The Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District (ha!) and UMBC are hosting the community’s first ever Pop-Up Gallery

The Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District (ha!) and UMBC are hosting the community’s first ever Pop-Up Gallery

pop up gallery in highlandtown


The Highlandtown Arts & Entertainment District (ha!) and UMBC are hosting the community’s first ever Pop-Up Gallery, and we are inviting the community to pop by! The opening reception is Dec. 3rd, 5-7 pm at 401 & 403 S. Conkling St. (SE corner at Bank St.). Please join us as we celebrate this pop-up’s exhibition theme, H!ghlandtown Transfer Remix, featuring a multi-channel video installation of artwork by over 200 students from local schools, Highlandtown Elementary/Middle #215 and Hampstead Hill Academy #47.


The idea for the gallery began with community artists and residents—members of the art district’s steering committee, who obtained support with the help of the Highlandtown Community Association. The project finally took off when the district was able to partner with the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, UMBC and the Southeast Community Development Corporation’s Main Streets program, which provided graduate student curators and interns, respectively, to organize the first installation. The purpose of the pop-up is:


  • To highlight the local arts community
  • To showcase unoccupied storefronts in the hope of generating interest
  • To network with business owners and community stake-holders in the community
  • To provide community outreach programming from CADVC-UMBC to K-12 partners; and
  • To provide curatorial and artistic opportunities to graduate students in UMBC’s Imaging & Digital Arts (IMDA) program


“We’re calling these ‘Pop-Up Galleries’ because they will suddenly appear in unoccupied commercial spaces, and then close down shortly thereafter,” says organizer Sandra Abbott, ha! member, and CADVC-UMBC curator of collections and outreach. “We thought this project would provide an ideal partnership opportunity, in which UMBC graduate students could curate empty spaces in Highlandtown’s retail district. Members of the Main Streets program under the Southeast Community Development Corporation were concurrently seeking opportunities for pop-up shops, so it made sense to partner with them on this first installation—especially when a landlord, Michael Saccilotto, with adjacent spaces was identified by John McCartin, Main Streets’ Intern and co-organizer of the adjacent Pop-Up Shop at 403 S. Conkling.” Pop-ups are gaining momentum in other cities too, as they leverage unoccupied real estate to showcase available commercial properties and area artists. The event on Dec. 3rd is part of the annual, family holiday celebration, Miracle on Main Street.


Highlandtown Transfer Remix, will feature a large stack of old TVs—all donated or borrowed—in the storefront of 401 S. Conkling Street. The TVs will scroll through dozens of colorful images of collages by neighborhood school kids. Their artwork was a response to their recent visit to CADVC’s gallery exhibition, Image Transfer: Pictures in a Remix Culture, after which they were challenged to create their own “Remixed” collages. “The students are really excited about seeing their work displayed in their neighborhood” said Dominique Zeltzman, IMDA graduate student and artist/co-curator of this installation. “They put together some thought provoking, very personal pieces.” Their collages will also be on exhibit at UMBC beginning Dec. 7th and eventually online. 


This is just the first Pop-Up Gallery event—one of three planned in partnership with UMBC and ha! district,” said Lexie Macchi, IMDA graduate student and artist/co-curator of the ha!/UMBC Pop-Up Gallery Series. Pop-up galleries and shops act as catalysts for activity that will help revitalize the Highlandtown business district and activate the residential community while providing UMBC students an opportunity for experiential learning. Other pop-ups are planned for the coming months, so keep an eye out for the next “ha!ppening” when you are in this arts district neighborhood.