Black Baltimore in the Photographs of John Clark Mayden

October 7, 2019 – March 1, 2020
The George Peabody Library

Admission is free.

Exhibit Gallery Hours
Tuesday – Thursday, 10am – 5pm
Friday, 10am – 3pm
Saturday, 10am – 1pm
Sunday, 1 – 5pm

Closed Mondays, November 28 – 29 (Thanksgiving), and
December 22 – January 3 (Peabody campus winter break)

Plan Your Visit

City People: Black Baltimore in the Photographs of John Clark Mayden presents over fifty of the artist’s black-and-white street portraits taken since the 1970s, many on view for the first time. These photographs capture the ordinary joys and sorrows, quiet moments, and daily realities of Baltimore’s African American neighborhoods: kids on their bikes and roller skates, old timers catching a breeze on their front stoops, busy people striding through the snow, tired people taking a break. Through careful observation and local understanding, Mayden lays bare the beauty and heartbreak of everyday life, Black life, in an American city.

John Clark Mayden grew up and attended school in West Baltimore and began his career as a photographer at a local television station. He earned his B.A. in Politics and Fine Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law. His work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Walters Art Museum, the Eubie Blake Cultural Center, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, among other venues.

View Gallery on Flickr

john clark mayden patterson park
Untitled; Patterson Park, 2005. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University. ©2019 John Clark Mayden

Related Events

City of Neighborhoods Celebration

February 23, 1:00 – 5:00pm

Meet the artist, John Clark Mayden, and celebrate Baltimore’s historically Black neighborhoods with performances by Lady Brion, David Fakunle, Kondwani Fidel, and Writers in the Baltimore Schools, with artwork by youth photographers. Make your own neighborhood map and participate in our open mic. Listen to local oral history recordings–and record your own neighborhood story with the Peale Center’s Be Here: Baltimore.


1:00–2:30 pm

Family Activities

  • Examine historic maps of Baltimore
  • Draw a picture that represents your community, then add your creation to our large-screen slideshow
  • Listen to local Baltimore stories, recorded by the Peale Museum and Jubilee Arts
  • Record your own Baltimore story for the Peale Center’s collection, Be Here: Baltimore
  • View images created by youngsters at the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures and youth photographers from Baltimore Youth Film Arts
2:30–4:00 pm

Performances and open mic

  • Lady Brion, spoken word artist
  • David Fakunle, griot
  • Readings by Writers in Baltimore Schools
  • Tell, sing, perform your own Baltimore story in an open mic event, “3 minutes max”

Screening and Q&A

  • Watch Hummingbirds in the Trenches, a documentary short film about poet Kondwani Fidel and the city of Baltimore. Fidel will introduce the film and lead a Q&A after the screening.

The event is sponsored by the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center at the Sheridan Libraries, the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts, and the Center for Social Concern.

More Info

While Waiting; East Fayette Street, 2008
"While Waiting"; East Fayette Street, 2008. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University. © 2019 John Clark Mayden
Condition; Pennsylvania Avenue, 1972
"Condition"; Pennsylvania Avenue, 1972. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University. © 2019 John Clark Mayden

Gallery Guide

Read Online

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city people gallery guide cover
baltimore lives book cover

Baltimore Lives: The Portraits of John Clark Mayden

A new book by the artist, featuring 101 of his photographs and an essay by art historian Michael D. Harris, accompanies this exhibition and is now available from the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Get Book

This exhibition draws primarily from the John Clark Mayden Collection, a recent gift to Johns Hopkins University through the Africana Archives Initiative, a partnership between the Billie Holiday Project for Liberation Arts and the Sheridan Libraries. We thank the Mayden family for this significant and transformative donation.

The exhibition is made possible by generous support from contributors to the annual fund of the Sheridan Libraries. We also thank donors to the Inclusive Baltimore Fund, which supports these and related collection-building efforts, and our programming partners, the Billie Holiday Project and the Center for Social Concern.