Today Governor Martin O'Malley launched an online portal where people can submit all of the reasons why they love Maryland by sharing a photo, tweet or story. Submissions will be displayed at love.maryland.gov -- a website created and coded by students in the STEM Engine program at the Digital Harbor Foundation. In the early summer, an artist from the Baltimore Love Project will interpret the online submissions and create a mural for display in Baltimore City.
"By harnessing the power of crowd sourcing, we'll be able to showcase all of the reasons why people love Maryland while shining a light on the important role that the arts and technology play in our communities," said Governor Martin O'Malley.
The Maryland Love Project is a partnership between the State of Maryland, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Baltimore Love Project and the Digital Harbor Foundation's STEM Engine program. The online portal was created by four middle school and high school students and two mentors during a 7-hour hack-day at the recently opened Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center.
"By designing and creating the website for the Maryland Love project, high school students in the Digital Harbor Foundation's STEM Engine program took a little piece of ownership on a project that they should be proud of and that all of Maryland should truly love," said Shelly Blake-Plock, Co-Executive Director of Digital Harbor Foundation.
Members of the public can add submissions to the site by tweeting using the hashtag #MDLove or adding an entry directly to the website. From die hard Orioles fans to those who couldn't imagine life without Old Bay and Maryland crabs, everyone has a reason why they love Maryland.
"The Maryland Love Project is a reflection of the creativity and the spirit of community that exist in our state. Public art has a powerful way of reinforcing those connections in beautiful and interesting ways," said Theresa Colvin, Director, Maryland State Arts Council.
"From concept to execution, this will be an exciting project for all those involved. The call for response from the entire State of Maryland will make for a rich dialogue and product, and I am confident that this mural will be a major accomplishment for the state of Maryland. The Baltimore Love Project is very honored to be a part of it," said Michael Owen, Lead Artist and founder of Baltimore Love Project.
About the Maryland State Arts Council
The Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. The mission of the council is to encourage and invest in the advancement of the arts for the people of Maryland. In Fiscal Year 2011, Maryland State Arts Council grantees' activities support more than 11,000 jobs and generate $1 billion in local economic activity and $37.8 million in state and local taxes. For more information, visit www.msac.org
About the Baltimore Love Project:
The Baltimore Love Project is a street art movement initiated in Baltimore Maryland in 2009. Its mission is to express love by connecting people and communities through love themed murals. Our vision is thoughtful art accessible to all people.
About the STEM Engine Program at the Digital Harbor Foundation:
STEM Engine is a program being offered through the Digital Harbor Foundation. The program finds students with appropriate skill sets in the areas of web and mobile app development and provides them with an opportunity to gain work experience by building real projects for clients. Students receive payment for the work that they do, which is banked into a scholarship account for each individual. STEM Engine provides a link between students and the tech job market in a very real way.