Radical Jewelry Makeover: Baltimore

Click here for the RJM donation form.

The Baltimore Jewelry Center is a space that exists to promote the study, practice, and exhibition of art jewelry. Art Jewelry is an exciting and ever expanding field, yet awareness of it is often limited. However, the possession and admiration of jewelry is incredibly pervasive. While one may never own a painting or a sculpture, owning a piece of jewelry is quite commonplace across social, economic, and cultural boundaries. Intimate and sentimental, jewelry is a perfect art medium to engage and connect a diverse community.

A project of Ethical Metalsmiths, Radical Jewelry Makeover (RJM) was founded in 2007 and has been iterated 12 times. RJM is an international community jewelry mining and recycling project that draws attention to the creativity and skills of local jewelry designers, reveals the stories behind our personal collections, and encourages re-consideration of our habits of consumption. In each makeover, the broader community is mobilized to donate jewelry (costume or fine jewelry, intact or broken) and “mine” their own narratives connected to that jewelry. The donated jewelry is then utilized by a team of jewelers, students and professionals alike, in the creation of new work. The project culminates with an exhibition of the newly produced work. Each host is given the opportunity to develop a project that suits the goals and creative aspirations of its particular community.

Radical Jewelry Makeover: Baltimore is built on the belief that all jewelry has intrinsic value and that jewelry is a powerful means of collecting and transmuting memories and narratives. By creating an egalitarian space around jewelry, we can increase connection, empathy, and understanding for both ourselves and others. Radical Jewelry Makeover: Baltimore will achieve the following goals: increase the visibility of the Baltimore Jewelry Center; increase the accessibility of the Baltimore Jewelry Center to both new and established artists, community members, and patrons; create accessible opportunities for dialogue and education around jewelry; and increase community engagement around jewelry through partnerships with local arts and culture organizations. We will engage over 50 artists, up to 100 donors, and at least six partner institutions with the aim of creating three exhibitions and 50 new works. We will have several community building and educational events to draw interest and support for the project, reaching an audience of over 700 people.

Radical Jewelry Makeover: Baltimore will commence in June 2017 with an exhibition at the Baltimore Jewelry Center of work made by RJM alumni. Between July and early September 2017, donations will be gathered from around the city and region with partner organizations featuring drop-off sites. Donors will be asked to both donate a piece of jewelry (from Mardi Gras beads to heirloom pieces) and a narrative story or anecdote that connects to the jewelry. During the donation period, we will host information sessions, happy hours, and a booth at Artscape where we will engage the public with both a hands-on making experience and an interactive adornment experience. The RJM donation form can be found here.

In early September 2017, we will host a pop-up exhibition of the donated jewelry and stories that will celebrate the narrative power of jewelry. The donated jewelry will be passed on to local jewelers and students who have signed on to participate in the project. Jewelers will create new work utilizing the donated jewelry, and we will host working sessions and critiques to support the artists. The project will culminate in November with an exhibition of the finished work. We will also produce on online catalogue that showcases both the narrative aspect and final work.  



May 2017

May 13: Pile of Craft, information and demonstration table

June 2017

June 9: RJM Artist Project/Alumni Exhibition Opening Reception and RJM Video Screening

July 2017

July 7: RJM Alumni Exhibition Closing/Donation Gathering Kickoff Happy Hour

July 7-September 5: Donation gathering at Baltimore Jewelry Center and partner sites (Each donor will donate a piece of jewelry and submit a narrative or anecdote related to the jewelry.) Click here for RJM donation form.

July 21-23:  Artscape: Booth with jewelry demonstration (artist creating a piece utilizing donated jewelry), interactive adornment experience, and donation gathering with a photo shoot of donors and their pieces *

August 2017

August 13: Photo shoot of donors and their pieces (donors elect to participate)

Donation gathering throughout the month at BJC and partner sites.

September 2017

September 1: Photo shoot of donors and their pieces (donors elect to participate)

September 8-15:  Pop-up Exhibition of donated jewelry and narratives/stories (original donated jewelry and the stories associated with it)

September 15: Station North Tool Library Happy Hour: information booth and close of donation gathering

September 17: One-day symposium with talks, demonstrations and mini workshops

October 2017

Discounted studio rental at the BJC for participating makers/artists

November 2017

November 10: Final RJM exhibition opening

Mid-November: exhibition exploration event

December 2017

Dec. 1: exhibition exploration event

January 2018

Jan. 5: exhibition programming

Jan. 19: Final RJM exhibition closes


Click here for the RJM donation form.


Radical Jewelry Makeover: Baltimore is made possible in part by a grant from: