The Lion Brothers Building, part of the southwest Baltimore landscape for over 130 years, was once used for sewing Girl Scout patches and screen printing. Now the former factory space is a physical tie between downtown and UMBC. The exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows house spaces to learn, create, exhibit, and connect to the culture that is unique to Baltimore.

Academic programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences now have a designated space to experience civic engagement, service learning, and cultural exploration outside of a traditional campus setting. Located just off MLK Boulevard, the building has provided unique opportunities to UMBC’s dynamic Summer and Winter Programs, using Baltimore City as a classroom in courses focused on topics of urban anthropology, health policy, and Baltimore soundscapes.

Areas within the building, created for studio use and exhibit space, are the new downtown home for Intermedia + Digital Art graduate students. The location places the students in a culturally rich, diverse, and inspired setting, and is especially convenient to visiting artists and critics.

“We are very pleased that our graduate students have the opportunity to work in close proximity to the greater Baltimore arts community, and for that community to come in closer contact with our IMDA graduate students,” says Vin Grabill, associate professor and interim IMDA graduate program director.

The use of the Lion Brothers Building, listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, continues to strengthen the relationship between UMBC, the city of Baltimore, and University System of Maryland partners who also share a footprint in southwest Baltimore – while providing a unique setting for learning.

— Alice Crogan 

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