Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun
May 27, 2014
These are some of the numbers that Rebecca Cordes Chan saves in her phone: A shipping container company. University administrators. Rappers. Amtrak officials. Street artists. Marching band leaders. Station North residents.
Chan, who just turned 27, might have one of the best jobs in Baltimore. As program director for the Station North Arts & Entertainment Inc., she plans parties and parades, lectures and community yoga classes.
Lately, she has been coordinating parkour performances in the plaza in front of Penn Station, the creation of two dozen wall murals as part of the Open Walls Baltimore 2 and a party Friday -- including a performance by New Orleans musician Big Freedia -- to mark the close of mural project.
Chan, a Chicago native, got to know Baltimore when she was studying for her master's in historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania. She wrote her thesis on art districts that overlap with historical districts and focused on Station North and Highlandtown. The more she learned about the city, the more she liked it.
"I really fell in love with Baltimore," she said. "There's so much creativity and energy here."
Shortly after she graduated in 2011, a position opened at Station North, the group that supports the arts district that stretches from Greenmount Avenue to Howard Street in the center of the city.
As she sat in the window of Red Emma's on a recent afternoon, Chan looked out at projects that she has helped create: The bright murals painted as part of the two Open Walls Baltimore program; the Chicken Box, a North Avenue carryout joint that now serves as Station North's offices, a theater and gallery.
Further down North Avenue, there's the Ynot Lot. Chan helped convince the owner of the vacant lot to lease it to Station North to use as a performance space. And then there's a plaza in front of the train station, a once largely ignored space that Station North is transforming into a civic hub.
Chan, who is a competitive cyclist in her spare time, is also planning field days and family activities for the Wonderground -- a swath of vacant land in Greenmount West.
"I haven't had a lot of sleep lately, but that's OK," said Chan. -- Julie Scharper