Roses for Baltimore features art and performances by young students who attend the OrchKids program, as well as a few special contributions by local Baltimore artists. This page represents the collective experience of the COVID-19 pandemic and the multitude of emotions that arose as young people were attending school online, unable to see many of their friends, and facing unprecedented loss and grief. We hope that within this collection of art, you might be able to find something that you can relate to. Although we have been isolated in our homes, we are not alone; each of us has experienced sadness, fear, hope, and joy alike.

If you are a local of the Baltimore metropolitan area, and would like to add your art to this page, please submit your contribution here:

Jump to: Visual Art * Music * Written & Spoken Art Form


Click on a picture below to learn more


“Moses Complex”
Ari and the Buffalo Kings

“A tongue-in-cheek pseudo-apocalyptic song about the end of old ways and the start of new beginnings… an echo of spiritual texts from across the world that outline, predict, and contemplate the destruction of the old to allow for the growth of the new. The pandemic saw the end of many ways of being, and for many of us (especially during the political turmoil and awakenings of the last few years), we began to recognize and contemplate how our lives, both internal and external, and our societies need to change for the better to allow for greater well-being, peace, and justice. The song is also a reference to the Abrahamic figure of Moses, who led his people into the promised land to literally build themselves something better. Upon seeing the promised land, however, Moses passed, and was never able to set foot on its soil. Sometimes, it seems that’s the plight of our generation as we fight for greater equality,  justice, and environmental consciousness in the world. May the work we do be of benefit to all humankind and bring about an era of greater peace and understanding, even if we may never see the full fruition of such ideals in our lifetimes.” – Ari Pluznik

“My People”
Wednesday Community Time ESL
“Sunflower Tree”
performed by the BSO OrchKids

This performance is from the OrchKids January 2020 Collective Composition Workshop. Although none of us knew what was coming next, this song speaks powerfully to the losses of the pandemic that was just around the corner.

Margaret Brent 5th Grade Violin/Viola Class – Original Composition

The students created this piece based on several prompts and ideas they shared while reflecting on their experiences and their perceptions of the world during 2020. They used voice prompts and different sounds on their instruments to showcase the feelings they experienced. The students featured in this recording are: Mi’onte McGhee, Lissy Castillo-Peña, Aissata Jefferies-Dandridge, Kamorie Turner, and Al Yamama Al Sadi.

Prompts written by the students:

“When COVID started we had to go in quarantine and use masks
People started rioting for lysol and paper towels” 
“Everyone was losing their minds, going crazy
Then people started to throw COVID parties”

Margaret Brent 6th Grade Strings – “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star” Remix

This song is the 6th graders’ remix of “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star,” and is about their journey as they wake up and go to virtual school. The tremolos are the students “waking up”, like snores and sleepy sounds. The first two lines of “Twinkle” come next, like the lullaby while they’re still dreaming. The G major scale is next, where they’re waking up & getting ready to go to school. The long bows on D are the modulation while they’re opening their computer to go to online classes. The final improvisation section is while they’re “in class and learning stuff.”

Margaret Brent 7th & 8th Grade Violin/Viola Class

This piece was created from a collection of thoughts and reflections on the year 2020. Through different techniques and sounds on their instruments, the students wanted to show emotions from historical events in 2020. They reflected on the death of famous basketball player, Kobe Bryant, and played long sustained notes to express longing. They also reflected on the movement Black Lives Matter. “People wanted to make things better. Change the world with BLM. Younger people can change the world through awareness.  We will use loud noises. Then you grow, shake the bow, and go up to high notes.” – Mikah Mason. The student collaborators in the project were: Ligia Romero, Rana Antwain, Mayrin Díaz, Mikah Mason, and Vanessa Díaz-Portillo.

“We Are The World” by Michael Jackson
Performed by the OrchKids Creative Strings Ensemble

The Creative Strings Ensemble at Mary Ann Winterling Elementary School created this rendition of We Are the World, by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The students featured in this recording are: Ilide Iheme, Amaiya Sample, Camren Henderson, Keira Isler, Jayden Moore, Nema Robinson, Addison and Aidyn Ellis-Otovo. We chose this song because the lyrics resonated with us: 

“We are the world, 
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me”

“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Performed by Lissy Castillo-Peña

Hallelujah” is one of the songs that helped Lissy go through our time in lockdown. Lissy translated the song into Spanish and wanted to record it as a way to share the hope she holds for a better world after the pandemic.

