Conceived and curated by the Rotating History Project (Teddy Johnson and Heather Rounds) and in cooperation with EMP Collective, Down Through the Needle’s Eye is an exhibition consisting of 20 contributors exploring themes related to Baltimore’s historic former Garment District.
An area of the city loosely falling between Fayette Street, Greene Street, Pratt Street and Hanover Street, it was in the Garment District where umbrellas were first manufactured in the US and the second largest men’s clothing factories in the world once operated. The city’s labor movement and many of its early union struggles happened here as well.
The rise and decline of the Garment District as a flourishing industrial center for Baltimore’s manufactured products, as well as the people who worked and struggled to maintain their livelihoods through the decades, speak to events and societal practices that are not alien to our own time and highlight the finite nature of our society’s industries in general.
The site of the exhibition, EMP, sits in the Faust Building. Located in the heart of the Garment District, the building was once a wholesale boot and shoe business, and through time leased space to clothing firms, dry goods wholesalers, and merchants of men’s furnishings.
The show is part of a larger group of happenings called the Rotating History Project.
Founded in 2010, EMP Collective is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to creating and producing multi-media events by collaborating with artists from all backgrounds, across disciplines. EMP Collective hopes to nourish emerging artists with its new incubator space (creatively named EMP) at 306 W Redwood Street, in the forgotten Loft District of Baltimore. This multi-use arts venue is comprised of a rotating art gallery for developing artists that doubles as a rehearsal / performance space for theatrical and musical events, experimental collaboration, workshops, and film screenings. Around the corner from the Hippodrome, right off of the Baltimore St/University Center Light Rail stop, EMP hopes to be part of the revitalization of a neighborhood just blocks away from the Inner Harbor and Mount Vernon.