901 Arts is a community-based youth arts center dedicated to providing art and music programs to the children and teens of the Better Waverly neighborhood. We are a supportive and community-focused space for developing one’s creative and leadership abilities. 901 Arts was founded by parents and adults in the neighborhood for all the children in the neighborhood.
901 Arts provides a safe, creative, and empowering space for Better Waverly Youth to express themselves and develop as artists and community leaders. The art center is an integral part of our community’s ongoing efforts to build a safer, stronger and more vibrant neighborhood.
We are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, and donations of healthy snacks, art supplies and musical instruments are greatly appreciated!
901 Arts is a proud host of an AmeriCorps member serving in the Community Art Collaborative at Maryland Institute College of Art, funded in part by a grant from the Maryland Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
901 Arts started as a project of the Better Waverly Community Organization, a traditional Baltimore city neighborhood association. Parents and community members started 901 Arts with the mission of providing something “better” for the children in our neighborhood and the vision to strengthen our community. We have outgrown the administrative capacity of the BWCO, and since January 1, 2017 have been affiliated with Fusion Partnership.
It began in 2006 when our neighborhood association was offered two MICA graduate student volunteers to teach a free summer art class series for 5 weeks to neighborhood children. The “camp” was only 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, but at the end of the summer, program had such an impact on the kids that even the toughest child cried, saying she didn’t want camp to end. At that moment, the parents and adults of our community made a resolution to find a way to keep the project going.
We sought out a space to borrow, gathered donations of art supplies and snacks, and found volunteers to continue to association stepped forward to purchase the storefront corner building at 901 Montpelier Street to create a teach art classes after school. When we were in danger of losing our borrowed space to an outside developer, a neighbor and member of our community stepped forward to purchase the storefront corner building at 901 Montpelier Street to create a permanent home for children in the neighborhood to explore their artistic talent and grow into tomorrows leaders.
Our grassroots project was named “901 Arts” to honor the location, 901 Montpelier Street. Having a permanent space has allowed our project to grow and expand our goals from a one-time summer visual art class with 12 kids run by two volunteers in a windowless basement, to year round programs in a bright and airy building offering instruction in visual art, a variety of instruments, a drum line, choir, homework help and a teen job program for over 140 youth run by 2 full time staff members and over 115 volunteers.