“Netsujou no Spectrum” from 7 Deadly Sins
Performed by Ezekiel Hamilton

Ezekiel spent a lot of time watching anime during covid. It gave him something to do when he had to stay inside so much, and it kept his mind busy during times when he felt sad. Here he is performing the song called “Netsujou no Spectrum” from the anime “7 Deadly Sins.”

The lyrics say:
“I hold everything I can
And it’s slipping through my hands
But at last we’ve found a light to guide us
Never wavering
Our emotions flying free
Living on the edge of hope
Toward your light I’ll always go
Cause the dream we’ve always shared
Leads to you

One day soon with you
I know that we will bring to life
A new beginning
Warm & bright
Cause your gentle voice could change the world
And I know it would only take a single world
No one can do everything alone
Not a single soul can do it on their own
But together as one i know we can
We can fly come on let’s try 
Just take my hand”

“Changes in my life”
by Gabriela Martinez

Gabriela composed and sang an original song, “Changes in my life,” as it refers to the many hardships she has had to endure throughout the course of the pandemic. From a house fire that displaced her and her family last winter to the lack of interactions with friends and teachers at school because of the pandemic, Gabriela turned her frustration and sadness into works of art and music. She is now in a permanent home where she has decorated and filled her walls with art and music, as she practices every day and sings to her baby brother. “Changes in my life” is a song that asks for corona to go away so her life can go back to normal.

“Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish
Performed by Ilide Iheme

Ilide chose to perform Ocean Eyes by the singer Billie Eilish. At the beginning of quarantine, Billie was the only artist that Ilide listened to, so this music has really been representative of lockdown for Ilide.

“Awakening of Dawn”
by Ilishe Iheme

Ilishe wrote this piece to reflect the way she felt during the lockdown, intentionally choosing the key of A minor to capture the emotions of the quarantine. Ilishe started by composing the piano part and then added some cello, as she plays both instruments.


“Made For”
by Lauren Smith

Kamala Harris
by Ty’Marei Williams

Ty’Marei felt inspired by Kamala Harris, who was elected as the first African American, the first Asian American, and the first women Vice President in November of 2020. Ty’Marei researched Kamala’s life and tells us about Kamala’s life story in this video.

“Todo es muy simple” by Idea Vilariño
Read by Ligia Romero

Todo Es Muy Simple
de Idea Vilariño (Spanish)

Todo es muy simple mucho
más simple y sin embargo
aún así hay momentos
en que es demasiado para mí
en que no entiendo
y no sé si reírme a carcajadas
o si llorar de miedo
o estarme aquí sin llanto
sin risas
en silencio
asumiendo mi vida
mi tránsito
mi tiempo.

Everything Is Very Simple
by Idea Vilariño (English Translation)

Everything is very simple
Everything is simply a lot
simpler and yet
there are moments
when it is too much for me
when I do not understand
and I don’t know whether to laugh vigorously
or if should crying in fear
or to be here without a cry
without laughs
assuming my life
my transit
My time.

Ligia Romero (Margaret Brent 8th grade, viola) reads the poem Todo Es Muy Simple by Idea Vilariño, as a way of expressing in her mother tongue how things might look simple at the moment, but during 2020 there were many unknown battles and struggles that our communities faced.

“Quarantine Poem”
by Autumn England

Fear. Confusion. Pain.
How can we face this uncertainty
When we cannot be together?

I used to lay awake at night wondering when I would see you again. 
Wondering if you were ok,
Wondering if you were sick.

Now that feels like another lifetime. 
That was a different me. 
A different world. 

Who was I before? I don’t know. 
I don’t know now either.
But I am different. 

In the nothing, 
I stared death in the face.
I am not alone, I am with myself.

When I emerge,
What will the new world be like?
How will I fit within it?

My grief feels lighter to carry,
But the human heart can only take so much pain
Before the senses become dull.

Suspended, isolated, stuck.
I am alive, but many of my parts have faded
Into the gray haze.

I don’t think of you as much now,
But when I do,
I notice my heart is still broken.

Autumn wrote this poem one night when she was thinking about one of her students, who she hasn’t seen or spoken to since March 2020.

*All covers of copyrighted material are included only for educational, not-for-profit use.