Le Mondo is an artist-owned-and-driven project creating a multi-use community hub and experimental performance complex from the ground up in Baltimore. Thanks to the amazing Baltimore community, Le Mondo has grown from the seeds of an ambitious dream among a group of artists into a blossoming reality on Baltimore’s Howard Street.
Who We Are!
Founder & Executive Director
Carly J. Bales
Board of Directors
Carly J. Bales
Nigel Ray Garcia
Chief Operating Officer
What We’re About
We champion and commit ourselves to the following principles:
Unjuried and uncensored art and programming.
Creating and maintaining live/work spaces that are safe and accessible to all people and walks of life, free from harassment and discrimination.
Advancing racial and gender equity through our organizational training, programming, staffing, and community partnerships.
Actively supporting and highlighting a diversity of art-makers and art-lovers regardless of age, physical limitations, race, creed, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.
Providing open platforms for expression and intersection.
Providing support and sharing institutional knowledge with other artists, from grant-writing to navigating real estate.
Cultivating an environment of experimentation, mutual respect, and transparent ongoing dialogue in the interest of growth, radical transformation, and a deeper understanding of our work and the work of our invested communities.
Acknowledging the limitations of ourselves today while laboring toward a more positive and impactful future.
Leading with empathy and integrity, and an overarching goal of fostering kindness and compassion toward each other and the world around us.
Working to achieve all the above, while searching out and amplifying other voices in our community.
What We Are Doing
Three vacant historic buildings at 406-412 North Howard Street
Comprised of 30,000 total square feet in downtown West Baltimore
We are transforming them into:
A mid-sized multi-use performance venue and bar
An intimate black-box theater
Studio, rehearsal, and office spaces
Affordable live-work apartments
A neighborhood cafe
Why We Are Doing It!
To provide truly affordable and sustainable space
for artists and small community organizations in Baltimore to expand their practice, grow their businesses, and in turn pay themselves and their collaborators.
To cultivate a permanent hub for the appreciation and incubation of new, daring performance work
while bringing new life to a once-thriving corridor in the city.
To create a new model for cultural economy
that empowers its constituents and transforms its surroundings.
A group of artist-organizers came together to address the growing issues of safe, affordable art space and to create a way to collectively empower each other and share resources. The result of those conversations was Le Mondo.
2014 – 2015
Several of these artist-organizers submitted a proposal to the City of Baltimore to buy a set of buildings on the 400 block of Howard Street downtown. Our goal: creating lasting and affordable space driven by artists for artists; building a critical mass of shared resources and energies; elevating and sustaining our experimental arts community.
In 2015, we raised funds to buy the buildings thanks to almost 200 donors and a matching grant award!
We began work to renovate and open our first venue at 406 North Howard Street. This site was originally built as a silent film house and vaudeville theater in 1916! After celebrating its birthday, we got to work returning the building to its original arts use. Along the way, we incoporated as a non-profit and realized we were gonna need a lot of help. Thanks to our industrious volunteers, the support of so many community organizations in the community, a very patient contractor, and our small team at Le Mondo, the first venue makes its debut in May 2019!
Now and The Future
This May 17th, we opened the doors of our first building and venue at 406 North Howard Street to the public!
It is a neighborhood bar and mid-sized performance venue for performance of all kinds – theater, music shows, dance, and more; meeting space; and artist studios for individual and small arts organizations. Our mission is to keep this venue artist-oriented and affordable. We’re creating an accessible and much-needed mid-size performance venue addition to Baltimore.
As we grow our programming and partnerships, we are also working to stabilize and activate our two other buildings at 408 - 412 North Howard! These buildings will house: a black box theatre and dance space, affordable live/work apartments, workshop facilities, rehearsal space, classroom space, and a cafe.
About Our Neighborhood
Once the center of Baltimore’s commercial district and the home to a range of vaudeville and touring performance houses, the Howard Street corridor has suffered neglect and disinvestment for decades.
Our project, with it’s focus on arts-ownership, the performing arts, and affordable live/work spaces, aims to be a major milestone and catalytic anchor for downtown’s Westside. The Westside neighborhood is now part of the newly-formed Bromo Arts District and Le Mondo now joins a growing hive of arts activity downtown alongside organizations such as Current Gallery, Eubie Blake Cultural Center, DCAC, MAP, Everyman Theatre, 14K Cabaret, Springsteen Gallery, Gallery 4, Muse 360, Arena Players, Open Space, and other artist-run spaces who call the neighborhood home.