Article22 Living Well1001

Community stakeholders meet to discuss alternative modes of community development as part of the Living Well’s sixth anniversary celebration. (Photo by Roberto Alejandro)

Baltimore’s the Living Well, a living arts studio devoted to soulful expression, conscious expansion and optimal wellness has served as an incubator for businesses, non-profits, and artistic visions in the heart of Charles Village. Recently, its beneficiaries came together to discuss the benefits of alternative modes of economic development at a forum held to celebrate the Living Well’s sixth anniversary.

“It’s great that you have a place that allows diversity to build, to reach sustainability,” said Baltimore City councilman Carl Stokes, who attended the meeting and spoke of the importance of economic integration for communities that have been historically disenfranchised.

The Living Well is a space in Charles Village that people can use to establish a brand as they set out on their entrepreneurial venture. Munir Bahar, executive director of COR Health Institute and one of the founders of Baltimore’s 300 Men March Movement, started his fitness venture in the Living Well.

Bahar noted that many people talk about food deserts, but that Baltimore is a place that suffers from health deserts, areas where there are numerous shortcomings affecting the health of residents—a need the Living Well addresses with its various offerings.

“This is that place in this area that promotes health . . . I believe in places like this in every neighborhood, every health desert, across the city,” Munir Bahar.

Maurissa Stone-Bass, the executive director of the Living Well. employs alternative economic models in order to serve as a “dream incubator.” Because not everyone has access to the financial resources needed to start a business or launch an artistic endeavor, Stone-Bass is willing to use bartering or other arrangements for use of the space so that individuals can pursue their passions while also contributing to the broader vision and success of the center.