The Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO) is a non-profit organization that was established in 2012 to create working spaces for Baltimore’s growing community of artists, performers, makers and artisans.
BARCO provides real estate advisory services to the arts community and also develops, owns and manages spaces tailored to the needs of artists and creatives that are affordable and secure for the long-term. To date, BARCO has leveraged more than $19 million in investment to create 60,000 square feet of space for artists, makers and performers in Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District including Open Works and the Motor House.
To rebuild Baltimore neighborhoods by transforming underutilized real estate into attractive and affordable spaces for creative people and organizations.
We seek to support Baltimore’s artists and creative innovators by providing access to affordable artist studios and workspaces and seek to intentionally create working environments that welcome artists across lines of difference. We envision a Baltimore where artists are able to work and thrive and are working toward removing structural barriers that prohibit them from doing so.
Baltimore values its creative culture and invests in building a robust creative sector accessible by all people. Baltimore is nationally recognized for attracting, educating, employing and retaining creative people and organizations.
Our core values are:
In 2016, BARCO completed the $11.5 million renovation of Open Works, a 34,000 square foot nonprofit makerspace serving the greater Baltimore community.
Photo by Paul Burk.
BARCO raised the necessary capital funding to build out the facility and managed the development process from concept through construction to building opening. BARCO also provided operational funding and support to launch Open Works as it’s own non-profit organization.
Located in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, Open Works serves as an incubator for Baltimore’s creative economy by providing affordable working studios and access to state-of- the-art production facilities for visual artists, photographers, graphic designers, sculptors, weavers, fiber artists, fashion designers, fine furniture makers, and small manufacturing companies. The mission of Open Works is is to make tools, technology, and the knowledge to use them accessible and affordable.
The building features a complete wood shop, metal shop, and digital media studio along with a digital fabrication shop (CNC routers and milling machines), a 3D imaging and 3D printing studio, a microelectronics lab, and a digital embroidery and fibers studio. The facility also provides 140 individual micro-studios for designing, assembling, and finishing projects and products created in these shops.
Open Works is also a regional leader in providing accessible classes and instruction in the safe and proper use of these sophisticated production technologies. From offering workshops in advanced product design, to classes on woodworking, to seminars on project financing and entrepreneurship, Open Works is realizing its mission of making the knowledge to use tools and technology accessible and affordable.Learn more by visiting openworksbmore.com
In 2015, BARCO completed the $6 million renovation of the Motor House, a 25,000 square foot visual and performing arts hub in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.
BARCO acquired the building and managed the design and historic renovation of this 1914 historic car dealership. BARCO also runs an 8,000 square foot performing arts venue on the Motor House’s first floor.
Motor House’s goal is to support artists and build an audience for local and national contemporary art including music, dance, film, visual art, spoken word and theater.
Located at the center of the City in an emerging arts and entertainment district, the artistic vision for Motor House is to serve as a multi-cultural arts hub that is firmly rooted in community and showcases underrepresented, cross-disciplinary and emerging art forms.
Motor House plays a critical role in solidifying Station North as the City’s leading Arts & Entertainment District, and is one of nine major projects in the District that have turned vacant or underutilized properties into exciting mixed-use projects focused on the creative sector. The fully restored, former car dealership is now home to more than seven, non-profit arts organizations, fourteen artists from diverse disciplines, a small exhibition space, a 175-seat performance venue, a 40-seat venue and a bar. Located at the northwest corner of the arts district across from the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Graduate Center, the building is also home to Graffiti Alley, Baltimore’s only “legal” space for street art.Learn more by visiting motorhousebaltimore.com
Founded by the RW Deutsch Foundation in 2012, the Baltimore Arts Realty Corporation (BARCO) is a nonprofit real estate development corporation that supports Baltimore’s artists and creative innovators by providing affordable and quality work space.
Amy Bonitz brings more than 20 years of experience in urban real estate and community development to her current role as BARCO’s President & CEO. She is responsible for new business development and oversees the financial management, operations and marketing of BARCO’s projects.
Prior to joining BARCO, Amy served as the development project manager for the award-winning $18 million Centre Theater project in Station North, and co-led the Southwest Partnership neighborhood planning process with the UMB Bio Park and University of Maryland Baltimore.
Amy has a Master’s in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent 9 years in the private sector in commercial real estate development before working in the non-profit sector.
Ruth Crane brings 30 years of experience in for profit and nonprofit small business accounting and is responsible for developing and implementing BARCO’s accounting and financial controls systems and infrastructure.
In addition to running her own accounting business, Ruth served as the Finance Director for Baltimore Clayworks from April 2009 through July 2016 prior to joining BARCO as the Financial Manager.
Theo George is a Baltimore-based arts manager, with a passion for promoting and preserving the artistic and cultural legacy of Black countercultural movements. He holds a Master’s of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University, and Bachelor’s in Africana Studies from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Theo worked at the forefront of the modern LGBT civil rights movement as a communications strategist for the National Center for Transgender Equality on a variety of national communications campaigns ranging from the first-ever LGBT Congressional Caucus on transgender violence on Capitol Hill to consulting on MTV’s 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance programming. He was named to the Trans100 list in 2015 and received a Rising Star Award from Black Transmen Inc. Theo has also worked extensively as an arts communications strategist, for a wide range of clients including the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival and the 2015 International JazzDay in Paris.
Rob was born in Maryland and has been a Baltimore resident since 1987. Rob comes from the construction sector where he worked as a project manager for 9 years for Worster Eisenbrandt, an award winning preservation contractor, and served as the Facility Manager for the Museum of Industry. Rob is also a musician and an expert carpenter.
TRF Development Partners
Chief Operating Officer
Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
French Development Company, Inc.
Leslie King Hammond
Senior Fellow, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
Professor Emerita, former Dean of Graduate Studies and
Founder of the Center for Race and Culture at MICA
Laurens MacLure, Jr.
Director, Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
Managing Director, BARCO
Former Professional Football Player
Leon F. Pinkett, III
Councilman, Baltimore City Council – 7th District
Educator & Former Executive Director
Reginald F. Lewis Museum
BARCO provides real estate advisory services to the arts community and also develops, owns and manages spaces tailored to the needs of artists and creatives that are affordable and secure for the long-term. BARCO offers the following services for projects:
Real Estate Development
BARCO believes that by creating exciting spaces for artists and creative people and organizations we can build new connections and strengthen Baltimore’s cultural sector.
BARCO brings its skills and experience in creative real estate finance, project design and planning and entitlements and permitting to create award-winning spaces for Baltimore’s creative community including:
BARCO provides property management services to provide well maintained and welcoming places for the artists, makers and art supporting organizations that call our spaces home.
Marketing and Public Relations Assistance
BARCO offers a wide array of marketing and public relations support, including: