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Baltimore Clayworks’ Collaboration with Nature Sacred

About Baltimore Clayworks’ Collaboration with Nature Sacred:  

Nature Sacred is an organization, based in Annapolis, MD, that supports a growing network of urban sanctuaries throughout the country.  These outdoor spaces, or Sacred Places, are created to reduce stress, improve health, and strengthen the communities in which they are established. Clayworks created its first Sacred Place with Nature Sacred, Nurturing Nature, in 2011 outside the studio building and is working with Nature Sacred again in 2024 to develop a second Sacred Place outside of our galleries.   

For each space, there is a “FiresoulTM,” who designates a steering committee and engages the community through a series of charettes and a questionnaire to help envision and design a vision and space that is unique to the site and community.  At Baltimore Clayworks, FiresoulsTM Matt Hyleck and Holly Jackson lead a steering committee composed of BCW’s artists, staff, board members, and landscape experts, including a landscape architect from the University of Maryland. 

This summer, Baltimore Clayworks is restoring the fountain in our Nurturing Nature Sacred Place. The garden’s central fountain, originally completed by artist Maman Rikin in 1997, needs repair. Maman is graciously overseeing the construction and assembly of new tiles for the fountain with the help of Baltimore Clayworks’ artists.  In early June, 14 of our studio artists came out to support a maker session. They created pots that are now being mounted to 7 new tiles that will be used to replace damaged tiles on our fountain.  

Baltimore Clayworks is in the process of creating a second Sacred Place on campus.  Landscape Design for new Northside site coming soon.  

Vision Statement for the new Sacred Place, created by the Baltimore Clayworks community:   

We imagine a space that ignites curiosity, sparks conversation, and joins people, nature, and clay, from their ancestral roots to their hopeful future. It will be a place for grounding and reflection, an accessible and joyful garden in which all people in our community can feel they belong.  

Ultimately, we hope this space will provide a welcoming spot in front of the BCW’s gallery where people passing by and those visiting BCW will have the chance to engage with nature. We foresee this space to be an area in which new arts programming can take place that will broaden BCW’s offerings and community engagement. This Sacred Place will ultimately feature a signature Nature Sacred bench, native plants, an art installation, and be accessible with special attention to accommodate mobility issues.  We will also give careful consideration to honoring the indigenous people on whose land Baltimore Clayworks and Baltimore sits.