Baltimore native Derrick Adams, now a Brooklyn-based internationally known visual artist, is a visionary, blessed with the gift of seeing beyond the here and now. In paintings, he transforms static, downtrodden visual narratives about Black experience into colorful artworks that reflect joy, respite, and leisure.
Inspired by Baltimore’s powerful and complex history, Adams is now devoted to creating a physical space that reflects the ethos of his visual art. Established on a quiet block in the intimate north Baltimore neighborhood of Waverly, The Last Resort Artist Retreat (TLRAR) will offer Black creatives curated experiences in communal spaces that emphasize a renewed regard for rest, rejuvenation, and cross-disciplinary exchange.
The value and potential in this city’s artists motivated him to formulate TLRAR. “The city has tried everything else and it’s not working,” Adams says, noting the prevalence of outside developers and corporations the city tries to attract. “That approach doesn’t necessarily grow the economy in the city. It doesn’t address the racial divide in the city. We need another tactic to evolve the city and move us forward.”
Although many agree that Baltimore has a strong creative community, Adams says the city has not supported artists “in a way that’s stable and substantial. That’s one of the reasons why a lot of creatives have moved out of Baltimore.” That’s why there is a great need for projects like The Last Resort, “which is really a safe space for social engagement and strategizing,” Adams says. “It is also a solution space, to resolve some of the broken links for the creative community.”