Poem want a president comes to brick wall in Old Goucher neighborhood in Baltimore
James Smith’s eyes scanned the lines of the text pasted on the side of a red brick building in Baltimore.
“Oh, snap,” he said, halfway through. “Okay. Bush and Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. It interweaves biographical details with political commentary, creating a plea for a president “that had an abortion at sixteen” and who “isn’t the lesser of two evils.”
And since January 20, the poem has been on the side of a building in Old Goucher.
It’s just the first of a planned series of public art installations planned in Old Goucher: Cross wants to turn “the neighborhood itself into a museum.” The idea first came to him when he was in Venice and met the artist Mark Bradford.
“The public just is not going to museums the way they used to,” he said, and public art is “one of the best ways to bring art back into peoples’ lives in this city.” Cross, who previously ran for Baltimore’s city council, said he hopes this particular piece will “jolt people into a recognition that establishment politics have to change.”
In 2016, “I want a president” was displayed in New York’s High Line park, underneath The Standard Hotel, where it was viewed by thousands of people each day and garnered stories in Vice and The Huffington Post.
But on a cold day in Baltimore, high up on a wall on 23rd Street, many walked by without even noticing. A few were willing to stop, and to read: One was Daniel Alampi, a homeless man who lives in the area.