Le Mondo is an artist-owned-and-driven project creating a multi-use community hub and experimental performance complex 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!
Founding Creative Director
Carly J. Bales
Founding Programming Director
Chief Operating Officer
Board of Directors
Carly J Bales
MONDO Bar Manager
What We Are Doing
Le Mondo is an ambitious arts incubator project led by veteran Baltimore artist-organizers to create an artist-owned multi-faceted performing arts center and community hub in Baltimore’s Bromo Arts District.
• Three vacant historic buildings | 406-412 North Howard Street
• 30,000 total square feet in downtown West Baltimore
• Multi-use arts venue and bar
• Black-box theater
• Studio, rehearsal, and office space
• Affordable live-work apartments
• 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 employees.
• To cultivate a permanent hub for the appreciation and incubation of new, daring performance work in Baltimore while bringing new life to a once-thriving corridor in the city.
• To create a new model for cultural economy in Baltimore 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
This collective of artists and arts groups submitted a proposal to the city of Baltimore for a set of buildings on the 400 block of Howard Street. 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.
We raised funds to buy the buildings from the city and were able to raise $50,000 to do so last year – thanks to almost 200 donors and a matching grant award! By the end of last year, we secured ownership of three historic buildings to realize our dreams of an artist-owned multi-use performance arts complex and community hub – one that championed bold new art and affordable space while creating a new model for economic empowerment and community development in Baltimore.
We began work on our first venue, MONDO, at 406 North Howard Street. Our neighborhood has a rich history as Baltimore’s commercial district – an area once full of theaters, restaurants, department stores, and retail. MONDO was originally built as a silent film house and vaudeville theater in 1916! We celebrated its birthday and got to work transforming it to its original arts use. Thanks to a team of industrious volunteers and enthusiastic Le Mondo members, MONDO is rounding the bend to be open seven days a week this 2018!
We’re raising funds to open the doors of our first building and venue to the public! MONDO will be: 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. MONDO will bring a dense and active space to the 400 block of N. Howard St. and an accessible and much-needed mid-size performance venue addition to Baltimore.
Opening MONDO will propel the buildout of our adjacent two historic buildings. These building will house: a black box theatre and dance space, affordable live/work apartments, workshop facilities, rehearsal space, classroom space, and a cafe.
2017 Charm City Fringe during our soft opening of Mondo. Photo Credit: Corey Jennings
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.
The Le Mondo project, with it’s focus on arts-ownership, the performing arts, and affordable live/work spaces, will 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, EMP Collective, Eubie Blake Cultural Center, DCAC, MAP, Everyman Theatre, 14K Cabaret, Springsteen Gallery, Gallery 4, Muse 360, Annex Theater, Arena Players, Open Space, and other artist-run spaces who call the neighborhood home.