flourished during the decades of segregation.

The avenue is now designated one of the State’s official Arts and Entertainment Districts.

“Though battered and neglected, the storied history of Pennsylvania Avenue is far from over,” Baltimore City Councilman Leon Pinkett said.

The Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts and Entertainment District includes 149 acres and more than a dozen city blocks of west Baltimore.

The designation brings with it tax breaks and incentives for owners and artists who live and work in the district, attracting new business.

“Open up restaurants, venues where we can have music, jazz music,” Mayor Jack Young said. “We’re known for jazz more so than D.C.”

It is expected to revitalize neighborhoods, as well as revive history and culture.

“What the Pennsylvania Avenue black arts and entertainment district speaks to is that we can do two things at once,” Pinkett said. “We can reach back and hold onto our great legacy, but with our other hands, we can reach to a brighter future.”

Both the City an State will invest dollars in the district.

There are 27 other designated arts districts around the State. This is the fourth in Baltimore.


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