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The Peabody Institute was the first conservatory in the United States. It was founded in 1857 by philanthropist George Peabody and has been part of the Johns Hopkins University since 1977. The institute boasts four concert halls and the Peabody Library and is home to the Peabody Conservatory, John Steven Limited which offers private musical lessons and the Peabody Preparatory, a non-degree program that offers classes for people of all ages. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento and vocalist/pianist Tori Amos attended the institute. Students, faculty and other performers often stage free public concerts.
Towering above Mount Vernon Place is Baltimore's Washington Monument. The marble Doric column towers 178 feet (54.25 meters) with a statue of George Washington at its crown. The reward for climbing the steep, winding 228 steps is a breathtaking, bird's-eye view of Baltimore. The base contains a small museum with exhibits chronicling the architecture and development of the monument, which took nearly 15 years to build (1815-1829).
The four squares that surround the historic Washington Monument together form Mount Vernon Place. These four squares were created after the monument was built in order to create a spectacular setting for it. Although the monument is the crowning jewel of the park, by itself too the park is a sight to behold. Verdant trees, grass and shrubs, paved walkways, and beautiful statues and fountains dot the park, making it one of the finest urban landscapes in the world. Mount Vernon Place also has plenty of benches and dining options and is surrounded by houses that have still retained their old-world charm, making it a great spot for spending a peaceful day. Located nearby are the Lexington Market, the Hippodrome Theater, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.
This nonprofit artists' organization was established to stimulate creativity and enhance the visibility of regional artists. The center offers artist members the opportunity to showcase (and sell)their work and network with others. It also hosts a number of popular events, including live jazz performances and an art showcase. This is a great place to buy artwork at bargain prices and meet the creative talent who crafted each piece. Visitors may also commission work by local artists.