I took these shots in Baltimore on the same day as my attendance at BronyCon at the Baltimore Convention Center. I felt that these pictures warranted a separate post since they really don’t have anything to do with Bronies or My Little Pony.

If you go to the lower level of the Baltimore Convention Center to the Otterbein Lobby and look across the street, you’ll get a glimpse of what that lobby is named after—the historic Otterbein Church, which is one of the oldest churches in Baltimore and has been in continuous operation since 1785. You’ll also see what looks like a man painting a picture of the church.

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If you get a closer glimpse, you’ll realize that it’s really a statue.

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And it looks like the statue is painting the Old Otterbein Church using paints.

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According to this article, J. Seward Johnson Jr., heir to Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals, was the artist who created the sculpture. I’ve been familiar with this statue for years—ever since there was an attempt to revitalize the Inner Harbor in between 1979-1989 by building Harborplace, the Galleria, and the National Aquarium as well as rehabilitating the long-abandoned Power Plant into a shopping area. As part of the revitalization there were various art installations placed around the area and this statue was one of them. I remember it used to be outside on Sharp Street near the Otterbein Church. I remember being in awe about that effect that looked like the statue is painting the church. I also remember a few years later when someone vandalized it by tagging graffiti on the canvas so one couldn’t see the church being painted anymore. Instead one was treated to the graffiti tags of the jackass who defaced it.

So now you can understand why someone moved the statue indoors. At least they cleaned off the graffiti and they even positioned him so he would be painting the Otterbein Church once again. The only downside is that the general public can only see the statue up close when the Baltimore Convention Center is having an event of some kind and, even then, there are some events where access to that area is restricted to pass holders (like at BronyCon, Otakon, or Baltimore Comic-Con). It’s a shame that such a lovely statue has to be protected like that but that’s what happens when one selfish asshole ruins it for everyone else.

When I went to BronyCon, I packed a lunch and several bottles of soda mainly because the convention center food is so expensive and the soda machines there charge at least $2 per bottle. Lugging food and drink around can be a chore at times but it’s the only way I can even afford to go to the local conventions in the first place. When I packed the food the night before, I debated whether to pack a dinner as well but then decided against it because I wasn’t sure how long I was going to stay at BronyCon. Thanks to the hour-long line at the Registration counter (that line was way longer than other years, when I was able to go in and out in 15 minutes), I ended up staying at BronyCon longer than I anticipated. So when dinnertime came along, I decided to walk a few blocks over to the Shake Shack on Pratt Street because their food is relatively reasonable and it tastes very good.

As I walked down Pratt Street, I encountered a few interesting things I hadn’t noticed before. I think they are relatively new. One is the marker for the Star-Spangled Banner Trail. Having driven portions of that trail from Upper Marlboro and Southern Maryland, I was interested in that marker. It’s not surprising that there would be that sign since Baltimore bore the brunt of the War of 1812.

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A few feet beyond the sign is something that I found to be a very nice touch. It’s a parking meter but it’s not for cars. You feed the meter whatever coins you can afford to part with and the money collected goes to programs that help the homeless. This reminds me of something similar I saw in Annapolis a few months ago. As the signs on the meter states, the idea is to discourage panhandling (which is a big problem in the Inner Harbor area) while providing the chance for people to show compassion and generosity in such a way that the money they donate will actually go towards helping the homeless in the long run. I think it’s a lovely idea.

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